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Developing Spatial Literacy
Learning the spatial skills of Geography
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Where Does the South Begin?

Where Does the South Begin? | Developing Spatial Literacy | Scoop.it
Roads? Religion? Accent? Food? Which factor dictates where the North ends?

 

This is a great intellectual expercise to help student think about regions and how we define them.  The article can help also inform some of their thinking since one of the main problems for students in drawing regional boundaries is a lack of place-based knowledge.   

 

Tags: regions, USA.


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Matthew DiLuglio's curator insight, October 12, 2013 3:49 PM

Borders... the first thing I think of was a giant bookstore near my hometown... it now ceases to exist, having been replaced by Barnes and Nobel...  As for the political organization of space, I could apply this situation and laugh.  Borders will cease to be, and they will be called after people's last names!  I think this has already happened, when people unite together in countries such as the USA- although borders are specific, the general federal laws and many policies still apply in all states... generally. And people's names are often the namesakes of places.  I don't like the idea of borders, though, it seems like a bunch of warmongers trying to get ahead in a world where they can't truly cheat death, so they cheat other people of land that may have been decreed in ancient documents as property of their ancestors, or even in accordance with the righteousness of the universe and what should be alloted to whom.  Ownership is a concept of denial, because no one can truly own anything, not even our bodies, which contain trillions of infinite universes the size of the large one around us that we commonly refer to.  Borders are relative, and will likely become recognized as obsolete.  I know this was abstract, but it's my thoughts on the topic.

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Social Media and Place

Social Media and Place | Developing Spatial Literacy | Scoop.it
Facebook most social cities: People everywhere use Facebook to check in to places. Here you can see the 5 top hotspots of the most "social"cities.

 

Questions to ponder: What attributes do these commonly 'checked into' landmarks have in common?  Are you surprised that some are or are not on the list?

 

Tags: socialmedia, place, tourism, infographic, London, NYC, Paris.


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Location always matters!

Location always matters! | Developing Spatial Literacy | Scoop.it

Even the three little pigs need to know the basic tenets of geography.


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Victoria McNamara's curator insight, December 11, 2013 7:57 AM

This image has a lot to do with geograpy because of where the pig placed his new home. Location is key when deciding where to place a building or home. If a new mall is being built they want to make sure they put it in a popular area where people are like in a city.  In this example the pig placed his home right next to  a sausage factory where this factory could use him to make sausage. He probably should have built his home in an area away from the factory like in a neighborhood. 

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11 Guerrilla Street Art Greats

11 Guerrilla Street Art Greats | Developing Spatial Literacy | Scoop.it
When guerrilla-geographer Daniel Raven-Ellison travels, he always keep his eyes peeled for unexpected works of art that creatively subvert culture, rules, and politics and force us to see...

 

Not all cultural landscapes are officially sanctioned by city planners or government officials.  These landscapes of resistance are often poignant critiques on society and represent the mulitplicity of voices within places.  There isn't one "Geography" with a capital G of a given place, but many geographies.  Many people and demographic groups interact and use the same place in distinct ways and the meaning of that place is socially mediated within the cultural landscape.   

 

Tags: art, landscape, culture, place, unit 3 culture.


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‘Why Should Boys Have All the Fun?’

‘Why Should Boys Have All the Fun?’ | Developing Spatial Literacy | Scoop.it
Rather than focusing on how to make cities safe at any hour for citizens of both genders, the official response has been to curtail women's access to public areas deemed sensitive by authorities.

 

This is an interesting topic to use to debate urban policies and planning issues.  What leads to a safer city for women?  How does the creation of zones not safe for women impact the city long-term?  Think about scale: Is what is best for the city policy what is best for the individual? 


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Kim Vignale's comment, July 16, 2012 7:10 PM
Women in India are outraged due to the decisions the officials have made. Instead of solving the problem fairly, they are covering up the issue. Women are viewed as inferior in many developing countries. The government is enforcing the law by taking the women's freedom away; they aren't allowed in a pub after 8pm. If the law was fair and practical, officials would enforce strict laws on rape and assault and reiterate the seriousness of the crime and consequences.
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The Body in Public Space

The Body in Public Space | Developing Spatial Literacy | Scoop.it

Here are some seemingly eclectic topics.  All of them center around the appropriateness of the body being displayed publicly and the cultural norms that shape how we think about the issue.  I've included a sensational restroom, public nursing, top-free protests, and of course, the Kate Middleton scandal.

 

Tags: culture, popular culture, gender, place, space.


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Victoria Morgia Jamolod-Umbo's comment, September 26, 2012 7:11 AM
Hilarious! The breasts of women are human parts of a woman which should be respected because it is where a human being feeds. It is a symbol of life.
Don Brown Jr's comment, September 30, 2012 5:07 PM
This cartoon clearly shows how breast are sexually marketed in our society and how we will can accept the fashionably sexual display of breast in public yet consider breast feeding offensive. In many ways this cartoon seems to show how some social norms seem to interfere with common sense as we should be more critical of the sexual advertisement of breast while breast feeding on the other hand should at the very least be tolerated.
Matthew DiLuglio's curator insight, October 12, 2013 3:37 PM

I think the men who prohibit public breast-feeding of babies should be starved.  I have a baby cousin, whom I love dearly, and I would hate to delay his lunch as much as anyone else would hate to have their own lunches delayed.  To prohibit public-breastfeeding is cruel, discriminatory, and hypocritical, as these prohibitors were likely publicly breastfed at some point in their infant days.  A message overall about other people acting 'scandelously'- get over it.  Grow up.  I don't like having to hear from or about you, and it takes away from my definition of a perfect world when I see people starving my baby cousin.  Culture should accomodate to the entirety of the population, not a majority.  After all, as for babies- we've all been there, and as for old people- we'd be lucky to live that long, but we'll llikely be there too.  I don't think we should be governed by someone that some people elect and other people don't vote for, because it's really not fair... it would be better and a compromise to not be governed at all!  So don't be critical, be understanding... Peace and Love!

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Twitter Languages in London

Twitter Languages in London | Developing Spatial Literacy | Scoop.it

This map is a fantastic geovisualization that maps the spatial patterns of languages used on the social media platform Twitter.  This map was in part inspired by a Twitter map of Europe.  While most cities would be expected to be lingistically homogenous, but London's cosmopolitan nature and large pockets of immigrants.

   

Tags: social media, language, neighborhood, visualization, cartography.


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Betty Denise's comment, November 7, 2012 10:13 AM
Thank you – again – for your tremendous partnership
Ursula O'Reilly Traynor's comment, December 14, 2012 6:29 PM
thanks for this! we have shared!
Ursula O'Reilly Traynor's comment, December 14, 2012 6:29 PM
thanks for this! we have shared!
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Public Spaces Worth Caring About...

http://www.ted.com In James Howard Kunstler's view, public spaces should be inspired centers of civic life and the physical manifestation of the common good....

 

Kunstler impassionedly argues that American architecture and urban planning are not creating public places that encourage interaction and communal engagement.  We should create more distinct places that foster a sense of place that is 'worth fighting for,' as opposed to suburbia which he sees as emblematic of these problems.  How should we design cities to create a strong sense of place?  What elements are necessary?  Warning: He uses some strong language.   


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Mary Burke's comment, April 15, 2013 9:24 AM
I appreciate what this guy is saying. I wish we could build places worth caring about. We need more people like Mr Kunstler. But I don't things are as bleak as he depicts. He picked some of the ugliest places there are. We do need a sense of place. Right now we get that in our homes. I think what Mr Kunstler is talking about is a community based sense of place that could be created just with the kind of buildings we make in the space. Maybe we could create a friendly atmosphere with well designed buildings. We need to start somewhere to make people not so afraid of each other.
Kenny Dominguez's curator insight, December 11, 2013 9:44 PM

Everyone in the world should care about places if it is small or not known but a place has it own character that some people enjoy while other do not want to know about. Every place has it significance that many people have not noticed because they are blinded to it. People should really have an open mind when it comes down to experiencing new places and learn about its history or anything that you did not know about it.

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Kids Who Get Driven Everywhere Don't Know Where They're Going

Kids Who Get Driven Everywhere Don't Know Where They're Going | Developing Spatial Literacy | Scoop.it
A new study suggests vehicular travel affects children's ability to navigate their neighborhood and connect to their community.

 

We learn about the places around us by exploring.  Literally our mental map is formed by making choices (in part through trial and error) and that process strengthens our spatial perception of the neighborhood.  Research is showing that kids with a 'windshield perspective' from being driven everywhere are not able to draw as accurate maps as children for who walk and bike their neighborhood.  The built environment and the transportation infrastructure in place play a role in developing spatial thinking skills for young minds. 

 

This is a compelling article with some important implications.  What are the ramifications for geographers?  City planners? Educators?  Families moving to a new neighborhood?   


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Victoria McNamara's curator insight, December 11, 2013 7:52 AM

We may not realize it but when we take our kids out on drives to run errands or if we move to a different area we are ruining their understanding of the area they live in. Children often have a hard time of figuring out where they are if they constantly in a car looking at new places. This can cause them to lack a sense of direction and maybe have trouble remembering streets or landmarks near their homes. 

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Environmental Influences of Skating

"Dogtown and Z-Boys: A documentary about the pioneering 1970s Zephyr skating team."

 

Popular culture is shaped by taste-makers, counter-cultural movements, and the blending of cultural practices in new ways creating a distinct aesthetic. Often, the physical geography of a region plays a crucial role in shaping the cultural practices particular to their environment. All of that can be seen quite vividly in the colorful skating revolution of the 1970s that took shape in the Southern California. Kids who grew up idolizing surfers branched out their recreational habits into the modern form of skating that we see today at the X Games. Made legendary through a series of Skateboarder magazine articles (accessible online here: http://www.angelfire.com/ca2/dtown/articles.html ), these kids shaped the cultural ethos of skateboarding for over a generation. With the coastal influence of surfing, the socioeconomics of a seaside slum, it’s abandoned piers, the ubiquity of cement and asphalt in the urban landscape, the run-down neighborhood of “Dogtown” was home to cultural movement. The fierce droughts of the 1970 meant abandoned swimming pools; that drought led surfers to the technological infrastructure for modern skating ramps and half pipes as they skated in emptied swimming pools. As stated in those Skaterboarder articles, "two hundred years of American technology has unwittingly created a massive cement playground of unlimited potential. But it was the minds of 11 year olds that could see that potential." The documentary “Dogtown and Z-Boys” and the fictionalized “Lords of Dogtown,” both produced by skater turned filmmaker Stacy Peralta, chronicle the age (“Lords of Dogtown” is probably not appropriate for the classroom).


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Don Brown Jr's comment, July 11, 2012 6:27 PM
This is definitely a great example of how environmental factors both physical and social economic can influence culture, especially leisure or recreation activities. It makes me think about what other sports around the globe also own their success or failure to their surroundings. American football for example is almost exclusive to this country partly because it is so expensive to facilitate. Yet in soccer, all you need is a ball and perhaps this is why it is the most popular sport on the planet.
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Urban Visions in Music Videos

Music video by Counting Crows performing Big Yellow Taxi. (C) 2002 Interscope Geffen (A&M) Records A Division of UMG Recordings Inc.

 

This music video is a vivid portrayal of the cultural power of place and the deep emotional connection many people have to their neighborhoods.  What types of urban geographies are being critiqued by the original lyrics (orginally performed and written my Joni Mitchell) of this song?  What do the images portrayed in the video say to further this critique?  What type of urbanism are these performers advocating?  Given the context of this video, what priorities do you think city planners should consider when building and reshaping cities? 


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Roland Trudeau Jr.'s comment, July 30, 2012 8:52 AM
They are very much concerned with losing their history. Everything they knew when they were growing up is going to be transformed into a slab of concrete. I can certainly empathise with them, it must be extremely sad to see your childhood disapear. I forget the name of the comedian, but his routine involved a rant on parking lots being the most useless construct we could have ever come up with. An area you travel to just to go somewhere else.
Don Brown Jr's comment, July 30, 2012 8:17 PM
I never though about a parking space like that before. However when it comes to gentrification, how can you find a balance between the values of a local community and the needs of the larger society?
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Linguistic Geography: My Fair Lady

This is a most decidedly dated reference for pop culture, but a great movie for making explicit the idea that the way we speak is connected to where we've lived (also a good clip to show class differences as well as gender norms). The clip highlights many principles and patterns for understanding the geography of languages.

 

Tags: Language, class, gender, culture, historical, London, unit 3 culture and place.


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João Carreira's comment, September 4, 2012 10:24 AM
...Even as portuguese, I apreceated it very much. Thank you.
Don Brown Jr's comment, September 6, 2012 6:30 AM
This movie clip does demonstrate how language is connected not only to space and location but individual or group experiences as well. The languages used by the upper and lower orders in addressing each other or an “outsider” are very distinct within this film. Therefore if you’re socioeconomic status effects the way you speak then perhaps the type of langue you use can indicate what different social groups within a society consider comical or entertaining such as dance and music?
Jess Pitrone's comment, April 29, 2013 6:18 PM
My Fair Lady has always been one of my favorite movies, and it really sparked my interest in linguistics and accents. Not only does your accent define where you’re from physically, but it defines where you’re from socially, as well. While Eliza Doolittle is from the same country, region, and city as Prof Higgins and the people coming out of the theater, she sounds completely different. Right away, her speech gives away what kind of social background she comes from.
Similarly to the “When did Americans lose their British accents?” article, this article helps relay how accents can help define a physical area, and it also shows a connection between accent and economics. Accent is both a cultural and an economic part of geography.