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Kabul, A City Stretched Beyond Its Limits

Decades of war, migration and chaotic sprawl have turned the Afghan capital into a barely functioning dust bowl. The city's tired infrastructure is crumbling; water, sewers and electricity are in short supply.

 

Keeping an urban system running smoothly is a difficult proposition in developed countries that are stable--what is in like a place like Afghanistan?  This podcast is a excellent glimpse into the cultural, economic, environmental and political struggles of a city like Kabul.  This is urban geography in about a problematic a situation as possible.   


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John Nieuwendyk's curator insight, October 26, 2014 9:06 PM

Kabul, a once thriving city is now the product of a war torn Afghanistan. During the fighting mass exodus left the city empty and uninhibited. However, after the war civilians fled back to the slums of Kabul in search of job opportunities. With little infrastructure, no electricity, no water due to evapotranspiration and deforestation and a serious overcrowding problem, residents lack the essential resources needed to survive. Due to the cities destabilized economy corruption runs rampant, in consequence it is unsafe to live in the city center. The advocation for city services is high upon the minds of the people. In response, compounds have been made in the foothills to house impoverished people. These compounds will help the overcrowding problem but the informal economy and dangerous shortcuts will further cause destabilization and create an unsafe city center. 

 

 

Samuel D'Amore's curator insight, December 16, 2014 1:32 AM

This audio clip provided a detailed view of the capital of Afghanistan, Kabul. It doesn't speak of the city architecture instead it focuses on the failing logistics of the city. It talks about resource shortages and the sheer amount of people crammed within the city. These problems are largely caused by an influx of refugees from the war torn countryside flooding into the city for safety and work. This clip shows the Kabul of today, a ghost of its former prestigious self.

Adam Deneault's curator insight, December 14, 2015 3:37 PM

A war torn country of Afghanistan's capital city Kabul is in the mountains. With a population of five million people, the cities infrastructure is in ruins. Things we take for granted, water, sewers and electricity are all in short supply for Kabul. There is lots of money coming in to the country from corruption of opium trade. Due to terrible construction, it is assumed that when Kabul has their terrible earthquake that there will be much destruction. Cars pack streets that are unpaved and the streets are five to ten times more packed than they are planned out to be. Just to get from one side of Kabul to the other it can take hours. What the government needs to is control immigration and fix the problems that they currently have. 

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Is Gentrification Always Bad for Revitalizing Neighborhoods?

Is Gentrification Always Bad for Revitalizing Neighborhoods? | Development geography | Scoop.it
If done right, cities can preserve their character while bringing in new business...

 

RT: This article and it's sub-articles are very interesting, the main point of it however is the fact that gentrification can be done in a manner as such that it will not just demolish the old city but rather build upon it. Involving the residents would be a key factor in this process, more often then not it is the new ones moving in who decide the fate of the area. Retaining original buildings and recylcing them into something new helps preserve the original culture of the area. The main issue with gentrification is the loss of the familiarity within the area.


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Don Brown Jr's comment, August 1, 2012 9:12 PM
I agree that the objectives of gentrification should be shifted more towards improving what is already there rather than the more traditional method of attracting wealthier residences by displacing the local populace.
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Walk Appeal

Walk Appeal | Development geography | Scoop.it
Walk Appeal promises to be a major new tool for understanding and building walkable places, and it explains several things that were heretofore either contradictory or mysterious.

 

What is a reasonable distance to walk around town?  Research shows that cities with improved sidewalks, less parking lots, attractive storefronts and other amenities that encourage walking.  If  walking the urban environment is and of itself an experience worth having and makes the person feel like a flâneur, experiencing the city on a deeper level, automotive transport goes down and walking goes up.  Urban infrastructure is more important for most people than distance in deciding whether to get in the car or walk down the street (for distances under 2 miles).   Bottom line: neighborhoods that have an appealing sense of place are more walkable.


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In the Shadows of the High Line

In the Shadows of the High Line | Development geography | Scoop.it
The High Line has become a tourist-clogged catwalk and a catalyst for some of the most rapid gentrification in the city’s history.

 

Earlier I have posted about the High Line, a project in NYC to transform an old elevated train line into a public green space. This project has fallen under criticism as the property values of homes below the High Line have risen and the neighborhood is undergoing gentrification. Linked is the NYTimes opinion article that critiques the High Line as a “Disneyfied tourist-clogged catwalk.” This project has change the economic profile of the neighborhood and its sense of place and communal identity. The critic’s blog is (self-described) “a bitterly nostalgic look at a city in the process of going extinct,” so he is naturally going to be against anything that at changes the historic character of the city. As geographer Matthew Hartzell has said, “to say that nothing should change is an awfully conservative view of urbanity. Cities evolve—neighborhoods evolve.” This is a good article to share with students to get them to think about the economic and cultural issues associated with urban revitalization projects and the impacts they have on the city.


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James Hobson's curator insight, September 15, 2014 6:07 PM

(North America topic 4)
I was surprised to find out how projects such as the High Line could raise strong oppositional viewpoints. Before looking into this topic it seemed like an all-around beneficial project. Delving deeper, however, the unseen consequences of revitalization and gentrification (2 major keywords right there!) become more apparent. Also at this level it is important to note that what is "good" vs. "bad" becomes much less objective, but rather mainly subjective and viewable in many different lights.

Jacob Crowell's curator insight, September 25, 2014 5:55 PM

I found this article extremely insightful, a first hand account of how gentrification affects the lives of those who witness their community changing to suit the needs of people who can bring revenue in for the city. Also it shows how well-intentioned grassroots efforts to improve a neighborhood can be high jack by those who see the potential to make money. In the beginning the idea to take this unused high line and convert it into a public green space seemed like a terrific way to take the landscape of the neighborhood and convert it into a public good that reflected the community in which it existed. The railway was covered in graffiti with a "wild urban meadow", if I lived in that community I would have supported making it a public space because it showed my communities creativity and culture. Unfortunately, the policy makers in NYC saw a way to bring tourist in with a new trendy hot spot. They covered the graffiti, erasing the communities imprint on the high line. The NYC government used the walk way as a means to increase revenue and in doing so they over crowded the neighborhood making no room for those who were already living under the rail. What is even more striking is that these gentrification efforts even lead to the rezoning of West Chelsea so they could build luxury developments and destroy existing buildings. This public space started out as a great communal asset that was perverted through gentrification.

Timothée Mariau's curator insight, December 12, 2015 8:14 PM

Cet article parle d'un cas particulier que constitue la High Line dans le West-Side à Manhattan. Cette High Line est une ancienne voie ferrée aérienne de Manhattan qui a été transformée en parc dans la fin des années 2000. L'auteur critique ici l'impact que l'installation de ce parc urbain a pu avoir sur le quartier. Il montre qu'il y a eu une certaine forme de gentrification dans le quartier qui était auparavant un quartier représentant la mixité sociale de Manhattan ( avec des populations ouvrières qui travaillait dans les abattoirs du quartier et des classes moyennes supérieures). Aujourd'hui le prix de l'immobilier a explosé du fait de l'attraction que constitue ce parc aérien du point de vue touristique mais aussi au niveau de la qualité des conditions de vie. Cette attractivité a amené une élite économique dans le quartier au détriment des anciens habitants et propriétaires de boutiques qui ont été obligés de partir dans d'autres quartiers du fait de l'explosion du coût de la vie dans le quartier. Cela montre bien en quoi un projet urbain comme la réhabilitation de la High Line peut avoir une influence sur le quartier ( en favorisant l'attractivité touristique, économique et résidentielle) et comment une partie de la population se sent lésée suite à l'élaboration du projet et des changements que le quartier a subi.



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U.S. Cities With Bigger Economies Than Entire Countries

U.S. Cities With Bigger Economies Than Entire Countries | Development geography | Scoop.it
How do the individual economies of U.S. cities stack up against the world? Here’s a few quiz questions that can be answered with our chart of the 50 largest U.S. metro areas.

 

This article shows the economic strength of numerous greater metropolitan regions in the United States.  Even more important than the article is the "Interactive Graphics" which presents the tabular data of the top countries by GDP interlaced with U.S. metro area's GDPs.  Amazingly, 11 metropolitan areas (if they were independent countries) would rank in the top 50 countries of the world based on total GDP.


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Kelsey Saunders's comment, August 24, 2012 9:25 PM
This article really shows how economically high the united states is. It is crazy to think that New York is larger economically than a lot of countries such as Poland, Mexico, and Sweden. I wouldn't have ever thought that that would be possible. It makes me wonder how different it would be to live in a place that is very low economically.
Bradford Baumstark's comment, September 3, 2012 7:52 AM
I kinda expected cities like New York and Seattle to be on the list but out city is on the list to, above complete contires. That's what really astonished me because Virgigna Beach and Norfolk and Newport News aren't big cities. Some how we still have larger economies than entire countries like Angola Cuba and Oman. It makes me wonder how entire contires would be able to suport their citizens with an ecomomy smaller thn 3 cities.
Hannah Provost's comment, September 10, 2012 7:42 PM
This article is an eye opener, To think that New York is larger economically than countries like Sweden really puts it into perspective of how big the United States Is economically compared to other countries. I never thought that a single CITY in america would have a higher GDP than a free standing country. unbelievable.
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Growing Income Gap Segregates More Neighborhoods

Growing Income Gap Segregates More Neighborhoods | Development geography | Scoop.it

"A new report by the Pew Research Center shows that rising income inequality has led to an increasing number of Americans clustering in neighborhoods in which most residents are like them, either similarly affluent or similarly low income." 

 

DB: Economic deprivation both within and between nations are increasing as the world becomes further globalized.  American is no exception to this as the current recession continues to impact not just how people live their lives but where as well. As the middle class continues to shrink, the location of you residence is becoming a stronger indicator of your socioeconomic standing in society. The issue is not only that both opposite ends of the nation’s wealth spectrum are expanding but also that they our clustering together creating entire communities segregated by income. What role does gentrification play in this? How does income affect who is moving in and who is being displaced? What effects will this have for American society concerning which communities voice is heard?


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Streetcar Plans Plow Ahead

Streetcar Plans Plow Ahead | Development geography | Scoop.it
Cities from Los Angeles to Atlanta are making big bets to revitalize their downtowns by bringing back a form of transportation many abandoned decades ago: the streetcar.

 

The streetcar was a staple in urban development projects generations ago and was subsequently abandoned.  Many mid-sized cities today (and a few large ones) are returning to that 'outdated' mode of transportation and hoping that streetcar stops will encourage businesses to open shop in those neighborhoods. 


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‘Forgotten Neighborhood’ Underscores Growing Poverty of Gaza

‘Forgotten Neighborhood’ Underscores Growing Poverty of Gaza | Development geography | Scoop.it
A United Nations report cites widespread shortages of food, water, electricity, jobs, hospital beds and classrooms amid an exploding population in an area of Gaza.

 

While most slums are symptomatic of issues that would be addressed by an economic and urban geography analysis, the slums of Gaza are different.  Many slum issues are tied to city politics, but in Gaza these slums are also connected to some of the larger geopolitical issues of the region.  

 

Tags: Political, urban, squatter, poverty, MiddleEast, economic, place, unit 4 political, unit 7 cities.


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Emma Lafleur's curator insight, April 13, 2013 7:03 PM

People in the Gaza strip are already fearful Israel around them because of the fighting between the two areas. When people think of Gaza, they think of the Palestine-Israel conflict, but there is much more going on in Gaza. Israel blocks Gaza off from all forms of trade, and although they have a tunnel between them and Egypt, it is not enough. Therefore, there are slums where children do not go to school because their parents cannot afford it, people starve because they have no money to buy food, and people live in small shelters that they built out of some materials they put together and sleep on the ground. This is a squatter community, and, as the article states, there are squatter communities in worse shape, the problem here is that everyone is pointing fingers and no one is trying to fix the problem. Many state that Israel has caused this poverty because of their oppressive control of the area and others state that it is Gaza's government because they are corrupt and new and cannot or do not distribute their food well. This is a problem, but when no one takes the blame, innocent people suffer.

Jasmine GreenTea's curator insight, February 24, 2014 11:27 AM

Parents in Gaza are not sending their children to school because they have either no money for books, school fees or materials for their school. In Gaza, there is an exploding population in an area and also, people are living in slum conditions and there is a widespread of shortage of food, water, electricity, jobs, hospital beds and classrooms. The fact that the people in Gaza, slaughter lame horses and uses its meat for kebabs because they could not afford beef or lamb, extended my thinking in new directions.

The population of people who are more fortunate is definitely more than those people who are living in poverty. Therefore, I wonder why are those people who are fortunate, not willing to lend a helping hand to these people in Gaza who are living in such bad conditions.

Kayla, Sean, and Max's curator insight, February 24, 2015 1:37 PM

Max

As the population of "The Forgotten Neighborhood" continues to grow exponentially, living conditions only continue to get worse and worse. People go without food, water, or basic services, making the conditions there practically unlivable. Due to corruption and mismanagement, much of the aid sent there to help gets used elsewhere, which causes living conditions to stay poor.