Geography 200
Find tag "urban"
104 views | +0 today
Your new post is loading...
Your new post is loading...
Rescooped by Elizabeth Bitgood from Geography Education!

9 Reasons the U.S. Ended Up So Much More Car-Dependent Than Europe

9 Reasons the U.S. Ended Up So Much More Car-Dependent Than Europe | Geography 200 |
Understanding mistakes of the past can help guide U.S. transportation policy in the future.


In 2010, Americans drove for 85 percent of their daily trips, compared to car trip shares of 50 to 65 percent in Europe. Longer trip distances only partially explain the difference. Roughly 30 percent of daily trips are shorter than a mile on either side of the Atlantic. But of those under one-mile trips, Americans drove almost 70 percent of the time, while Europeans made 70 percent of their short trips by bicycle, foot, or public transportation.  The statistics don't reveal the sources of this disparity, but there are nine main reasons American metro areas have ended up so much more car-dependent than cities in Western Europe.

Via Seth Dixon
Elizabeth Bitgood's insight:

This article gives a nice comparison between American and European car use.  It points out cultural differences as well as governmental policy differences that lead to different views on public transportation and car usage.

Kendra King's curator insight, January 28, 7:51 PM

According to this article, “U.S. (transportation) planners” look to Europe for inspiration as the planners try to decrease Americans’ “car dependency.” Instead of giving answers about how to solve the “car dependency” issue, the author provided nine reasons for why Europeans walk and bike more. Ideas like how the European infrastructure was built (i.e their zoning laws, highways, and biking/pedestrian lanes) were discussed. I found the implication that European’s were able to walk more because residential areas and businesses were intermixed the most interesting of all these reasons. It could never really matter because most of America’s land is already developed, but it did make me remember an earlier study mentioned in the article in which 70% of Americans wouldn’t walk a mile when they could. Triggering this just made me think that intermixing our buildings wouldn’t matter because we are too lazy to walk. Some may come back with the idea that a lack of relaxed pedestrian and bike lanes prohibit this option. However, with the amount of sidewalks around, I just keep thinking it all goes back to how much we exercise (which isn’t much). So honestly, it is an unhealthy attitude that planners need to change. Meaning some drastic action would need to occur in order to actually change people’s habits.


 More drastic ideas like decreasing government subsidies on oil, taxing cars, and implementing policies that “shifted behavior” (i.e. no parking zones) were also explained. However with oil companies and car industries around, I don’t actually see lobbyist letting that happening in the short term. Ironically, the article mentioned that the reason U.S. planners were thinking about how to change transportation was because the model the county uses is “unstainable.” This means the transportation system cannot be maintained for either “environmental, social, or economic reasons” (see included link for definition). Thinking about these factors, I just kept coming back to oil. Environmentally it is a fixed resource, socially people want less of it due to climate change, and economically it is typically more costly. What this all means is that an alternative energy source is needed. When that eventually happens, America will probably believe the transportation system is sustainable again regardless of “urban sprawl” and lack of “public transportation.” I say this because the author pointed out how America thought itself stable during the 80’s and 90’s when energy prices were low thereby implying the bigger issue is the oil needed to change people’s behavior. 


Overall, the author did provide an in-depth list that made me pay attention to the cultural and government differences between America and Europe from the way space interacts with these regions.



Jared Medeiros's curator insight, February 4, 6:41 PM

 A big reason why people are more car dependant in America is because we are a lazy nation.  Americans are always looking for the easy way to accomplish things, so if you can drive a mile to work in 2 minutes or walk in 15, its almost guarenteed that the American is walking! This is obviously a general term and does not apply to all Americans but a vast majority would opt for the vehicle.  As someone who has taken several trips to Europe, people there are in far better shape than in America and i'm sure that fitness along with better eating habits attribute to that.  

Another reason I believe America is more dependant than Europe on cars is because it is far easier and cheaper to travel via train or subway in Europe.  Train stations and public transport in America are expensive and only take you to highly populated areas while the trains in Europe will take you all over the continent.


Gene Gagne's curator insight, November 18, 2:40 PM

This has major impact on health issues, because nobody wants to walk or bike anymore which most of us did until 16 years old, it is a good form of exercise and can keep a persons body weight down. Which would lead to less health issues. Also the pollution from the vehicles and illegal dumping of tires and batteries and oil which leads to environmental problems. Socially we would meet more people and even see more of our surroundings if we drove less. Economically we as individuals would save money by not driving or would we? We would save on gas, licenses, maintenance, but on the other hand our renewal of licenses, registration, and even taxes on the vehicle help support our schools, busing and other community projects. This funding would be cut and therefore taxes will rise on something else we would end up paying for. I personally just think as Americans we drive everywhere and spend less time taking bikes, walks even skateboards all over the city which we loved to do as teenagers. I don't expect to be rollerblading or skateboarding at an older age but why do we stop at 16. It is because we are allowed to under the law to drive and everyone can't wait until high school to get their license. Once we give up our bikes and rollerblades, skateboards, walks it is hard to go back to it.

Rescooped by Elizabeth Bitgood from Geography Education!

Ultra-Dense Housing

Ultra-Dense Housing | Geography 200 |
Hong Kong is one of the most densely populated areas in the world. Seven million people living in 423 square miles (1,096 sq km).

Via Seth Dixon
Elizabeth Bitgood's insight:

This is disturbing to me.  These apartments are smaller than prison cells.  I find it awful that families have to squeezes into such small spaces.  I cannot imagine being able to live is such a small space without feeling trapped.  I felt trapped and claustrophobic just looking at the pictures!

Joseph Thacker 's curator insight, April 15, 2014 5:57 PM

Wow, I cannot imagine living in these conditions. It looks smaller than a prison cell; only people pay to live there. These extreme living conditions are a result of over population in an area. It seems the city of Hong Kong is running out of places to build and house the abundance of people living there. It appears the average person in Hong Kong lives in these conditions due to the high price tags on larger apartments. This is a sad reality.   

Jess Deady's curator insight, May 1, 2014 11:06 AM

Living in such close quarters must be incredibly hard to do for those people who are new to Hong Kong and know something different. For Chinese residents, this is normal. Living in such small areas is a part of the Chinese daily life and culture. China is so population dense that this is the result of living there, tiny living spaces.

James Hobson's curator insight, October 6, 2014 3:47 PM

(in-class 4: Hong Kong)

What I take away from this is the theme of supply and demand. Though these condiions seem stereotypically negative, it seems like those who live in the photographed homes are relatvely well off (food, TV, clothing, etc.). This supports the view that living in these tight conditions is less of a choice and more of something that has to be put up with. Now that Hong Kong has been developed 'across', it'd be a good guess to say that recently investments have been made to build 'up' with highrises and skyscrapers (unless like Dubai they sat to mak either own islands, whic geographically would be less likely here). The questionof sustainability is also an issue, i.e. at what point will it be impossible to cram in any more inhabitants? I wonder if a future migration / spreading-out into other areas has started to occur yet or will soon, like the suburbanization which occured in the U.S. after the advent of the automobile. If so, would it be mainland China, despite the political tensions?

Rescooped by Elizabeth Bitgood from Geography Education!

Flexible Urban Planning

mixed used train-tracks/market place...


Via Seth Dixon
Elizabeth Bitgood's insight:

I found this video disturbing.  Maybe because we have train safety taught to us were they stress that you need to stay away from the tracks, here the people are sitting next to a train track and even have goods for sale that the train drives over.  I think it is interesting how they reclaim the space but the mom in me worries about kids getting run over by the train.

Kendra King's curator insight, April 13, 9:15 PM

On the one hand this disturbed me. All I kept thinking when I saw the people go back on the tracks is that they could easily be killed.In fact, I wonder how many accidents have ever occurred near this area. All it would take is some sort of malfunction on the train in which the horn wasn’t sounding to provide ample warning or someone gets in another person’s way so there isn’t enough time to close down the shop. On the other hand, this made me realize just how efficient a population could become at using space. Everything was timed so that the entire area moved out of the way without an issue. So rather than let any land go to waste, the area uses it despite the risk to its population. Though it really isn't like the population has a choice though. So in instances where there is such overpopulation, it is interesting to see how well the society can adapt to the phenomenon. I do wonder what would happen if the country becomes more developed and the population declines. Would this type of land continue in the future or be disband? I know that in our country there are many laws that would make this illegal, but our country also has the space avoid developing the land in such a manner. When comparing it to the laws of the United States, I would think the country would eventually drift away from this use of land when possible. However, now that I watch the video, I have a new appreciation for maximizing land and I hope that the efficient could continue. Just in a less scary manner. 

Lora Tortolani's curator insight, April 20, 2:51 PM

Talk about using every inch of space available to you.  I find this video crazy not only because of the safety hazards, but just how people seem to go about this like it is normal.  This would never take place in America!

Felix Ramos Jr.'s curator insight, May 7, 1:29 PM

An absolute amazing dynamic is seen in this video.  To say that Bangkok is trying to use most of its open space up would be an understatement.  In developed countries, you would not only never see this happen but you would not even see a thought of doing something like this.  There are violations every where you look.  

Rescooped by Elizabeth Bitgood from Geography Education!

Sustainable Urbanism

"Jaime Lerner reinvented urban space in his native Curitiba, Brazil. Along the way, he changed the way city planners worldwide see what’s possible in the metropolitan landscape.  From building opera houses with wire to mapping the connection between the automobile and your mother-in-law, Jaime Lerner delights in discovering eccentric solutions to vexing urban problems. In the process he has transformed the face of cities worldwide."

Via Seth Dixon
Elizabeth Bitgood's insight:

This video is enlightening.  The speaker uses the city as a model for fixing problems in the world.  Instead of seeing the city as an enemy to environmentalism, he purposes changing the cities and reworking old sites like quarries into something that is useable today.  He also advocates the integration of the transportation systems to make commuting more feasible as well as less pollution generating. 

Seth Dixon's curator insight, February 15, 2014 8:02 AM

Jaime Lerner does not see cities as the problem; he sees urbanism as the solution to many global problems.  This video outlines practical plans to rethink the city to be more sustainable.  Click here to see the trailer for a documentary about the urban changes in Curitiba, Brazil. 

Rescooped by Elizabeth Bitgood from Geography Education!

Brazil Faces Obstacles in Preparations for Rio Olympics

Brazil Faces Obstacles in Preparations for Rio Olympics | Geography 200 |
Ambitious development plans for the 2016 Summer Olympics, as well as the 2014 soccer World Cup, involve large-scale evictions from numerous slums, whose residents are refusing to leave.


The urban revitalization issues in Rio de Janiero are not new, but they will intensify in global importance (or at least coverage) as the time for the World Cup and Olympics approaches.  What are the aesthetics and economics behind revitalization?  What are the social issues that should be addressed?  

Via Seth Dixon
Elizabeth Bitgood's insight:

This article highlights the problem facing Brazil when the country needs to build new facilities to host the Olympics and World Cup.  The clash between the government and poor people who are squatting on land they do not own causes much stress and unrest.  How the country comes to resolve these issues are important for the people in the future.  The fact that people are being displaced is sad and perhaps not fair however, on the other hand, these people are squatters and built their homes on land they did not own and have no infrastructure which is also dangerous and a public safety issue.  The unrest over this issue will cause a pale over the games to be held in Brazil.

Maegan Connor's curator insight, December 17, 2013 5:24 PM

The people protesting the destruction of their homes in the slums of Brazil are right to do so.  The government wants to destroy homes that while they are shabby, have been host to more than one generation of some families strictly so they may host the FIFA World Cup 2014 and the 2016 Summer Olympics.  I understand that government is glad to host these events because it will bring tourism to the country and bring in large profits but in doing this, they are neglecting their own people!

Brazil is not in a good financial state to take on the endeavors of building the stadiums and hosting the massive crowds that come to both events.  Rio de Janeiro also has a very high crime rate.  Destroying the favelas to clean up the city and make more space will only displace the poor and lead to further problems for the country because before a nation focuses on the rest of the world, it needs to secure and take care of itself and Brazil is not doing so. It is cruel politics to displace thousands of people and will not do any good after the few weeks of the Olympics comes to an end and Brazil is left with another mess to clean up.

Cam E's curator insight, February 11, 2014 11:41 AM

With the Olympics comes countries trying to hide all their dirty secrets that they don't want the world to see. It's easy to say that money shouldn't be spent on creating a large stadium and instead to help the impoverished, but it should also be recognized that with the Olympics comes a huge boost in jobs and tourism for the country.

Kayla, Sean, and Max's curator insight, February 24, 1:25 PM


The coming of the 2016 Rio de Janiero Olympic Games requires the building of many stadiums for the games, as well as hotels, restaurants, stores, etc. for the tourist traveling to see the games. This not only is causing gentrification but is also causing mass eviction as the government is forcing people to leave the slums to make room for the new buildings.

Rescooped by Elizabeth Bitgood from Geography Education!

LANDFILL HARMONIC: Inspiring dreams one note at a time!

A heartfelt & moving story of how instruments made from recycled trash bring hope to children whose future is otherwise spiritless.

Via Seth Dixon
Elizabeth Bitgood's insight:

This video was very moving.  I was surprised how the recycled instruments sounded exactly like the real things.  I think this should make us think about how much of the trash we generate could be put to some use besides rotting in a landfill.  It also shows the ingenuity of people to find a use for a resource even if that resource is trash.  It just goes to show that the saying “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure,” is true.

Lauren Stahowiak's curator insight, February 8, 2014 6:38 PM

One mans' trash is another mans treasure. The typical stereotypes of slums are that they are dirty, poor and lifeless. However, the people in this slum have so much more to offer. Searching through the trash, they are able to piece together junk into recycled instruments that they use to liven the slums, their lives and the world. Music is a way to brighten their today and look forward to brighter tomorrows. 

Nicole Kearsch's curator insight, October 14, 2014 12:11 PM

This is really cool.  You would think that people living on a pile of trash would be really miserable and have a negative outlook on life, which in a way these kids probably do.  However they have found a way to bring joy to their lives and bring them closer together.  Going through the trash they are sometimes lucky enough to find actual instruments that have been thrown away, but more times than others only find pieces they can use.  Taking the pieces of trash that they find and turning them into instruments to make music is the highlight of most of these kids day.  They go to show that they can live in the worst of the worst but that doesn't mean that that will stop them from becoming something in life.

Alec Castagno's curator insight, December 5, 2014 10:59 AM

It is fascinating to see how a community living in very poor conditions have found a way to make their society and culture flourish. Where most residents make a living sorting through garbage, they have found a way to use that same trash to create instruments and an orchestra, adding rich culture to their community and giving the youth opportunities they would not have otherwise. It shows that while a community may live in less than ideal conditions, it is still possible to have a thriving culture.

Rescooped by Elizabeth Bitgood from Geography Education!

Rapes Cases Show Clash Between Old and New India

Rapes Cases Show Clash Between Old and New India | Geography 200 |
A boom and social change are pitting young working women in the city against men from conservative villages.

Via Seth Dixon
Elizabeth Bitgood's insight:

The rapid modernization of India along with the rural attitudes and male centric society makes it difficult for women who are raped to get justice.  Mostly because to come forward as a rape victim will take their honor away.  If they have to admit it happened then their lives will be ruined.  Even when their family stands behind them, the women are in fear and one almost killed herself because she felt pressured to testify.  The men who rape these women are from the small villages around the area and feel free to do as they please because they do not fear that their victims will report the abuse.  Things will not change until attitudes towards women and rape change in this area. 

Jessica Rieman's curator insight, April 23, 2014 1:37 PM

This issue is very distrubing. First of all it talks about the poor inocent women and girls who leave their house so they are automatically a victim and should be forwarned that they will be hurt if leaving thie house like as if they should be resticted to their home life and never leave. This would be demonstrated as the old India but they are living or rying to live in the New India where the Women in this soicety should nto be subjected to these kinds of crimes. For example something that really took me was "The accused are almost always young high school dropouts from surrounding villages, where women who work outside the home are often seen as lacking in virtue and therefore deserving of harassment and even rape." And then this quote by one of the accused mothers; "“If these girls roam around openly like this, then the boys will make mistakes,” the mother of two of those accused in the rape said in an interview, refusing to give her name."" Like come on get your stuff together, you should have raised your children better than this.  I have to wonder what this society thinks and whether or not people are questioning what kind of society they are living in and if this society is pressured by the values of the sexes.

Jess Deady's curator insight, May 4, 2014 9:06 PM

Getting away with rape in any country is absolutely disgusting. Especially in India where women have been brutalized with no punishment to the predator, these women have a right to stand up for themselves. Being stalked and raped is something that the police need to get a grip on happening to their citizens.

Kendra King's curator insight, March 28, 8:37 PM

It is hearting to see the police force in the modernized area taking such a strong stance. As the article showed it is greatly needed because the reason rape largely happens is because the traditional aspects of Indian culture continue on strongly in the village areas. These men were told for the longest time that women cannot amount to anything and for them to act free is wrong. This type of thinking is heavily engrained into the members of the society so they won’t just stop acting this way on their own accord. Arresting and convicting these men will send a message that their actions are not tolerated and aren’t right despite what they were taught.


 It also amazes me that this stance exists because the modernized area were also told these stories at one point too. The only explanation I have for the differences is that the more modernized areas are more welcoming of the freedoms seen in the West. To be clear though, the freedoms are more of a western trait. Thus globalization in this instance might have actually helped the positive result of the police force come about because of the positive influence seen in the Western countries economy and life style when they let women have more freedom.


Unfortunately, globalization can’t completely solve rape just yet. The article ends by asserting that to report rape “is a very difficult thing in the Indian context.” Yet, reporting rape anywhere is hard to do. In fact, the mention of 1 in 10 under reported rapes is a statistic similar to that of the United States. Similarly, many victims will refuse to cooperate or even contemplate taking their own life to avoid testimony (in fact many do). In either situation, most rape victims feel they lost their “honor.”  I am not sure when reporting rape or how reporting rape will ever become any easier. However whichever country can figure it out will need to show the rest of the world how. As I do look forward to the day that globalization could decrease rape on a large scale. 

Rescooped by Elizabeth Bitgood from Geography Education!

Protest over Haiti slum eviction

Protest over Haiti slum eviction | Geography 200 |
Residents of hillside shanties above the Haitian capital Port-au-Prince protest against plans to clear their homes for a flood-protection project.


Even before the earthquake, Port-au-Prince was a city filled with slums.  The earthquake exacerbated so many of the urban, economic and environmental issues.  This eviction of the flood plains has class implications as the poor feel that they are being unfairly targeted in plans to improve the city. 

Via Seth Dixon
Elizabeth Bitgood's insight:

It is hard to relate to this type of article in America.  Unlike third world countries, we do not allow this type of building to occur, but perhaps mobile homes in tornado alley might be a comparison.  The safety of the people in environmental disaster areas must be weighed against the ability of them to afford a home.  How to strike this balance is important and political.  Are their homes being unfairly targeted or are the better built homes simply safer and so they do not need to be moved?  This article is important because it outlines the problems in Haiti and other third world countries that don’t have strict building codes and shanty towns spring up.

Felix Ramos Jr.'s curator insight, February 10, 12:21 PM

This is a tough situation.  On one hand, you have the government who is trying to rectify an issue of flooding and also trying to protect people against an inevitable landslide.  Then on the other hand, are those people who unfortunately will have, essentially, their whole history and memories along with those of their ancestors wiped off the face of the earth.  It is easy to sympathize with both sides here.  You just hope both sides could come to a common ground.

Chris Costa's curator insight, September 23, 2:08 PM

Geography and geographical events plays a great role in shaping the course of human civilization, and the 2010 Haitian earthquake is no exception. The devastation that occurred as a result of the earthquake has had severe political and economic consequences for the Haitian people and government, in part because the nation is the poorest in the Western Hemisphere. Despite Western aid, thousands of people have yet to relocate so safer areas or find new homes. This example of the dismantling of slums is a sad story, where the government refuses to allow citizens to live there, but cannot offer them somewhere to go. Despite the government citing safety concerns for the dissolution of the slums, many poor citizens feel that it is a gentrification plan and that they are being unfairly targeted- it would be interesting to see if richer Haitians are allowed to remain in similar areas, which would totally undermine the "safety" argument held by the government. Thousands of Haitians again find themselves homeless, adding to a legacy of devastation and human suffering left by the 2010 earthquake. Geography: 1, Humanity: 0.

Tanya Townsend's curator insight, October 12, 11:16 PM

While I can understand why the government feels the need to assert this project, the talk about the poor always being targeted struck a cord. The government hasn't been able too supply stable housing as it is for the recently displaced Haitians so why would these people believe that they would replace their homes? In one of my recent scoop its Mexico talked of lessons that need to be followed and one of them was " lesson the corrosive affects of a general lack of trust". I would have to say that Haiti could benefit from working on this.

Rescooped by Elizabeth Bitgood from Geography Education!

Unusual ways to avoid Jakarta's traffic

Unusual ways to avoid Jakarta's traffic | Geography 200 |
Jakarta's traffic is legendary and locals have now become experts at finding ways to get around the jams, with some even making money out of them.


The population of Indonesia is heavily concentrated on the island of Java, and the capital city of Jakarta faces a tremendous strain on it's transportation network.  This video show that resourceful people will find inventive ways to make an unworkable situation manageable. 

Via Seth Dixon
Elizabeth Bitgood's insight:

This video was interesting.  It shows that with increased urbanization come the problem of increased traffic congestion.  Government that are growing need to be aware of this and build their cities accordingly to have transportation that can accommodate all the people swelling the city.

Jacob Crowell's curator insight, December 15, 2014 2:35 PM

The amount of traffic in Jakarta is staggering and the traffic itself has built up a business of making commuting to work easier. What is troubling is that the government hasn't made enough of an effort to fix the problem of traffic in its largest and most economically viable city. If Jakarta wants to keep growing the government has to step in and find a way to make getting to work realistic for Indonesians.

Hector Alonzo's curator insight, December 15, 2014 9:38 PM

The traffic in Jakarta is insane, to be in a constant standstill on your way to work is unreal. The reporter in the video says that if the city of Jakarta continues on its current path, it could be "in a state of Paralysis" which for an entire city is not good. The traffic has, for some, become a way to make money, illegally but money nonetheless.

Kendra King's curator insight, April 13, 9:01 PM

Humans instinctively look to profit when the situation arises, this is one of those situations. The government implemented regulations that barely seem to manage the traffic jams, i.e. having 3 people per car. Since people do have to work and may not always be able to meet the requirements, others have started making a living as a “jockey,” an individual who offers to ride in a car so the 3 people limit is met. Doing this is considered illegal. Yet, there aren’t good enough jobs for people to work (otherwise they won’t be a jockey) and those who do work can’t seem to always follow the rule without it harming there work life.  Plus, more police now turn their attention towards these people thereby deterring them away from their other duties. I realize that the state probably never intended these consequences to happen, but now that it is I really wonder just how useful this law really is. One thing is certain though, without better planning or economic innovation by the government, the jams will continue to happen.


I find it odd that the people keep staying despite the major traffic problem. As one interviewee mentioned. I guess as long as you can find ways to stay productive and still receive enough compensation, the time spend in traffic isn't enough of a hassle for them. As someone who has enough economic opportunity with far less wait time in traffic though, I would find this situation unbearable. Clearly, this isn't that case though. So, I am not sure of the immediate solution. As we learned in class, the government tried transmigration. This just lead to more problems. It was then suggested that the type of opportunity. If that is the case though, what should the government do now? Waiting for a more natural economic opportunity to get the people out of Jakarta won't happen quick enough to curb the increasing population growth. Therefore the strain on the infrastructure will continue because the population's carrying capacity is exceeded. Whatever the answers, I think this would be a great case study for urban planning and the impact raising car dependency has on a society as this driving nightmare shows just how important planning is with more cars. 

Rescooped by Elizabeth Bitgood from Geography Education!

In Venezuela Housing Crisis, Squatters Find 45-Story Walkup

In Venezuela Housing Crisis, Squatters Find 45-Story Walkup | Geography 200 |
An unfinished skyscraper occupied by squatters is a symbol of Venezuela’s financial crisis in the 1990s, state control of the economy and a housing shortage.


This skyscraper that was once a symbol of wealth, in an incredible paradigm shift, has now become is occupied by squatters. The lack of a vibrant formal economy and more formal housing leads to a lack of suitable options for many urban residents--especially with problems in the rural countryside. A complex web of geographic factors needs to be explained to understand this most fascinating situation. The video link "Squatters on the Skyline" embedded in the article is a must see.

Via Seth Dixon
Elizabeth Bitgood's insight:

The problems in Venezuela with housing and the lack of response to the problem by the government has led people to become squatters.  The using of the abandoned buildings was a good idea by the original squatters.  The vacant buildings can house many of the countries it is a shame that the government did not think of this solution to the housing problem and vacant building first, if they had, they could have made sure they were safer for the residence.  The idea of a vertical city springing up in this building is also an interesting one.  Not only are squatters living in these buildings but creating businesses and other services for the residence.

Erica Tommarello's curator insight, December 4, 2013 9:13 PM

Venezuela clearly can not take care of its people as the Tower of David is occupied by squatters in the middle of the city. The abandonment of construction of this tower openly symbolizes the financial and social crisises that Venenzuelans are enduring. The squatters do not want to live in the rural areas that boasts open lands. They insist that living in an essentially wall-less and water-less unfinished sky scraper is better then the rural areas and the street.

Maegan Connor's curator insight, December 17, 2013 5:34 PM

The video we watched of the squatters living in an unfinished skyscraper was unlike anything I've ever seen before. In a country with such high population rates and a housing shortage, people have gotten creative and made homes in this 45 story building where they share what would have been office spaces and bathrooms.  Over 2,500 people have moved into the dilapidated skyscraper and made a home out of it for their families. They have rigged electricity that the government does not provide for them and built small stores on almost every floor.  The people have not been evicted because the government of Venezuela knows of the housing shortages, yet does not fix it.  

I feel ashamed that a country with so many oil resources has such high rates of poverty and no one is fixing it.  It shows the corruption in the government through an extreme although innovative example.

Jess Deady's curator insight, February 18, 2014 1:02 PM

In life, I constantly find myself comparing situations with what I read and what I know. Imagine this skyscraper is the Prudential in Boston. How could something meant to be so great fall to its death (and to peoples literal deaths)? One day there is a massive financial building occupied with bankers and lavishness. The next day there is a skyscraper in the form of a house. Housing shortages are happening everywhere and Venezuela is being hit hard in this situation. Imagine visiting this country and asking where someone lives? "Oh, I live in the Tower of David, which used to mean a whole lot more."