Geography 400
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Geography 400
Justin Roscoe
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Africa Takes Off

Africa Takes Off | Geography 400 |

Ask this question: Which region of the world currently is the home to 6 of the 10 fastest growing economies?  Most people (myself included) would be surprised to hear that the region is sub-Saharan Africa.  While Sub-Saharan Africa is still the least economically developed region with some very significant challenges, too often Africa is only taught as a region of problems and negative patterns.  


Justin Roscoe- Its Intriguing to me that a continent with such an abundance of resources has been so devastated by colonialism and civil wars for so long and is just now taking vast economic strides. While I'm pleased to see it, it should have been something that happened a long time ago for a continent so rich with resources with so much potential.

Via Seth Dixon
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The Russian Cross

The Russian Cross | Geography 400 |

Justin Roscoe- Seeing the devastation after the fall of Soviet Union on the population was intriguing when something such as the end of communism is seen as liberating can have such a negative affect on the people. It almost forces the people to question whether the fal of the USSR is what the Soviet population really needed.

Via Seth Dixon
Paige McClatchy's curator insight, October 17, 2013 10:15 AM

Judging by this graphic, overall births have dropped, deaths have risen, and natural growth has plummented since the collapse of the USSR in 1991. Like we discussed in class, perhaps more people in Russia were happier under Communism. Even though they were living under a repressive regime and dissidents were violently silenced, more people had bread on their tables- and we can literally see the effects of better govt provided nutrition on the population in this chart.

Brett Sinica's curator insight, October 20, 2013 12:17 PM

When the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, the statistics blatantly followed.  Russia's expansion and development has slowed extremely compared to Soviet rule, and the people have taken the same trend.  Citizens are moving away to find better opportunity, they are literally packing bags and simply leaving without a trace.  When the U.S.S.R. was in full swing, the economy and people were all tightly controlled.  In most cases the regime was strict, but there was controlled order and generally speaking, the people had organization and prosperity.  Though not politically free, there were jobs and workers to fulfill them.  Now, the economy has stooped, which led the social statistics to follow.  Russians are realizing that if they have children, how will they support them?  Their income shows it is hard to support others and therefore birth rates have dropped.  Ultimately, it's no wonder the overall natural growth of Russia has drastically dropped within the last 20 years.

Kenny Dominguez's curator insight, November 20, 2013 3:35 PM

This is just like Europe it is incredible how these big countries little by little are becoming much smaller in population because their citizens do not want to have more kids. Russia and Europe have a big problem in there hands that will affect them in the future.

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Belize: A Spanish Accent in an English-Speaking Country

Belize: A Spanish Accent in an English-Speaking Country | Geography 400 |
BELIZE has long been a country of immigrants. British timber-cutters imported African slaves in the 18th century, and in the 1840s Mexican Mayans fled a civil war.


Justin Roscoe-It’s interesting to see this movement of Salvadoran and Guatemalan immigrants entering into a country that is geographically so close but yet so culturally different especially in this day and age where globalization brings cultures closer together. This is most likely due to relatively poor economies in many of the Central American countries where global communication isn’t easily accessible to the general public. As the article states many of these immigrants are entering the country not having to learn the local language but in many cases forcing the local to learn their language. Service jobs are being given to those who are predominantly Spanish speaking to appeal to the growing Spanish speaking population. It is difficult to think of a nation so willing to adapt to the immigrants rather than having a sense of what Americans would call patriotism and attempt to preserve its current culture and make the new comers adapt. In Belize this more acceptable especially given there history where there country has “long been a country of immigrants.” It seems as though the people of this country have it in their blood to adapt and welcome the immigrants from Guatemala and El Salvador. This is not to say the spike in population does not come with its faults. In the article they discuss the migrants offering to work for less than that of what many of the current citizens work for. Which has increased the unemployment have almost a quarter of Belizeans saying they are currently unemployed. As this immigration movement continues it will be interesting to see what the future holds as far as whether the national language will stay English or be change and how the country’s culture, which is always changing, will adapt to the immigration.

Via Seth Dixon
Elizabeth Bitgood's curator insight, February 6, 7:50 AM

This article was interesting as it shows that the problems faced in the United States due to immigration are not unique.  The friction between old and new immigration seems to be universal.  How different counties handle and adapt to the changing demographics of their people is challenging and shows the character of the population.  I was unaware of the makeup of Belize‚Äôs population or that they were an English speaking country.  This article told me a lot about the people of this country. 

Paige Therien's curator insight, February 11, 10:24 AM

Belize is surrounded by nations much less well-off than they are themselves, which makes them attractive for migrants.  This is greatly changing the cultural make-up of this resource-rich, coastal country.  Fortunately, the countries inhabitants are welcoming to the newcomers and ethnic differences are not seen negative.  However, the large influx of culturally different people are creating issues that the present working-generation has to deal with, especially land availability and job opportunities in an increasingly Spanish-speaking market.  If Belizeans can maintain their positive views of those different then them, they will hopefully adapt to these changes.

Jess Deady's curator insight, April 28, 10:48 AM

Accents are a part of life. They can be developed over time for many reasons. Belize is a country full of immigrants and constant migration. Once upon a time, Belize may have spoken Spanish.Languages are developed every day within countries. Belize happens to be an English speaking country with a Spanish accent. No surprise there.

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What Would Happen If The Entire World Lived Like Americans?

What Would Happen If The Entire World Lived Like Americans? | Geography 400 |

With this depiction of each countries footpront in the world you can see the various difference in culture and how much affect our daily lives leave on the world especially in comparison to Bangladesh who judging by this depiction live a much more conservative lifestyle and dont need to comsume as much of the worlds resources as the others. It was also interesting to see that Costa Rica ranks hire than China, most likely due to the recent industrialization and the affects globalization has had on it.             

After making an infographic depicting how much space would be needed to house the entire world’s population based on the densities of various global cities, Tim De Chant of Per Square Mile got to thinking about the land resources it takes to support those same cities.

Tags: consumption, development, resources, energy, density, sustainability.

Via Seth Dixon
Michelle Carvajal's comment, September 18, 2012 3:23 PM
Its very interesting that the United Arab Emirates would need more land mass than lets say China and the US. I guess what I'm trying to say is that the common misconception of people is that China has the greatest population. I definetely will rescoop this because people could actually see how hard it must be to house people who in essence would need all this land mass to live comfortably.
Thomas D's comment, April 22, 2013 1:13 PM
I thought that this was a very interesting graph and article to read. It shows that if the rest of the world lived like us Americans we would need four times the world’s surface, which is pretty substantial to think about. Although the United Arab Emirates is the leading this graph it’s hard to believe that America is in second. This goes to show that our way of living is out of hand, that the only reason we haven’t consumed everything is because the rest of the world is living of more reasonable amounts of resources or no resources at all. That we need to be as a country more conservative of our resources before we have to rely even more heavily than we already do on other countries. I was surprised to see that India has such a small percentage of resource consummation considering it is such a highly populated country.
Brianna Simao's comment, April 30, 2013 7:23 PM
Countries with a more advanced and urbanized way of life clearly would need more space to survive but if everyone lived like these more developed countries then natural selection dies and survival of the fittest takes over. Eventually all the natural resources would be used up. If they all continued to use the same amount and reproduce then the fertility rate would rapidly increase making the area overpopulated and the quality of life decreased. It is a good thing the entire world lives differently and has a diverse ecological footprint because it creates a balance in the world. As one country’s consumption is out of control another is holding down the fort because they lice more reasonably. It is interesting to see that even though China and India have the largest populations they don’t consume as many resources as the United States and the United Arab Emirates.
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McDonald's Goes Vegetarian — In India

McDonald's Goes Vegetarian — In India | Geography 400 |
McDonald's plans to open the first in a series of all-vegetarian restaurants in India next year. But rest assured, in most locations around the world, meat will stay on the menu.


Many of the most successful global companies or brands use highly regional variations that are attuned to local cultural norms and customs.  The McAloo Tikki burger— which uses a spicy, fried potato-based patty — is the Indian McDonald's top seller.


I think its interesting how they are able to adapt to the cultures of different cultures which makes it seem like it is a completely different company than the one we are amiliar with in the U.S.


Tags: Globalization, food, culture, unit 3 culture and SouthAsia.

Via Seth Dixon
Joseph Thacker 's curator insight, April 14, 8:21 PM

I believe this is a wise decision by McDonald's to adjust their menu for the people of India who are vegetarian. India's population is over one billion now; many of those people are vegetarian. McDonald's is one of the world's most successful fast food chains and they have a chance to lure millions of new customers into their restaurant. This is a great example of a global company making small changes in order to attract people with specific customs and cultural norms. 

Paige Therien's curator insight, April 24, 9:49 AM

When one thinks about huge brands like McDonalds, very specific food items may come to mind.  These items, like the Big Mac in the United States and other select countries, are very iconic in terms of representation to its consumers and competitors.  However, traveling to a different country would expose one to the fact that the cuisine at a restaurant owned by the same company may be quite different.  McDonalds is a master at globalization because they have created a huge reputation and have a lot of power in the global market.  At the same time, they have tuned in to the local cultures and their values and traditions.  In places like India, this is very neccesary if McDonalds is to maintain a strong market there because a large portion of the population is vegetarian.  Not only would they not enjoy eating a Big Mac, they may be insulted by its presence on the menu and feel generally ignored by the company in terms of their traditions and beliefs.

Tracy Galvin's curator insight, April 29, 3:20 PM

I am impressed that McDonald's knows their clientele so well! This is a company that will last since it is very globally conscious and therefore can open a restaurant in any country.

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Top 12 Cities for Culture

Top 12 Cities for Culture | Geography 400 |
Where are the most culturally rich cities in the world? The World Cities Culture Report has named its Top 12 choices. Do you agree with the picks?


How do we rank "culture" in lists such as these?  What criteria is preferred and what elements of culture are ignored in this perspective on culture? 

Via Seth Dixon
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The Corner Where Afghanistan, Iran and Pakistan Meet

The Corner Where Afghanistan, Iran and Pakistan Meet | Geography 400 |
In the dusty triangle where Afghanistan, Iran and Pakistan meet, there is more than one war going on.

Justin Roscoe- This area all be it lawless and vastly desserted is an area where some find hope of work and freedom in western europe. It is also dangerous due to preventative measures Iran has taken to deter the smugglers. I find it interesting that in this area you'll find people who are doing the only job the area offers which is smuggling. This is similiar to the pirates in Somalia where these people are simply doing what the need to do to survive.


Tags: Afghanistan, political, borders, MiddleEast, SouthAsia, Central Asia, unit 4 political.

Via Seth Dixon
Meagan Harpin's curator insight, October 15, 2013 6:35 PM

This is a dangerous place with no authority. This area is filled with fighting, bombing and constant war. But this area is also an important intersection for three major regions Central Asia, Middle East, and South Asia. 

Cam E's curator insight, March 4, 8:35 AM

A meeting of different worlds at a border. I can't imagine the things one would see or hear living or growing up on a border of conflict such as this. Refugees are a common site, and no authority can dominate the others, making the area effectively lawless.

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Europe's failure to integrate Muslims

Europe's failure to integrate Muslims | Geography 400 |
Laws restricting Islamic symbols in the public sphere are fuelling political distrust and a shared sense of injustice.


Justin Roscoe- I find it interesting that in the U.S. we have been raised to accept all ethnicities and religion. Even though this is a belief shared by most americans and the government there are still those who are racist. It shocks me that in an area where most of these religions and ethnicities originate from cannot be accepting of one another. It surprises me that how that in the past France had its colony in Algeria and the white French people were able to coexist but in the home country they (the government included) cannot be accepting/coexist with others. This just seems too old fashioned and childish in ways. 

Via Seth Dixon
Elizabeth Allen's comment, October 3, 2012 5:49 PM
As we leearned in class, Europe has a declining population. If Europe continues to ban certain religions and culture, then obviously its population will continue to decline. It seems as though religion and poitics clash, just as they do elsewhere around the world. If women want to wear headscarves, let them. They are proud of their religion just as many of us are. Seems to me that the world is becoming more secular, restricitve and intrusive than religious.
Shayna and Kayla's curator insight, February 6, 9:29 AM

This represents the religion section because Europe is restricting islamic symbols causing controversy .

Geography Jordan & Danielle's curator insight, February 7, 10:18 AM

Religion: freedom of religion is not a law is some parts of Europe 

Rescooped by Justin Roscoe from Geography Education!

Haiti: Legacy of Disaster

Haiti: Legacy of Disaster | Geography 400 |

"Even before the earthquake Haiti's environment teetered on the brink of disaster. Brent and Craig Renaud report on the country's deforestation problems."


Justin Roscoe- Seeing this video and understanding the effect the people have on the environment and that the environment has on the people/economy is an amazing sight. It is a fitting depiction of exactly what a vicious cycle is. Due to a less than poor economy the people are forced to live off of the land, unfortunately doing this affects the nation, geographically, in a negative way. Since the country is 97% deforested it makes it that much more likely for natural disasters to occur. When it rains in Haiti there is nothing to slow the rain down or to soak it up. Mudslides occur often and the flooding has devastating effects on agriculture and on roadways. Haiti is currently in an economic state that is very difficult to get out of. The land has little use left to it and one of Haiti’s only assets is tourism although the resort areas of Haiti are fenced in and are a far cry from what is really happening in Haiti. While it is inevitable that natural disasters will occur in certain places, the damage to these areas depends greatly on the affect the people have on the land with which they are occupying. The recent earthquake in Haiti was devastating mostly due to how the people were living. The number of people injured would have been much less if all the people where in proper housing and in areas deemed safe for building. Haitians are living in huts, traveling by dirt roads, living off of the little profits they receive from charcoal sales and the government does little to help increase the standard of living due to what many believe is corruption. 



Via Seth Dixon
Tracy Galvin's comment, January 30, 11:54 AM
This is an example of how civilizations can be hovering on the brink of destruction. The earthquake was the final straw it caused collapse of the whole system. The environment became a wasteland because humans that so not have their basic needs met cannot think about long term consequences of their actions. Need is immediate. If we want to help the country it needs to be in very small doses over many years. Their situation wasn't created overnight and the solution won't happen overnight either.
Tracy Galvin's curator insight, February 4, 2:56 PM

This is an example of how civilizations can be hovering on the brink of destruction. The earthquake was the final straw it caused collapse of the whole system. The environment became a wasteland because humans that so not have their basic needs met cannot think about long term consequences of their actions. Need is immediate. If we want to help the country it needs to be in very small doses over many years. Their situation wasn't created overnight and the solution won't happen overnight either.

Jess Deady's curator insight, April 28, 10:49 AM

Natural disasters occur because of two things; the environmental reason and how people react to it. This earthquake was only half the reason Haiti is in a natural disaster state. The people who don't know how to respond to such "natural disasters" are the real reason of problematic changes.

Rescooped by Justin Roscoe from Geography Education!

In the Shadows of the High Line

In the Shadows of the High Line | Geography 400 |
The High Line has become a tourist-clogged catwalk and a catalyst for some of the most rapid gentrification in the city’s history.


I think this is an interesting article showing how perception of the high line differs between the local people and the upper middle class who believe they are helping the city creating this "touristy" park when they are in fact pushing the current occupants of the area out of their homes.

Via Seth Dixon
Paige McClatchy's curator insight, September 15, 2013 5:17 PM

Moss's bitter op-ed piece about the gentrification of West Chelsea due to the creation of the High-Line park does not offer any solutions to the problem he perceives nor does it seem a call to arms for "regular New Yorkers" to support neighborhood businesses over national chain brands. Moss's analysis of the "Disneyland" that now resides in West Chelsea sparks a debate in my mind about economic evolution and the cultural/societal value of preserving neighborhoods- keeping it classic. Perhaps I was too turned off by Moss's style to walk away in complete agreement, but I do see the downside he is refering to. But then again, what mayor doesn't want to see his/her city evolving to become more urbane and attractive? People move around all the time and the nature of capitalism dictates that some businesses will fail. 

Brett Sinica's curator insight, September 27, 2013 9:40 AM

The issue of gentrification is always a sensitive topic.  I personally have never been a "victim" of planning that would displace my home or anything of the sort, though an idea to help a neighborhood should always be evaluated and considered.  As other members stated before, this could actually be beneficial to residents in the surrounding neighborhoods by giving them an area still in the city, but unique to them as well.  Green spaces, parks, any areas with greenery that acts as a meeting place have been proven to lighten communities as an attempt to bring people together and even reduce crime.  There will always be people that will complain about projects such as this, but in the end if it shapes the existing community into a better place overall, it should at least be given a chance.

Gregory S Sankey Jr.'s curator insight, February 19, 7:59 AM

This is a scary article to read, as I find it immensely relevant to an issue that is very clearly here in Providence as well. In studying the impacts of Water Fire on Providence in a class here at RIC we spoke of talking points that the city could use to attract high end investment. It's become increasingly apparent that this sort of investment is the last thing my city, or any other city, needs. This project could have served New Yorkers as opposed to tourists and the elite, but it hasn't. As someone who wants to head into the field of urban planning and community revitalization I must be aware and keep thinking ahead. What will my project do for a community? Will it make it stronger or completely decimate it.?

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Fabulous low Light Photography

Fabulous low Light Photography | Geography 400 |



I believe picture 26 is the mt.hope bride in bristol,ri

Via Tiaan Jonker, Brian Yanish -
oliviersc's comment, August 25, 2012 1:59 AM
Partagé ici à Seenthis :
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30 Shocking and Unexpected Google Street View Photos

30 Shocking and Unexpected Google Street View Photos | Geography 400 |
Canadian artist Jon Rafman is an unusual photographer - he explores Google Street Views and takes screenshots of the most incredible sights here.

 For more, see:

Via Seth Dixon
Dania's comment, August 29, 2012 9:29 PM
incredible images... I always love looking at pictures because a photo speaks or says thousands words... Plus now is connecting images with physical geography, it gives a more clear view of the region and its' people. good job for Jon Rafman... I love his work