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Rescooped by Elizabeth Allen from Geography Education!

China's 'Mountain-Moving' Project

A promotional video shows planned development of a state-level development zone by government of Lanzhou, a provincial capital in China's arid northwest...

The Lanzhou province is lightly populated mainly due to it's semi-arid climate and rugged topography.  The goal is make a 500 square mile area (currently with 100,000 people) into a city with over 1 million people by 2030.  To make this new metropolis, developers are planning to literally remove mountains to create a more 'ideal' urban environment.  This makes some of the most ambitious environmental modification projects seem tame.  For more read, the accompanying article from the Guardian.  

Questions to Ponder: What potential environmental impacts come from this scale of modification?  How will this massive influx of the population impact the region?  Could this type of project happen in other part of the world? 

Tags: environment, urban ecology, planning, environment modify, China.

Via Seth Dixon
Elizabeth Allen's insight:

The developer is claiming this will be "protective development." I am not sure if I buy that.  They are moving mountains- which means everything that comes with that, wildlife, trees, etc...  And they are building an airport and an oil refinery (amongst other things)..  Urbanizing can be great for the economy- but at what cost.   Elizabeth Allen

Elizabeth Allen's comment, December 11, 2012 11:51 PM
The developer is claiming this will be "protective development." I am not sure if I buy that. They are moving mountains- which means everything that comes with that, wildlife, trees, etc... And they are building an airport and an oil refinery (amongst other things).. Urbanizing can be great for the economy- but at what cost.
Rescooped by Elizabeth Allen from Geography Education!

In Venezuela Housing Crisis, Squatters Find 45-Story Walkup

In Venezuela Housing Crisis, Squatters Find 45-Story Walkup | Geography 400 at ric |
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.


Truly amazing. People and businesses occupying an un-safe government owned building. I give them credit for what they have achieved in attempt to survive. The government is obviously falling short in the promise to supply low-income housing. This building was to symbolize "mettle" proving Caracas to be a courageous capital, now it describes the people left to live there. It is sad to see the deplorable conditions that the people are left to live or in, or even worse, to die in. 

Elizabeth Allen

Via Seth Dixon
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.

Elizabeth Bitgood's curator insight, February 17, 2014 10:46 AM

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.

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."

Rescooped by Elizabeth Allen from Geography Education!

Unusual ways to avoid Jakarta's traffic

Unusual ways to avoid Jakarta's traffic | Geography 400 at ric |
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. 


Traffic. Just waiting for your turn to move a few feet. I can only imagine the frustration of commuters in Jakarta. The governemnt needs to make improvements, quikly. If they provided more public transport and better infrastrucure, traffic conditions would greatly improve.  Many other countries have faced this issue.  Without the government's help, Jakarta may be congested for a long time.  Carool regulations in a poor community provoke crime.  If people can make a living helping others commute into the city, they will.  The "jockeys" see an opportunity to provide for their families, while it is illegal- they are desperate enough to try an evade police and help the commuters.  Elizabeth Allen

Via Seth Dixon
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.