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Brazil Rides Wave of Growth as Larger Economies Struggle

Brazil Rides Wave of Growth as Larger Economies Struggle | Classwork Portfolio |
Brazil, South America’s largest economy, is finally poised to realize its potential as a global player, economists say.


This article, dated 2008, shows how at the beginning of the global economic downturn, Brazil and other "BRIC" countries were comparatively doing better compared to the more established economic powers.  Although Brazil has been frequently noted for it's unequal distribution of wealth, since 2001, this income gap has been shrinking and a middle class is starting to grow. 

Via Seth Dixon
Amy Marques's curator insight, April 24, 2014 11:23 AM

Despite the U.S, Europe and other countries suffering serious economic loses, Brazil is experiences its biggest economic expansion in the last 30 years. Brazil has been long waiting for its spot in the global economy and it is finally reaching its potential with the new oil discoveries off the coast of Rio de Janeiro. The country also exports commodities like agricultural goods and oil which has driven most of its recent growth. 

Jacob Crowell's curator insight, October 20, 2014 12:58 PM

I found this original article interesting because it challenge some of my assumptions about inequalities. Although inequality is bad, in the developing world large inequality is not a black and white issue. Some argue that high inequality leads to incentive but massive equality is harmful as well. Now that Brazil's middle class is growing as it becomes more economically competitive around the globe. Which shows us that inequality is only beneficial to an extent.

Hector Alonzo's curator insight, October 28, 2014 11:04 PM

This article is about exactly what the title suggests, Brazils economy growing at a steady rate and how the country itself is seeing a boost, with both the richest citizens and the lowest earning citizens gaining more , Brazil is proving that it is only getting closer and closer to becoming one of the world's next core countries.

Rescooped by Matt Mallinson from Geography Education!

NPR: In The Hills Of Rio, Shantytowns Get A Makeover

Rio de Janeiro, which is hosting soccer's World Cup in 2014 and the Olympics in 2016, is trying to remake its hundreds of favelas.


There are urban geography applications obviously, but what about the cultural, political and economic logic of purging the slums before "the world comes to visit?"  We've seen this recently in Beijing and in other sites of international events.  Why now?  Why not before?   

Via Seth Dixon
Paige McClatchy's curator insight, October 6, 2013 9:02 PM

The facelift that Rio de Janeiro is receiving in anticipation of the World Cup in 2014 and the Olympics in 2016 is sapping up a large amount of Brazil's resources, resources that some lower class Brazilians argue should be allocated to improving roads or schools. The government led make-over reminds me of the upper-class driven gentrification of urban areas in places like NYC that were previously neighborhoods for lower-class residents. I don't think we will be able to understand the effects of this remodeling until after the Cup and the Olympics have come and gone. If Brazil keeps it up and continues to "improve" outlier areas, what will Brazil look like in 20 years?

Seth Dixon's curator insight, October 16, 2013 1:04 PM

There are urban geography applications obviously, but what about the cultural, political and economic logic of purging the slums before "the world comes to visit?"  We've seen this recently in Beijing and in other sites of international events.  Why now?  Why not before?  

Jacob Crowell's curator insight, December 8, 2014 11:21 AM

I find it sad that although Rio de Janiero obviously has a huge socioeconomic gap between the wealthy and the poor, it takes the prospect of the World Cup and Olympics for them to act. Furthermore their solution to cover up their slums is short sighted and they refuse to look at the deep seeded roots of the issue.

Rescooped by Matt Mallinson from Geography Education!

In Venezuela Housing Crisis, Squatters Find 45-Story Walkup

In Venezuela Housing Crisis, Squatters Find 45-Story Walkup | Classwork Portfolio |
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
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 Matt Mallinson from Geography Education!

U.S. Travel To Cuba Grows As Restrictions Are Eased

The Obama administration has relaxed travel restrictions to Cuba, reinstating Bill Clinton's policy of allowing people-to-people travel.

Via Seth Dixon
Amanda Morgan's curator insight, September 28, 2014 6:29 PM

When I bean reading this article I thought that easing the restrictions was a great idea.  Cuba is a beautiful place that could bring in much tourism from the United States and it is convenient as that it's not to far.  It could also be a great learning experience as it is known more a the "forbidden island."  I did not think of Cuban immigrants and how they would feel about going back to Cuba.  This is a case where the sense of place is crucial.  An island that is seen as a tropical paradise for some is certainly not for others.

Jacob Crowell's curator insight, December 16, 2014 7:54 AM

I agree with this move. The embargo on Cuba was imposed during the Cold War. Cuba provided Russia with an ally less than a hundred miles from the coast of Florida so it made sense to want to cut off contact and goods to the government of Cuba. Now however the threat is non existent. Furthermore, allowing American tourist easier access to Cuba will open up pathways for people who may have family in Cuba to go see them. Miami has a gigantic Cuban population, its nice to know it will be easier for them to go an visit if they wish do to so.

Edgar Manasseh Jr.'s curator insight, February 14, 7:40 PM

The growth between the U.S and Cuba has increased business wise from their past. Allowing tourists travel to Cuba is a slow process of Growth leading to more of an expansion in whatever business whether it be oil or goods to trade its a slow process of trust that's appearing between the two.

Rescooped by Matt Mallinson from Geography Education!

For Mexico City, a Repurposed Landfill

For Mexico City, a Repurposed Landfill | Classwork Portfolio |
Methane from a landfill will flow to a power plant, helping to keep the lights on in the city.


When Mexico City’s government shut down the giant Bordo Poniente landfill last December, officials announced that they had a full-blown plan for the site...the city aims to capture the methane gas produced by the landfill to fuel a power plant that could supply electricity to as many as 35,000 homes. 

Via Seth Dixon
James Hobson's curator insight, September 28, 2014 9:41 PM

(Central America topic 8)

This article bears striking resemblance to the situation unfolding just a few blocks from my home: Johnston's Central Landfill.

The main similarity is with the use of methane gas for electricity production. Not only is this  a 'green' form of energy (natural decomposition), but it helps to prevent the foul odor of methane gas from spreading to nearby cities and towns. Before upgrading methane pumps at the Central Landfill, my neighborhood smelled like a dumpster most days. Now the air is cleaner and clean electricity is being produced... "two birds, one stone." Hopefully other landfills will take these examples to meaning in some way.

Kaitlin Young's curator insight, December 14, 2014 4:20 PM

Usually when a landfill becomes overloaded, it just gets shut down and left to rot. Mexico City is trying to do something new and ingenious with its massive landfill. Instead of closing off the land and letting it stay as reusable space, Mexico is hoping to develop a way to harness landfill gases in order to make electricity. If it is successful, it could prove to be a world-changing solution for other large, developing cities. It has the potential of lowering energy costs, creating jobs, and finding a purpose for land that would otherwise remain unusable for probably centuries. 

Jacob Crowell's curator insight, December 16, 2014 7:58 AM

In class we discussed the numerous environmental issues that exist in Mexico City. This is a great way of turning a negative into a positive. On a larger scale, I think this is going to be the kind of solutions that every country will have to eventually find. Creative ways of using technology to turn harmful waste into energy is a great idea. Methane is a cleaner than coal and recycling lessens the burden on natural resources.

Rescooped by Matt Mallinson from Geography Education!

Brazil's economy overtakes UK's

Brazil's economy overtakes UK's | Classwork Portfolio |
Brazil has overtaken the UK as the world's sixth largest economy, the Centre for Economics and Business Research says.


The "BRIC" countries are surging forward and are seen as major players in the global economy (Brazil, Russia, India and China). Brazil just recently past the U.K. as the 6th largest economy.  China passed Japan not more than a year ago.    Furthermore, Russia and India are poised to pass the traditional European economic powers (U.K., Germany, France and Italy) by 2020.  In this restructuring of the global economy, what will the impacts be on various regions of the world? 

Via Seth Dixon
Cam E's curator insight, February 11, 2014 11:46 AM

BRIC has always interested me as an alternative to the traditional centers of economic power. The four BRIC countries are all powerful up and comers and their positioning all around the world and lack of cultural commonality make them a very intriguing force.

Jacob Crowell's curator insight, October 20, 2014 11:55 AM

The rise of the BRIC countries shows that the global economy is changing due to globalization. Now that transportation is cheaper, communication is more fluid, and economies can intermingle easier than before, countries can be more competitive with previous economic powers. I find it interesting that it is likely that in the next century we will see the US slipping further down this list.

Mark Hathaway's curator insight, October 1, 8:01 AM

While this may seem surprising, this event should not be taken as such. Countries such as China, Russia, India and Brazil are becoming more powerful with the passing of each day. The biggest challenges to the United States are China and Russia. They are the only nations who can compete with us on both a political and economic scale. Russia is currently causing the most issues. Putin is an agitator on the world stage. I truly believe that it is his desire to recreate the great Russian Empire of old. His continued medaling around the globe will be a serious threat for the foreseeable future. China is the longer term threat. They are the only ones who possess the economic abilities to compete with us. Brazil and India, while growing are still not any were near us in terms of political or economic strength. Our government should do all it can, to foster good relationships with these nations. Especially sense are relationships with China and Russia are problematic at the moment.

Rescooped by Matt Mallinson from Geography Education!

Taming the City of God

Taming the City of God | Classwork Portfolio |
Years of hatred and mistrust are thawing in some of Rio's most violent slums.


This compelling video depicts some of the challenges that the police in Rio de Janeiro face in trying to bring more effective goverance into some of the more poverty-striken, drug-riddled neighborhoods in the city.  This slums, known as favelas, are receiving increased attention as Rio is hosting the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Oyllympic Games. 

Via Seth Dixon
Seth Dixon's curator insight, January 8, 2014 2:00 PM

This compelling video depicts some of the challenges that the police in Rio de Janeiro face in trying to bring more effective governance into some of the more poverty-stricken, drug-riddled neighborhoods in the city.  This slums, known as favelas, are receiving increased attention as Rio is hosting the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Olympic Games.

James Hobson's curator insight, September 30, 2014 9:08 AM

(South America topic 7)

The details pertaining to how Rio's police force has been regaining control in favelas surprised me, but in a positive way. For example, having officers work and volunteer with children is a great idea to stop the generation chain of fearing the police as the enemy. I believe the message that this communicates is that the police are human too, sharing many of the same aspirations as those who they serve. It's unfortunate that this ramping-up in force comes mainly because of the approaching Olympics, but at least it is still a step in the right direction.

Jacob Crowell's curator insight, October 20, 2014 12:42 PM

This video shows the tense relationship between the favales and the government of Brazil. I can't help but notice how people in the favales are being treated as lesser citizens that are not part of the collective identity of Brazil. As these big sporting events draw near, the government is more concerned with hiding or eliminating the systemic inequalities that are occurring in the favales. If I lived in these areas I would find it hard not to see the government as an enemy.

Rescooped by Matt Mallinson from Geography Education!

Haiti: Legacy of Disaster

Haiti: Legacy of Disaster | Classwork Portfolio |

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


What about a disaster is 'natural' and what about the disaster is attributable to how people live on the land?  This video highlights the poverty, architectural and environmental factors that exacerbated the problems in the Haitian Earthquake of 2010.  This is a merging of both the physical geography and human geography.  

Via Seth Dixon
Jess Deady's curator insight, April 28, 2014 1:49 PM

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.

James Hobson's curator insight, September 25, 2014 10:26 AM

(Central America topic 2)

Which came first, the chicken or the egg? Or in this case:

Which came first, the deforestation or the disparity?

I believe the answer can be both.

At first such a country's inhabitants might not know what devastating impacts manmade environmental changes such as deforestation can have - or, they might just have no other choice. Here disparity comes first. But unfortunately such effects can be far reaching. Deforestation can 'come back around' and be the cause (not only the result) of disparity: erosion, flooding, landslides, lack of natural resources. These all contribute to further disasters and crises, which continue the repeating trend.

Dr. Bonin has held classes pertaining to this same issue of deforestation, among the other issues which Haitians face. IN addition, the company I work for has been sponsoring a campaign to help humanitarian efforts in the country, and I have worked with people who have lived there.

Lastly, I can't help but notice an uncanny similarity between the deforestation of Haiti and that of Easter Island. I hope Easter Is. will be used as a warning message.


Alex Vielman's curator insight, September 29, 3:13 PM

Conditions in Haiti were bad in Haiti even before the disaster of the 2010 Haitian Earthquake occurred. The video shows images of the clear deforestation Haiti is suffering as a country. A lot of the mountain tops and hills are seen white without those bright green colors. It is said that the country is already 97% deforested. The reason so is because charcoal is basically the only way Haitians can cook and even make money off of if possible. Sometimes people do not like to accept that the countries own people, are affecting their living environment. Haitians live in a country where nights are spent in the dark in rural areas. The charcoal is the light Haitians depend on as well.

Haiti is a country of extreme poverty that don't offer an alternative to charcoal, which is the reason for its deforestation. A lot of Haitians blame the governed for the lack of infrastructure in the country but its all the mudslides fault. It is something that physically humans can not contain unless alternative methods are used to prevent deforestation. 

Rescooped by Matt Mallinson from Geography Education!

In Honduras, Police Accused Of Corruption, Killings

The Central American nation is the most violent country in the world, according to the United Nations. A mix of drug trafficking, political instability and history adds up to a murder rate that is now four times that of Mexico.

Via Seth Dixon
Paige Therien's curator insight, February 11, 2014 1:36 PM

Honduras' role in the drug trafficking industry has increased immensely which does not mix well with their already corrupt government and police force.  However, a history of U.S. aid and security "support" is what rooted this country in violence.  Honduras' situation is spiraling out of control because the drug trafficking industry has taken advantage of its already weak state.

Amy Marques's curator insight, February 12, 2014 10:55 PM

In the news we sometimes hear about violence taking place at the border of the US and Mexico, but you never hear of the violence in Honduras. With a mix of drug trafficking, corruption, political instability and history has led to a murder rate that is now four times that of Mexico., which is pretty hard to think of since there Mexico already has a high muder right. The situation has gotten so bad that the Peace Corps has withdrawn its volunteers.

Mark Hathaway's curator insight, September 24, 6:53 AM

While Mexico gets all the bad press when it comes to violence and police corruption, Honduras is actually a  more violent place to be. The murder rate in the nation is four times that of Mexico. Like Mexico, the rule of law in Honduras is quite questionable. Most of the nations police force is corrupt. Many police officers are  on the payrolls of drug lords and gangs. Average citizens have no respect for law enforcement, which they view as an extension of the drug trade. A country without  the rule of law, will descend into anarchy. This situation is playing out in Honduras, to the detriment of its people.