Geography Education
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Geography Education
Supporting geography educators everywhere with current digital resources.
Curated by Seth Dixon
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Superblocks to the rescue: Barcelona’s plan to give streets back to residents

Superblocks to the rescue: Barcelona’s plan to give streets back to residents | Geography Education | Scoop.it

"The Catalan capital’s radical new strategy will restrict traffic to a number of big roads, drastically reducing pollution and turning secondary streets into ‘citizen spaces’ for culture, leisure and the community.  Black routes allow public transport and cars at 50km/h, while green routes only allow private vehicles at 10km/h to prioritize pedestrians and cycling."

 

Tags: Catalonia, Spain, mobilitytransportationplaceneighborhood, urban, planning, urbanism.

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Alex Smiga's curator insight, August 30, 2:24 PM
Thuper Duper
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Photos capture hermits who have escaped society to live peacefully in the wild

Photos capture hermits who have escaped society to live peacefully in the wild | Geography Education | Scoop.it
At certain moments we all feel the desire to escape from it all. Even if it’s only a brief walk or a long drive through the countryside, there is truly no greater companion than ourselves.
Seth Dixon's insight:

In the past, those that didn't 'fit' the normative regulations of society or didn't want to fit them could withdraw from society to the margins. Modern society (taxation requirements, documentation, increased population density, private land ownership, urbanization, etc.) makes retreat from society much more difficult today. Some retreat while among us; homelessness has a great distance from social networks, even if not a spatial distance from city centers. I’m not trying to romanticize the past, because I am sure that retreating from society hundreds of years ago would certainly be fraught with peril and layered with tremendous difficulties. 

Collectively, we have especially demonized women that pull back for societal connections (the idea of the lone ‘witch’ is loaded with negative cultural connotations). Many of these individuals seek a different human and environmental interaction, and feel a stronger connection to the land and animals than they do human society.  Some with mental health issues find that societal interactions exacerbate their problems while can solitude and a more physical landscape can offer peace of mind and happiness.  I don’t have any answers, but wanted to think about individualistic and isolationist geographies of those that don’t feel at odds in large groups and contemporary society.  

 

Tags: mobility, housing, cultural normsenvironment, culture.

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What Are You Flying Over? This App Will Tell You

What Are You Flying Over? This App Will Tell You | Geography Education | Scoop.it

Flyover Country uses maps and data from various geological and paleontological databases to identify and give information on the landscape passing beneath a plane. The user will see features tagged on a map corresponding to the ground below. To explain the features in depth, the app relies on cached Wikipedia articles. Since it works solely with a phone’s GPS, there’s no need for a user to purchase in-flight wifi. Sitting in your window seat, you can peer down on natural features like glaciers and man-made features, such as mines, and read articles about them at the same time.

 

Tagsmobilitytransportation, technology, physicalgeology.

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YEC Geo's curator insight, March 12, 10:01 AM
Kind of like your own personal Google Earth.
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All the roads that lead to Rome

All the roads that lead to Rome | Geography Education | Scoop.it

"As the saying goes, 'All roads lead to Rome.' Folks at the moovel lab were curious about how true this statement is, so they tested it out. They laid a grid on top of Europe, and then algorithmically found a route from each cell in the grid to Rome, resulting in about half a million routes total. Yep, there seems to be a way from Rome from every point."

 

Tags: fluvial, mobility, transportationmapping.

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Gilbert C FAURE's comment, January 24, 11:09 AM
a new geography of europe! fascinating for politicians
Gilbert C FAURE's curator insight, January 24, 11:10 AM

une nouvelle géographie de l'Europe! pour les politiques!!

Leonardo Wild's curator insight, January 24, 1:00 PM

But many roads didn't leave Rome ... a small detail that has been lost to history.

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Most Cyclists Are Working-Class Immigrants, Not Hipsters

Most Cyclists Are Working-Class Immigrants, Not Hipsters | Geography Education | Scoop.it

"Urban planners are noticing a cultural gap between bike advocates and others who bike. Planners see a particular type of cyclist: a working-class person – usually a minority and often a recent immigrant – riding to work on whatever type of bike he can get his hands on. Those cyclists are men and women for whom biking isn’t an environmental cause or a response to an urban trend but a means of transportation that’s cheaper than a car and faster than walking."

Seth Dixon's insight:

Those that fight for bike lanes are not representative of all the cyclists.  These invisible cyclists are show that the cycling is an economic strategy for many of the urban poor, just as it can be a social statement for wealthy bike riders.


Tags: mobility, transportation, socioeconomic, class, planning.

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How one German millennial chose to live on trains rather than pay rent

How one German millennial chose to live on trains rather than pay rent | Geography Education | Scoop.it

"When others get off the train to finally go home, Leonie Müller stays behind. That's because she already is home: The train is her apartment, and she says she likes it that way. She bought a subscription that allows her to board every train in the country free. Now, Müller washes her hair in the train bathroom and writes her college papers while traveling at a speed of up to 190 mph. She says that she enjoys the liberty she has experienced since she gave up her apartment."


Tags: mobility, transportationhousing, popular culture, Europe, Germany

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Mark Hathaway's curator insight, October 9, 2015 9:46 AM

This is no question that living on a train is a radical decision to make. It is a direct challenge to the idea that you are suppose to settle into one particular area. While I doubt that this specific phenomenon will catch on, our society is becoming more mobile.  People are becoming less tied down to one specific area. The Millennial generation is changing many of the previous social norms. The Millennial generation is waiting longer than any previous generation to marry and start a family. Many are even questioning the institution of marriage itself.  Members of the older generations, will decry these changes. This is a familiar cycle that occurs through out history. The Older generation always decries the changes instituted by the Younger generation.

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Airport Codes

Airport Codes | Geography Education | Scoop.it
Making sense of those three-letter airport codes.
Seth Dixon's insight:

I often fly into CVG (Cincinnati) and wondered why those 3 letters are used as the airport code instead of CIN.  "Serving the greater Cincinnati metro area, Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky's airport code comes from the nearby city of Covington."  So why is Chicago ORD and Washington D.C.'s airport IAD?  Airport codes has all the answers to these sorts of questions, but the great circle mapper can help you visualize how these transportation hubs are connected and make fun maps of all your travels.    


Tags: mobility, mapping, transportation.

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Christopher L. Story's curator insight, April 26, 2015 8:07 PM

Did you ever wonder.....

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Equality of Opportunity

Equality of Opportunity | Geography Education | Scoop.it

"Is America the “Land of Opportunity”? In two recent studies, we find that: (1) Upward income mobility varies substantially within the U.S. [summary][paper] Areas with greater mobility tend to have five characteristics: less segregation, less income inequality, better schools, greater social capital, and more stable families. (2) Contrary to popular perception, economic mobility has not changed significantly over time; however, it is consistently lower in the U.S. than in most developed countries [summary][paper]. "

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The Geography of Home

The Geography of Home | Geography Education | Scoop.it

"Whenever I am living abroad, people always say the same thing, insisting that I am très Américain. Sometimes it's the words I use, or the way I talk.  But back in America, a strange thing happens. People say I have a British accent; they insist I have a European quality."

Seth Dixon's insight:

For those who have lived abroad, the sense of belonging to one place is elusive.  This article is a great look at personal geographies and how individuals negotiate belonging to multiple communities.  Increasingly, people live in many places throughout their lives;  some cultures are intensely connected to particular places but some are highly mobile.     


Questions to Ponder: What does it mean to belong in a place? What are some barriers to belonging?  Are some places easier to belong to?  How come?    


Tags: place, culture.

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Katherine Burk's comment, September 6, 2013 4:01 PM
I find this interesting as the number story for Cincinnati, Ohio is how Cincinnati isn't as inclusive as it should be despite their hospitality and "niceness". http://cin.ci/1ek8LvX As someone that has traveled and also grew up near Cincinnati. I understand the difficulty in approaching new groups.
Bonnie Bracey Sutton's curator insight, September 9, 2013 2:32 AM

Intersting article.. a good read.

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Mapping functional distance: the communte

Mapping functional distance: the communte | Geography Education | Scoop.it

As described by Manu Fernandez, "MySociety developed this project that perfectly illustrates the utility of georeferenced data. Mapumental tool displays the travel time to reach a certain point from anywhere in the city, thereby helping to understand the temporal distance mobility, a much more useful and practical information than just physical distance."


Seth Dixon's insight:

This type of mapping shows the Space-Time Compression as well as the unevenness of that compression.  Why are some areas 'functionally closer?'  What makes some places 'functionally farther apart?'   How do technology, density and infrastructure influence this phenomenon?

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juanchosierrar's comment, December 19, 2011 5:10 AM
Excellent application of isochronism in geomarketing studies have great use with them we know the areas of influence at 5, 10 or 15 min.

This tool in combination with demographic data can be known potential areas of my future clients.

Currently working with a company in which we develop these products. I leave you some examples of isochrones lins.

http://cartoo.dyndns.org/

http://cabsa.wordpress.com/2011/11/24/geomarketing-areas-de-influencia-con-winab/

adeu
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The Geography of Stuck

The Geography of Stuck | Geography Education | Scoop.it
America can be divided into two distinct classes, the stuck and the mobile...

 

Migration as a simply a function of push factors and pull factors needs to be more fully fleshed out.  Not everyone is equally able to move freely (as those of you with mortgages can attest to) and that has a strong spatial relationship within the United States. 

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The Pan American Highway: The Longest Road In The World

The Pan American Highway: The Longest Road In The World | Geography Education | Scoop.it
At its fullest extent the Pan-American Highway is a network of roads stretching from Prudhoe Bay, Alaska, to Ushuaia, Argentina, a distance of around 30,000 kilometres (19,000 miles).
Seth Dixon's insight:

I love a good road trip, and I while I love the idea of traversing the entire length of the Americas, I think that the idea of it might be better than the actual trip (at least will my kids in the back seat).

 

Tagsmobilitytransportationtourism, South America, Middle America.  

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Agra hotal's curator insight, April 16, 11:57 AM
Book Now Hotel with cheap rate near Tajmahal on http://www.hotelatagra.com
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The End of America's Love Affair With Route 66

The End of America's Love Affair With Route 66 | Geography Education | Scoop.it
For a brief time in American tourism, travel was about the journey. Here's how it came to be about the destination.
Seth Dixon's insight:

Route 66 holds a special place in the America’s collective soul and taps into a feelings of nostaglia for a bygone era...but we don't really want to go back to that time (hence the economic decline of these withering small towns). "In 1956, Eisenhower's Interstate Highway System effectively bypassed Route 66. The straight-lined, speedy interstates often bifurcated cities. They also cut paths far from Route 66's small, idiosyncratic towns. The rise of modern air travel also diminished the appeal of the winding, open road.  Yet it was not only new modes of transportation that faded Route 66; it was also a changing definition of 'vacation.' Disneyland and Las Vegas staked their claims to the American travel budget in the mid '50s. Suddenly, the 'there' took precedence over the 'getting there.'"

 

Tagsmobilitytransportationplacetourism, historical.

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ismokuhanen's curator insight, March 31, 2:47 PM

Route 66 holds a special place in the America’s collective soul and taps into a feelings of nostaglia for a bygone era...but we don't really want to go back to that time (hence the economic decline of these withering small towns). "In 1956, Eisenhower's Interstate Highway System effectively bypassed Route 66. The straight-lined, speedy interstates often bifurcated cities. They also cut paths far from Route 66's small, idiosyncratic towns. The rise of modern air travel also diminished the appeal of the winding, open road.  Yet it was not only new modes of transportation that faded Route 66; it was also a changing definition of 'vacation.' Disneyland and Las Vegas staked their claims to the American travel budget in the mid '50s. Suddenly, the 'there' took precedence over the 'getting there.'"

 

Tags: mobility, transportation, place, tourism, historical.

Jodi Esaili's curator insight, March 31, 3:00 PM

Route 66 holds a special place in the America’s collective soul and taps into a feelings of nostaglia for a bygone era...but we don't really want to go back to that time (hence the economic decline of these withering small towns). "In 1956, Eisenhower's Interstate Highway System effectively bypassed Route 66. The straight-lined, speedy interstates often bifurcated cities. They also cut paths far from Route 66's small, idiosyncratic towns. The rise of modern air travel also diminished the appeal of the winding, open road.  Yet it was not only new modes of transportation that faded Route 66; it was also a changing definition of 'vacation.' Disneyland and Las Vegas staked their claims to the American travel budget in the mid '50s. Suddenly, the 'there' took precedence over the 'getting there.'"

 

Tags: mobility, transportation, place, tourism, historical.

Mike Busarello's Digital Storybooks's curator insight, April 1, 12:18 AM

Route 66 holds a special place in the America’s collective soul and taps into a feelings of nostaglia for a bygone era...but we don't really want to go back to that time (hence the economic decline of these withering small towns). "In 1956, Eisenhower's Interstate Highway System effectively bypassed Route 66. The straight-lined, speedy interstates often bifurcated cities. They also cut paths far from Route 66's small, idiosyncratic towns. The rise of modern air travel also diminished the appeal of the winding, open road.  Yet it was not only new modes of transportation that faded Route 66; it was also a changing definition of 'vacation.' Disneyland and Las Vegas staked their claims to the American travel budget in the mid '50s. Suddenly, the 'there' took precedence over the 'getting there.'"

 

Tags: mobility, transportation, place, tourism, historical.

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The forgotten way African Americans stayed safe in a racist America

The forgotten way African Americans stayed safe in a racist America | Geography Education | Scoop.it
When racist towns used to lynch people, these guides helped keep black travelers safe
Seth Dixon's insight:

I have mentioned the Green Book before, but now there is an interactive mapping application that let's users map out a trip in the United States during the Jim Crow era (and a 99 Percent Invisible podcast to walk you through the issues). Geographer Derek Alderman complied these resources for teachers wanting to use the example of the Green Book in their classrooms.   

 

Tagsmobilitytransportationraceclassculture, historical, ethnicity.

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Tania Gammage's curator insight, March 17, 6:58 PM

I have mentioned the Green Book before, but now there is an interactive mapping application that let's users map out a trip in the United States during the Jim Crow era (and a 99 Percent Invisible podcast to walk you through the issues). Geographer Derek Alderman complied these resources for teachers wanting to use the example of the Green Book in their classrooms.   

 

Tags: mobility, transportation, race, class, culture, historical, ethnicity.

Bob Zavitz's curator insight, March 19, 8:48 PM

I have mentioned the Green Book before, but now there is an interactive mapping application that let's users map out a trip in the United States during the Jim Crow era (and a 99 Percent Invisible podcast to walk you through the issues). Geographer Derek Alderman complied these resources for teachers wanting to use the example of the Green Book in their classrooms.   

 

Tags: mobility, transportation, race, class, culture, historical, ethnicity.

lpatteson's curator insight, March 23, 1:10 PM

I have mentioned the Green Book before, but now there is an interactive mapping application that let's users map out a trip in the United States during the Jim Crow era (and a 99 Percent Invisible podcast to walk you through the issues). Geographer Derek Alderman complied these resources for teachers wanting to use the example of the Green Book in their classrooms.   

 

Tags: mobility, transportation, race, class, culture, historical, ethnicity.

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How To Travel While Black During Jim Crow

How To Travel While Black During Jim Crow | Geography Education | Scoop.it

"A postal worker created a guide for black travelers that was published almost every year from 1936 to 1966."

Seth Dixon's insight:

The effects of globalization and technologies are uneven; this is a very clear example of how mobility and access to other places can be limited based on various segments of the population. It is repugnant to think that such a book was ever necessary in this country, but it is heartening to see the evidence of an organized network that worked to lessen the pain of those oppressed by it (podcast on the Green Book and an additional article).     

Geographer Derek Alderman complied these resources for teachers wanting to use the example of the Green Book in their classrooms.   

 

Tagsmobilitytransportationrace, classculture, historical, USA, ethnicity.

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Bonnie Bracey Sutton's curator insight, December 22, 2015 7:56 AM

Back in the day when one travelled while being black there were restrictions in many places. There also were places where one could not stay , and places where you would not be safe.

The confederate flag was a marker , most of the time to let you know that you were not welcome. Of course there were restrictions on busses, trains, and in some cities you had to take a black cab.

 

Lots of people belonged to social clubs , sororities, fraternities and those memberships encouraged people to invite guests into their homes. Many of us did the relatives map. ie. traveled to where family lived. It was magic to be able to go to places in New York, Philadelphia and Boston.,Still you needed to know little things.

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Jim Crow-Era Travel Guides

Jim Crow-Era Travel Guides | Geography Education | Scoop.it

"From 1936 to 1966, the 'Green Book' was a travel guide that provided black motorists with peace of mind while they drove through a country where racial segregation was the norm and sundown towns — where African-Americans had to leave after dark — were not uncommon."

Seth Dixon's insight:

The effects of globalization and technologies are uneven; this is a very clear example of how mobility and access to other places can be limited based on various segments of the population. It is repugnant to think that such a book was ever necessary in this country, but it is heartening to see the evidence of an organized network that worked to lessen the pain of those oppressed by it.    


This year's Geography Awareness Week's theme is "Explore! The Power of Maps."  Geographer Derek Alderman complied these resources for teachers wanting to use the example of the Green Book in their classrooms.  


Tags: mobility, transportation, race, class, culture, historical, USA, ethnicity.

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John Puchein's curator insight, November 12, 2015 8:08 AM

All I have to say is....wow. 

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Why is EU free movement so important?

Why is EU free movement so important? | Geography Education | Scoop.it

Where did the idea of free movement of people come from? The precursor to the EU was formed as European leaders came together in the wake of the Second World War, wanting to prevent another catastrophic war. The idea was that allowing people to move across the continent - from countries where there were no jobs to countries where there were labour shortages - would not only boost European growth, but would help prevent war by getting people to mix more across borders.

"The founding fathers of the European Community wanted it to be a construct that also had a political integration and for that you needed people to move because the minute people crossed boundaries and borders, you had deeper integration… So it was both a social as well as an economic aim.


Tags: Europe, supranationalism, economic, mobility, political, statesmigration.

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Stephen Zimmett's curator insight, August 15, 2015 11:39 AM
A great read
Mark Hathaway's curator insight, October 9, 2015 6:57 AM

Immigration is a major source of tension within Europe. The influx of immigrants into Europe has led to a nativist backlash in many nations. The free movement of people is a bedrock principle of the European Union. In the aftermath of the Second World War, the leaders of Europe hoped that the open borders policy would  prevent another costly war by allowing people to move to were there were jobs were located. The mixing of cultures would also prevent war. People would develop an understanding of other cultures, which would make the possibility of war more remote. The leaders did not account for the strong nativist strand that often runs through many nations. The UK is threating to withdraw from the EU over this immigration issue. While immigration on the United States gets much of the attention, a more serous crises is actually occurring in Europe.

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An Intriguingly Detailed Animation of How People Move Around a City

An Intriguingly Detailed Animation of How People Move Around a City | Geography Education | Scoop.it
Watch the commuting patterns of New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles.
Seth Dixon's insight:

This CityLab article and the embedded maps show the rhythms and patterns that make city life so beautifully complex.  The Center for Advances Spatial Analysis has compiled numerous maps, time-lapse videos and other animations to show flows of urban life.  These are great resources to visualize the 'spaces of flows.'  


Tags: mobility, mapping, visualization, urban, planning, unit 7 cities, transportation.

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Tom Cockburn's curator insight, July 13, 2014 5:49 AM

possibly useful for studying complexity

Bronwyn Burke's curator insight, July 13, 2014 6:28 PM
Another fabulous post for Year 7 via Seth Dixon. An aspect of liveability in colour!
MsPerry's curator insight, August 12, 2014 7:03 PM

APHG-U7

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Walmart Slumber Party

Walmart Slumber Party | Geography Education | Scoop.it
Who wants to spend the night in a Walmart parking lot?


There are a few generally accepted principles when it comes to the etiquette of spending the night in a vehicle in a Walmart parking lot. One night only. No chairs or barbecue grills outside an R.V. Shop at the store for gas, food or supplies, if you can, as a way of saying thanks. Walmart, the country’s largest discount retailer, says you’re welcome: its Web site says that R.V. travelers are “among our best customers.” The photographer Nolan Conway has been taking pictures of Walmart’s resident guests at several stores in central Arizona. Sophia Stauffer, a 20-year-old who travels the country in a van with her boyfriend and their dog, describes their lots, which usually feel quiet and safe, as their best option for most nights. “We really don’t want to work or live in a house,” she says.

Seth Dixon's insight:

Mobility studies and movement are key elements within geography.  This photo gallery is an intriguing glimpse into a distinct way of experiencing the United States that highlights a hyper-mobile subculture.  When discussing place we often think of the residents and workers, and think of those that use the place with some degree of permanence.  However, many people’s personal geographies are much more ephemeral, and some places are defined by their impermanence and flows.  Wanderlust can strike those in all socioeconomic sectors, and this is a great preview of those on the road.  Fittingly, the dog in this image is named Kerouc.   

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Darien Southall's comment, March 3, 2014 1:23 AM
When I was younger my family went on a road trip before heading to a family reunion. The half a week we were on the road we stopped in Walmart parking lots during the nights. Honestly, I think that staying in a Walmart parking lot is something everyone should experience while on the road (whether it be good or bad).
Lauren Jacquez's curator insight, March 3, 2014 12:26 PM

We see this all the time at our Walmarts in Fresno!

 

Willow Weir's comment, March 10, 2014 12:07 PM
I can see the appeal of safety and the inexpensive nature compared to a camp. I don't think the ability to camp in their parking lots makes up for walmarts many ills considering how many families they keep in poverty
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American Centroid Helps To Trace Path Of U.S. Migration

American Centroid Helps To Trace Path Of U.S. Migration | Geography Education | Scoop.it

"David Greene talks to writer Jeremy Miller about the American Centroid. That's the place where an imaginary, flat, weightless and rigid map of the U.S. would balance perfectly if all 300 million of us weighed the exact same."

Seth Dixon's insight:

Every 10 years the centroid (the center of U.S. population) is calculated using the latest census data.  As the map above shows, the centroid has continued moved west throughout history, but in the last 60 years has moved to the south and west.  The recent shift to the south coincides with the mass availability of air conditioning (among other factors) which opened up the Sun Belt.  In this article in Orion Magazine, Jeremy Miller discusses the historical shifts in the spatial patterns of the U.S. population and the history of the centroid.  you can listen to podcast versions of this article as well, one by NPR and a much more detailed one by Orion Magazine.


Questions to Ponder:  Would the centroids of other countries be as mobile or predictable?  Why or why not?  What does the centroid tell us?


Tags: statistics, census, mappingmigration, populationhistoricalUSA.

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Lorraine Chaffer's curator insight, August 31, 2013 2:23 AM

The centre of population in the USA has moved further inland and southward compared to Australia. Comparing urbanisation in USA and Australia.

Blake Welborn's curator insight, November 11, 2013 10:33 PM

Informative, short podcast that details the changing migration of the US. This allows for the comparison of migration and time and the effects of migration over the years in the US. 

Emily Bian's curator insight, October 17, 2014 7:32 PM

The center of the U.S. population moves about every 10 years. 

In our APHUG textbook, it also talked about the center moving west. It also talks about the patterns and shifts of migration in the U.S going more west and south now, than before. I wonder if the trend will continue?  

It relates because we talked about this map in APHUG class, and it was in the textbook. The population trend is moving Southwest.

This is interesting for next year's APHUG students, because they get to see a population trend right in the US! It's a good article to think about why population trends are the way it is.

2) migration

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Mitzvah tanks in NYC: 'Are You Jewish?'

Mitzvah tanks in NYC: 'Are You Jewish?' | Geography Education | Scoop.it

A nice video for a learning about urban ethnic neighborhoods or religion.  Also the theme of mobility in this video is strong, as this group of Hasidic Jews are in essence taking the synagogue to the people.  As with so many interesting juxtapositions in a globalizing world, this is an example of a curious hybrid with modern transportation being used to bring traditional religious practices to a Jewish population facing increasing secularization.

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Seth Dixon's comment, December 13, 2011 10:14 PM
As one reader commented" One thing that I would caution about the story is that students shouldn't think that this is the only "face" of Judaism. Another point that should be stressed is that while Judaism is an ethnic religion, and it doesn't seek converts, the Lubavitch Hasidim want to "proselytize" among Jews -- to be more Jewish."
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Why is King Abdullah willing to let Saudi women vote but not drive cars?

Why is King Abdullah willing to let Saudi women vote but not drive cars? | Geography Education | Scoop.it
King Abdullah announced on Sunday that  Saudi women will be allowed to vote and run for office in municipal elections beginning in 2015.

 

Driving a car as simple as it may sound, is a method of enhancing mobility and that means freedom of spatial expression.  This decision to allow women to vote has only demonstrated the cultural constraints of gender roles and how much more progress is needed.  

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James Hobson's curator insight, October 21, 2014 7:04 PM

(Central Asia topic 5 [independent topic])

The decrees made by Saudi Arabia's King regarding women's future rights are being viewed as empty promises. On top of that, this topic is at the convergence of not just political, but also social and religious topics. Political, social, economic, and religious interests are all tugging issues such as women's rights to vote and drive in different directions.

I am surprised this article did not mention something which I had heard before: the Saudi government still does not allow women to drive not only out of social custom, but also because their highways are facing a congestion problem. Giving women drivers licenses could roughly double the number of cars on the already-gridlocked roads, making commuting and transportation even more of a hassle.

Jacob Crowell's curator insight, December 15, 2014 12:51 PM

What I find interesting is that allowing women to vote seems like a big step towards equality but it may be more superficial at addressing the real issue at hand. Women in this country are living with so much constraint, letting them vote may not be the giant step forward it seems to be. There are still cultural and institutional barriers that restraint the freedom and natural rights of women.

Mark Hathaway's curator insight, October 23, 2015 6:40 AM

This decision is absolutely meaningless. Elections matter little in Saudi Arabia. The nation is an Absolute Monarchy. The Kings word on all issues is absolute. On the other hand driving a car, is a much more important symbol of freedom. Allowing women to drive, would give them a sense of mobility. Driving in all most every culture is associated with independence. The car allows you to travel anywhere you want, and avoids the trap of relying on others for transportation. By driving a car, you essentially achieve a certain level of independence. By keeping women from driving, you keep them from achieving independence, and force them to be dependent on the males in their lives.