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Kabul, A City Stretched Beyond Its Limits

Decades of war, migration and chaotic sprawl have turned the Afghan capital into a barely functioning dust bowl. The city's tired infrastructure is crumbling; water, sewers and electricity are in short supply.

 

Keeping an urban system running smoothly is a difficult proposition in developed countries that are stable--what is in like a place like Afghanistan?  This podcast is a excellent glimpse into the cultural, economic, environmental and political struggles of a city like Kabul.  This is urban geography in about a problematic a situation as possible.   

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James Hobson's curator insight, October 21, 2014 6:28 PM

(Central Asia topic 1 {5 topics from here & 5 from Russia merged})

I see a few similarities between what Kabul has experienced and the "favelas" in South America. Both experience a major lack of infrastructure, government support, and an increase in small, crowded, unstable housings. However, Kabul seems to be taking at least a small step forward, economically and spatially speaking. The video mentions how on the undeveloped periphery of the city, large developments have begun to take root. Being able to plan ahead allows for more efficiency and simplicity. One small example would be that of roads: why continue to put up with crowded, narrow,  winding streets (like those found throughout Boston and Providence historical areas) when wider, straighter, more accommodating ways can be had (like the perfectly straight, right-angled streets of more 'planned-out' cities of Las Vegas and Phoenix).

John Nieuwendyk's curator insight, October 26, 2014 9:06 PM

Kabul, a once thriving city is now the product of a war torn Afghanistan. During the fighting mass exodus left the city empty and uninhibited. However, after the war civilians fled back to the slums of Kabul in search of job opportunities. With little infrastructure, no electricity, no water due to evapotranspiration and deforestation and a serious overcrowding problem, residents lack the essential resources needed to survive. Due to the cities destabilized economy corruption runs rampant, in consequence it is unsafe to live in the city center. The advocation for city services is high upon the minds of the people. In response, compounds have been made in the foothills to house impoverished people. These compounds will help the overcrowding problem but the informal economy and dangerous shortcuts will further cause destabilization and create an unsafe city center. 

 

 

Samuel D'Amore's curator insight, December 16, 2014 1:32 AM

This audio clip provided a detailed view of the capital of Afghanistan, Kabul. It doesn't speak of the city architecture instead it focuses on the failing logistics of the city. It talks about resource shortages and the sheer amount of people crammed within the city. These problems are largely caused by an influx of refugees from the war torn countryside flooding into the city for safety and work. This clip shows the Kabul of today, a ghost of its former prestigious self.

Geography Education
Global news with a spatial perspective:  Interesting, current supplemental materials for geography teachers and students.
Curated by Seth Dixon