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Supporting geography educators everywhere with current digital resources.
Curated by Seth Dixon
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An Old King for Congo

An Old King for Congo | Geography Education | Scoop.it

"On December 20, the Democratic Republic of Congo, which had been a democracy for the past decade (flawed though it was), lost that distinction. The backsliding of democracy in the country was preventable; it unfolded slowly and under the watch of the international community. DRC President Joseph Kabila, faced with the end of his constitutional mandate, had two options: call elections or resort to repression to stay in power. He chose the latter. Kabila’s ultimate decision is not that surprising. He faces deep levels of unpopularity. A Congo Research Group poll of 7,545 Congolese showed that he would have only received 7.8 percent of the vote if elections had been held this year. Furthermore, the presidency guarantees his safety. As Brian Klaas of the London School of Economics has noted, 43 percent of African leaders have been jailed, exiled, or killed after losing power since 1960."

 

Tags: DR Congo, political, conflict, Africa.

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Video: Step Into a Refugee Camp

Video: Step Into a Refugee Camp | Geography Education | Scoop.it
The Zaatari refugee camp in Jordan is one of the largest Syrian camps in the world. In the fall, we visited the camp live with our audience. Here’s what we heard from the refugees and from you.
Seth Dixon's insight:

If you want to humanize the massive refugee crisis, and have lives and stories to connect to statistics, this 11 minute video shows what life is like in a refugee camp, and goes into the hopes, dreams, and life stories of the refugees. 

 

TagsMiddleEast, Jordan, Syria, political, refugees.

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Election Results in the Third Dimension

Election Results in the Third Dimension | Geography Education | Scoop.it

"By extending each region into the 3rd dimension, it’s possible to show the relative importance of each region while retaining the map’s shape, keeping the areas recognizable. In this case, the height of each county corresponds to its total number of votes, though it could just as easily show population or share of the electoral vote. For a closer look, see the full screen interactive version."

Seth Dixon's insight:

We've all probably seen enough maps of the 2016 presidential election and are familiar with the basic patterns (although my favorite is still the interactive that let's you redraw the states to alter the election).  This 3D map certainly though is an innovative way to portray some of the disparities in the U.S. electorate.

 

Tags: electoral, politicaldensity, mapping.

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HumdeBut's comment, December 29, 2016 6:22 AM
interesting graph !
HumdeBut's curator insight, December 29, 2016 6:25 AM
Partagé pour l'intérêt de ce type de graphique/présentation de résultats de vote.
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South Sudan On Brink Of 'Rwanda-Like' Genocide, Commission Warns

South Sudan On Brink Of 'Rwanda-Like' Genocide, Commission Warns | Geography Education | Scoop.it

"In a meeting of the U.N. Human Rights Council, commission chief Yasmin Sooka reported murder and rape on an 'epic' scale. 'We are running out of adjectives to describe the horror,' she said."

Seth Dixon's insight:

Since December 2013, South Sudan has been embroiled in a civil war that began as a primarily political conflict, but has since taken shape between the country's two largest ethnic groups, the Dinka and the Nuer.  One of the many tragedies has been the impact on the children living in South Sudan.   

 

Tags: South Sudanpoliticalethnicity, Africa, war.

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Aleppo Is Falling

Aleppo Is Falling | Geography Education | Scoop.it
How Assad and Russia achieved a major victory at a devastating cost

 

Reports from Aleppo have been particularly harrowing for the past month, as Syrian government forces, supported by Russian airstrikes and Iranian-backed militias, have squeezed the remaining rebels out of the eastern portion of the city. The collapse seemed to come all at once, with fighters loyal to Bashar al-Assad making more territorial gains in the city’s rebel enclaves since mid-November than they had in the previous four years since the opposition first seized it.

As the offensive reached its final stages this week, the United Nations received reports of massacres of civilians; a spokesman for the UN high commissioner for human rights said women and children had been shot trying to flee.

Seth Dixon's insight:

During the fighting between the Assad regime and the rebels, ISIS has taken advantage of the situation to recapture Palmyra. 

 

Tags: Syria, war, political, terrorism, ISISMiddle East.

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The unbearable sadness of being Taiwan, a liberal island other democracies refuse to talk to

The unbearable sadness of being Taiwan, a liberal island other democracies refuse to talk to | Geography Education | Scoop.it

"An island, a territory, a self-governing entity, a renegade province, a breakaway part of China, the place formerly known as Formosa—call Taiwan any of those things, but never a country, a state, or a nation. The simple fact that it took a phone call between US president-elect Donald Trump and Taiwanese president Tsai Ing-wen to draw attention to one of Asia’s most vibrant democracies highlights the humiliating plight of Taiwan in the international arena. The irony that the US and other democratic countries cannot openly recognize Taiwan’s achievements for fear of incurring Beijing’s wrath has not been lost on many observers, who nevertheless fear that a cavalier move by Trump to upend diplomatic protocol in such a way could ultimately end badly for little Taiwan."

 

Tags: Taiwan, political, states, borders, geopoliticsEast Asia.

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Loreto Vargas's curator insight, December 12, 2016 10:01 AM
This behaviour towards Taiwan of the so-called “democratic” countries is unfair and their submission to China is unacceptable. But that’s the way things go and Chile is benefiting from this cowardice. Let’s put a stop to the made in China!
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Labor unrest in Cameroon after clashes over language discrimination

Labor unrest in Cameroon after clashes over language discrimination | Geography Education | Scoop.it
In Cameroon, unrest in minority English-speaking regions over discrimination by majority French speakers is still simmering after violent clashes with police claimed at least four lives.

 

English-speakers have been protesting since Monday (11/21/2016) against what they see as their "second-class citizen status" and attempts to marginalize them in the west African nation. Eight of Cameroon's ten regions are largely Francophone, but two regions, North West and South West Cameroon are English-speaking. English-speaking teachers complain that French-speaking counterparts are being increasingly deployed in English schools, despite differences in the curricula and teaching systems.

 

Tags: language, CameroonAfrica, culture.

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Bamenda protests: Mass arrests in Cameroon

Bamenda protests: Mass arrests in Cameroon | Geography Education | Scoop.it
Some 100 people are arrested after protests against using French in Cameroon's English-speaking region.

 

Areas controlled by Britain and France joined to form Cameroon after the colonial powers withdrew in the 1960s. The country has 10 semi-autonomous administrative regions - eight are Francophone and use the French civil law. English-speakers have long complained that they face discrimination. They often complain that they are excluded from top civil service jobs and that government documents are often only published in French, even though English is also an official language. Bamenda is the founding place of Cameroon's largest opposition political party, the Social Democratic Front.

 

Tags: language, colonialism, CameroonAfrica, culturepolitical, devolution.

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D.C. Votes Overwhelmingly To Become 51st State

D.C. Votes Overwhelmingly To Become 51st State | Geography Education | Scoop.it
District of Columbia voters passed the referendum Tuesday with nearly 80 percent in favor. Congress, which will ultimately decide the fate of the federal district, is not expected to approve it.

 

Voters in the District of Columbia passed a measure on Tuesday in favor of petitioning Congress to become a state in the union.

79 percent of voters cast votes in favor of the ballot measure, which splits the district into a residential state with a small federal district in the middle of it for government buildings and monuments, as we have reported.

The newly approved measure had four parts:

  1. agree that the District should be admitted to the Union as the State of New Columbia
  2. approve of a Constitution of the State of New Columbia to be adopted by the Council
  3. approve the State of New Columbia's boundaries
  4. agree that the State of New Columbia shall guarantee an elected representative form of government.
Seth Dixon's insight:

Questions to Ponder: Why do the residents of the District of Columbia want to change the legal status of the District to a state?  Why might some states and politicians NOT want to see a 51st state?  What is needed in the United States to admit a new state (Puerto Rico is still a possibility to become the 51st state)?  

 

Tags: political, sovereignty, autonomy, Washington DC.

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US election 2016: Trump victory in maps

US election 2016: Trump victory in maps | Geography Education | Scoop.it
The map above shows where Mr Trump improved on the share of the vote achieved by Mitt Romney, the Republican presidential candidate who failed to beat President Barack Obama in 2012.

 

Tags: electoral, political.

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ISIS and the U.S. Presidential Election

The United States is already taking some steps to roll back the Islamic State (ISIS) and restrict its resources and recruits, including airstrikes, armin
Seth Dixon's insight:

This is a non-partisan post and a video that is fairly balanced; this video nicely lays out some of the cultural and political factors that the next president of the United States should consider when crafting foreign policy in the especially problematic Middle East.  

 

Tags: Syria, war, conflict, political, geopolitics, Iraq, devolution, terrorism, ISISMiddle East.

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Why you're probably wrong about levels of immigration in your country

Why you're probably wrong about levels of immigration in your country | Geography Education | Scoop.it
In developed countries around the world, people think immigrant populations are much larger than they actually are.

 

Americans consistently mention immigration as one of the nation’s most pressing political concerns, and it has become a signature issue in the presidential campaign. But while many Americans consider immigration one of the biggest issues for the future president, surveys suggest that they also have little understanding of the scale of the problem. The United States wasn’t alone in this tendency to exaggerate.

 

Tags: migrationstatistics, political.

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Lorraine Chaffer's curator insight, November 3, 2016 2:26 AM

Global challenges: Population 

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Who Likes Whom in The Middle East? Key players & Notable relationships

Who Likes Whom in The Middle East? Key players & Notable relationships | Geography Education | Scoop.it
An interactive network visualisation of key players & notable relationships in the Middle East region. Continually updated. Awesome looking.
Seth Dixon's insight:

News flash:the Middle East is complicated.  In a region where the enemy of an enemy can be your friend, keeping track of local, regional, and global interests can be a staggering proposition.  This flow chart is both incredibly complex, but also aids the user in making sense of the relationships that help to define the region.  

 

Tags: MiddleEast, conflict, political, geopoliticsregions.

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Israeli settlements, explained

"Both sides claim the West Bank as legitimately belonging to them. Over time, and especially as Israeli politics has shifted rightward, the settler movement has become an institutionalized part of Israeli society. Support comes in the form of building permits, public investment, and even incentives for Israelis to move into the West Bank. While peace talks remain frozen, the settlements continue to grow, making any possibility of a Palestinian state in the West Bank faint."

Seth Dixon's insight:

These settlements are considered by most of the international community to be illegal, but since the U.S. has always vetoed sanctions in the UN security council, Israel had never been formally reprimanded.  Just last week, a UN resolution that passed 14-0 (with only the U.S. abstaining) says that Israel’s settlements on Palestinian territory occupied since 1967, including East Jerusalem, have “no legal validity” and demands a halt to “all Israeli settlement activities,” saying this “is essential for salvaging the two-state solution.” 

 

Questions to Ponder: What is the two-state solution?  Who favors this plan?  What are some reasons why the two-state solution is so difficult to achieve?

 

Tags: Israel, Palestine, conflict, borders, territoriality, political, Middle East.

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Norton Antivirus's comment, January 5, 8:54 AM
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kyle.siftar@student.dodea.edu's curator insight, January 6, 10:24 AM
This is an excellent breakdown of the Israeli settlement issue.  This is the 1st video of a 3 part series.  It is both interesting and incredibly informative.
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Amid ISIS and Syria, Let's Not Forget The Quest for Peace In Israel/Palestine

Amid ISIS and Syria, Let's Not Forget The Quest for Peace In Israel/Palestine | Geography Education | Scoop.it
The Israeli-Palestinian conflict has rarely been so far from finding a resolution. Since the cessation of hostilities between Israel and Hamas during the summer of 2014, the desire to seek peace has been diminishing, and instead growing tensions have prevailed, punctuated by stabbings and car-ramming attacks by the Palestinians, and violent acts including arson by the settlers. Yet, the climate has rarely been so favorable to a resolution of the conflict. The chaos that is sweeping the Middle East has been a game-changer in relation to Israel and the Arab countries.
Seth Dixon's insight:

Many Palestinians and Israeli are fearful of a possible breakout of ISIS out of Syria and into Gaza and the West Bank. According to the authors of the op-ed, Europe needs to come together and provide leadership and a plan to enforce so that these issues do not reoccur. The last 17 years have been filled with failed attempts but breaking this cycle of violence is not impossible. 

 

Tagsop-ed, Israel, Palestine, conflict, political, Middle East.

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#RenunciaYa--Quit Already!

#RenunciaYa--Quit Already! | Geography Education | Scoop.it

"Morales will take office in the wake of Guatemala’s worst political crisis in decades, resulting in the resignations of President Otto Pérez Molina, Vice President Roxana Baldetti, and multiple cabinet members—all of whom are now prosecuted for their role in a massive corruption ring."

Seth Dixon's insight:

How does an online movement become a revolution?  Much has been made about how much organizing for the Arab Spring was conducted online, but it still needed old-fashioned protesting, gathering in the streets, and controlling symbolic public spaces to add meaning to their movement.  This podcast shows the behind-the-scenes look at how a small online Facebook group against corruption in Guatemala, not only pulled down their targeted villain (the vice president), but also eroded support for the president that propped up the whole system.

  

Tags: Guatemala, political, podcast, Middle America.

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China installs weapons on contested South China Sea islands

China installs weapons on contested South China Sea islands | Geography Education | Scoop.it
New satellite imagery indicates that China has installed weapon systems on all seven artificial islands it has built in the contested waters of the South China Sea, a move that's likely alarm the country's neighbors.

 

Tags: borders, political, conflict, China, remote sensing, East Asia.

Seth Dixon's insight:

UPDATE: After this news, the Pentagon says a Chinese warship has seized a US Navy underwater drone collecting unclassified data in international waters in the South China Sea.

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Colleen Blankenship's curator insight, January 4, 3:41 PM
With a new president on our horizon, how will this affect our relationship with China?
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Statehood, Politics, and Scale in D.C.

Statehood, Politics, and Scale in D.C. | Geography Education | Scoop.it

"Washington may be the political center of the free world, but its 670,000 residents don’t have a say in the national legislature. What they do have is a nonvoting delegate in the House of Representatives. Eleanor Holmes Norton can introduce legislation and vote in committee, but she can’t vote on the House floor. Over the course of 13 terms, the 'Warrior on the Hill' been fighting to change that."

Seth Dixon's insight:

If you haven't discovered the podcast "Placemakers" you are missing out.  In this episode, they explore the competing political context of Washington D.C. Since this podcast ran, the citizens of the district voted overwhelmingly for statehood, but since the governance of the district operates more at the national scale then on the local level, statehood is not happening anytime soon.  

 

Tagsplace, podcast, political, autonomyscale, Washington DC.

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Kelly Bellar's curator insight, December 13, 2016 4:21 PM

If you haven't discovered the podcast "Placemakers" you are missing out.  In this episode, they explore the competing political context of Washington D.C. Since this podcast ran, the citizens of the district voted overwhelmingly for statehood, but since the governance of the district operates more at the national scale then on the local level, statehood is not happening anytime soon.  

 

Tagsplace, podcast, political, autonomyscale, Washington DC.

Leah Goyer's curator insight, December 14, 2016 1:26 PM
Freedom of speech
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Belgium and the Netherlands Swap Land, and Remain Friends

Belgium and the Netherlands Swap Land, and Remain Friends | Geography Education | Scoop.it
The discovery of a headless corpse in the Netherlands helped Belgium and its bigger Dutch neighbor resolve a property squabble that began in 1961.

 

In a region that has long known geopolitical and linguistic squabbles, and where Belgium has lived in the shadow of its neighbor, the land swap was anything but inevitable. In 1961, when the Meuse was reconfigured to aid navigation, it had the side effect of pushing three pieces of land onto the wrong side of the river. The uninhabited area subsequently gained a reputation for lawlessness, wild parties and prostitution.

 

Tags: borders, political, territoriality, BelgiumNetherlands, unit 4 political, Europe.

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Clinton would have won if the United States looked like the top map

Clinton would have won if the United States looked like the top map | Geography Education | Scoop.it
Can you tell what’s wrong with this map of the United States? I’ll give you a hint: Look near the Great Lakes and the Gulf of Mexico. Spot the problem yet? A further hint: Look at the border of Wisconsin and Illinois as well as the Florida Panhandle. See it now? The Wisconsin-Illinois border is slightly more southern and the Florida Panhandle is slightly shorter.
Seth Dixon's insight:

This mapping application is my favorite discovery after the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election.  The election was obviously very contentious and incredibly close, both in regard to the popular vote as well as the Electoral College.  Using this mapping application, you can re-divide the states of the union by shifting the counties around.  Using the voting patterns based on the county-level data, you can see how your proposed divisions would have impacted the 2016 presidential election. 

There have been many plans on how to divide the 50 states into various regional configurations (50 states of equal population, regions of economic interactions, cultural regions, and the Nine Nations of America), and this is another iteration of that age-old theme. While this isn’t an activity in gerrymandering in the strictest sense (this is not reapportioning within the state based on population change but between states), it shows just how gerrymandering works.  It takes 270 electoral votes to win the presidency, but you could make it a landslide (in either direction) if you manipulate the current state borders.  The highest electoral vote I could engineer for Donald Trump was 407, and the highest electoral total I could manufacture for Hillary Clinton was 402.  The point of this is to show that the balance within and among states can be far more delicate than we might presume.  Just a line here or a line there can dramatically alter the balance of power.        

Activity #1: Try to make this a landslide victory for the Republican Party.  How many electoral votes could you garner for the Republicans? Add a screenshot.

Activity #2: Try to make this a landslide victory for the Democratic Party.  How many electoral votes could you garner for the Democrats? Add a screenshot.

Activity #3: Try to tip the election to the Democrats with the most subtle, minor changes that might go under the radar. Explain your changes to the state map.  Add a screenshot.   

 

Tags: gerrymandering, political, mapping, census, unit 4 political, regionsNorth America.

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Judges Find Wisconsin Redistricting Unfairly Favored Republicans

Judges Find Wisconsin Redistricting Unfairly Favored Republicans | Geography Education | Scoop.it
A federal panel called the 2011 redrawing of Wisconsin Assembly districts an unconstitutional gerrymander, ruling in a case that could go to the Supreme Court.
Seth Dixon's insight:

The redistricting process is far from neutral; to be fair we should remember that gerrymandering is has happened on all ends of the political spectrum, depending on who is charge during the redistricting process.  Which map to you think is the best way to divide these districts?  What is the fairest way to divide them?

 

Tags: gerrymandering, political, mapping, census, unit 4 political.

 

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Election Cartograms

Election Cartograms | Geography Education | Scoop.it

"The states are colored red or blue to indicate whether a majority of their voters voted for the Republican candidate, Donald Trump, or the Democratic candidate, Hillary Clinton, respectively. There is significantly more red on a traditional election maps than there is blue, but that is in some ways misleading: the election was much closer than you might think from the balance of colors, and in fact Clinton won slightly more votes than Trump overall. The explanation for this apparent paradox, as pointed out by many people, is that the map fails to take account of the population distribution. It fails to allow for the fact that the population of the red states is on average significantly lower than that of the blue ones.

We can correct for this by making use of a cartogram, a map in which the sizes of states are rescaled according to their population. That is, states are drawn with size proportional not to their acreage but to the number of their inhabitants, states with more people appearing larger than states with fewer, regardless of their actual area on the ground. On such a map, for example, the state of Rhode Island, with its 1.1 million inhabitants, would appear about twice the size of Wyoming, which has half a million, even though Wyoming has 60 times the acreage of Rhode Island."

 

Tags: electoral, scale, politicaldensity, mapping.

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Maps to change how you think about American voters — especially small-town, heartland white voters

Maps to change how you think about American voters — especially small-town, heartland white voters | Geography Education | Scoop.it
Small towns are as Democratic as big cities. Suburban and rural voters are the Republicans.

 

I have assembled a Web map from precinct-level 2008 election data that allows users to zoom in and out, focus in on specific towns or neighborhoods and superimpose census data on income and race, allowing readers to examine their own favorite postindustrial towns. One of the most striking lessons from exploring these maps is that the red non-metropolitan counties on election-night maps are internally heterogeneous, but always following the same spatial pattern: Democrats are clustered in town centers, along Main Street, and near the courthouses schools, and municipal buildings where workers are often unionized. They live along the old railroad tracks from the 19th century and in the apartment buildings and small houses in proximity to the mills and factories where workers were unionized in an earlier era.

Seth Dixon's insight:

There have been SOOOO many articles about the 2016 election, what happened, why it happened and how particular demographics voted and why.  Most of these articles are highly partisan, or ideologically informed but this just analysis of past spatial voting patterns  (I am waiting for the updated version of these maps to show what happened in 2016--but I'm thinking some of this changed).  Too often we’ve lumped the geography of small towns and rural areas as though they are one and the same.  Too often will only see electoral maps with state-level voting data or possibly county level data; but the sub-county scale reveals what would otherwise be missing in our assessment of electoral, spatial patterns (Scale matters?  Who knew?)

 

Tags: electoral, scale, political, mapping.

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Election maps are telling you big lies about small things

Election maps are telling you big lies about small things | Geography Education | Scoop.it
In 2012, 160 counties cast about the same number of votes as the rest of the country. But, your run-of-the-mill election map won't show you that.
Seth Dixon's insight:

This is nothing new to most visitors to this site, but every four years we have a wonderful teaching moment to show how population density can change our interpretation of a map and the meaning of the data embedded in that map.  In preparation for next week, this article for the Washington Post as well as this one from the New York Times should help get students be better prepared for the onslaught of maps that we know are right around the corner, to properly assess and contextualize the geographic content in these maps.     

 

Tags: electoral, political, mapping.

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Germany reunified 26 years ago, but some divisions are still strong

Germany reunified 26 years ago, but some divisions are still strong | Geography Education | Scoop.it

"While 75 percent of Germans who live in the east said that they considered their country's reunification a success, only half of western Germans agreed. With eastern and western Germans blaming each other for past mistakes over the past two years, that frustration has likely increased. Younger citizens, especially — who do not usually identify themselves with their area of origin as strongly anymore — have grown worried about the persistent skepticism on both sides. But where do those divisions come from? And how different are eastern and western Germany today?"

Seth Dixon's insight:

This series of 10 maps (and 1 satellite image) highlights many of the cultural and economic divisions between East and West, despite efforts to in the last 26 years to smooth out these discrepancies. The social geographies imposed by the Iron Curtain and the Berlin Wall are still being felt from this relic border and will for years to come. 

 

Tags: Germany, industry, laboreconomichistorical, politicalborders.

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Jeremy Hansen's curator insight, November 1, 2016 11:25 AM
Seth Dixon's insight: This series of 10 maps (and 1 satellite image) highlights many of the cultural and economic divisions between East and West, despite efforts to in the last 26 years to smooth out these discrepancies. The social geographies imposed by the Iron Curtain and the Berlin Wall are still being felt from this relic border and will for years to come.