Geography Education
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Geography Education
Supporting geography educators everywhere with current digital resources.
Curated by Seth Dixon
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Before-and-after maps show how freeways transformed America's cities

Before-and-after maps show how freeways transformed America's cities | Geography Education |
Beginning in the 1950s, cities demolished thousands of homes in walkable neighborhoods to make room for freeways.

At the time, this was seen as a sign of progress. Not only did planners hope to help people get downtown more quickly, they saw many of the neighborhoods being torn down as blighted and in need of urban renewal.  But tearing down a struggling neighborhood rarely made problems like crime and overcrowding go away. To the contrary, displaced people would move to other neighborhoods, often exacerbating overcrowding problems. Crime rates rose, not fell, in the years after these projects.  By cutting urban neighborhoods in half, planners undermined the blocks on either side of the freeway. The freeways made nearby neighborhoods less walkable. Reduced foot traffic made them less attractive places for stores and restaurants. And that, in turn, made them even less walkable. Those with the means to do so moved to the suburbs, accelerating the neighborhoods' decline.

Seth Dixon's insight:

Later this month I will be in Cincinnati (pictured above) and will see firsthand some of the urban changes that freeways have had on the landscape, neighborhoods, and the lives of residents.  This article has some "swipe" aerial photography on Cincinnati, Detroit, and Minneapolis for your analysis. 

Tags: urbantransportation, planning, historical, urban models, APHG, neighborhoodCincinnati

MsPerry's curator insight, May 27, 2015 9:34 AM

Urbanization - transportation


Ryan Tibari's curator insight, May 27, 2015 10:16 AM

Industrialization changed not only the physical face of cities, but also the social. Innovations such as highways have caused transportation to become widely easier, allowing people from all different regions of the city to travel easily back and forth from place to place. 

Jill Wallace's curator insight, May 30, 2015 9:41 PM

Maps, Urbanization

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How to Make an Attractive City

We've grown good at making many things in the modern world - but strangely the art of making attractive cities has been lost. Here are some key principles for how to make attractive cities once again.
Seth Dixon's insight:

While we can't objectively measure beauty, in this video from the School of Life, London-based Swiss writer Alain de Botton offers a cheeky, thought-provoking, six-point manifesto on the need for making beauty a priority in urban architecture and design. Alain de Botton feels that tourism can be seen as helpful proxy variable for what the general public perceives as good urbanism that makes for beautiful cities.  The six main points of this article are:

  • Order and Variety
  • Visible Life
  • Compact
  • Orientation and Mystery
  • Scale
  • Local

Tags: urban, planning, urbanism, culturearchitecture, tourism.

Seth Forman's curator insight, May 26, 2015 6:57 PM

Summary: This interesting video talks about principles that should be considered by city planners that could make our life's better and happier.


Insight: This video is relevant  to unit 7 because it shows efforts that should be taken by urban planners and how a simple city layout can effect our lives. 

Emerald Pina's curator insight, May 27, 2015 1:01 AM

This video gives you an overview of how to make the most attractive city in six ways. It explains the reasons and the wants of a city that potential residents are looking for.


This video relates to Unit 7: Cities and Urban Land Use because it talks about the orgin, site and situation a city should have for it to be considered attractive to people. A city should be chaotic/ordered, should have visible life, compact, is should have a nice/mysterious orientation, it should not be too big or too small, and it should be local and lively. Today, many cities lack attractiveness because of the intellectual confusion around beauty and the lack of political will. I totally agree with video and the requirement s to have an attrative city. 

Shane C Cook's curator insight, May 27, 2015 4:17 AM

We definitely need more visually pleasing cities, our world is lacking and we are loosing it to like in the video "corporate opportunists".

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How to fix California's drought problem

How to fix California's drought problem | Geography Education |
California has enough water—that's not the problem, says Terry Tamminen. So here's how you solve the drought crisis.
Seth Dixon's insight:

There is no easy fix to a complex problem such as the water shortage in California.  Some coastal cities are considering desalinization projects while others want to reduce environmental regulations that protect wetland ecosystems to harness all of the freshwater available.  One of the issues is that most of California's precipitation occurs during a very short time frame.  Before the water crisis, these potential flood waters were diverted into concrete management canals but this article advocates to build more underground cisterns to capture excess rainfall before it flows to the ocean.   

Tags: consumptionCalifornia, water, environment, resources, environment dependurban ecology.

"When the well's dry, we know the worth of water." ~Benjamin Franklin

Eden Eaves's curator insight, May 24, 2015 5:50 PM

The sunny state of California does in fact get enough rain fall each year but because storm sewers were built after continuous flooding, all of this rainfall is pushed into the Pacific Ocean rather than where it it needed now.

A solution to the insane drought taking California by storm is to use simple rain barrels to collect water at a typical home and a graded lawn to capture and retain water, allowing it to seep into the ground rather than run off into the streets and eventually into the ocean. 

Lydia Tsao's curator insight, May 25, 2015 2:20 AM

The article relates to irrigation and the conservation efforts discussed in Unit 5. Irrigation has a lot to do with the drought in California because massive amounts of water are being used for agriculture in California, which consists of water-needy fruits and vegetables. There are efforts to try to conserve water by installing rainwater collectors to reuse water instead of just draining usable rainwater to the ocean and rivers. There have also been installations of grey water pipes to reuse for irrigation. Grey water is any water that is flushed down the drain that isn't sewage, such as water from showers or water from washing machines. This way water wouldn't have to be wasted and can be reused.

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Why Do We Love Paris but Hate Frankfurt? Six Qualities of Beautiful Cities

Why Do We Love Paris but Hate Frankfurt? Six Qualities of Beautiful Cities | Geography Education |

"In 'How to Make an Attractive City,' a new video from the School of Life, London-based Swiss writer Alain de Botton offers a cheeky, thought-provoking, six-point manifesto on the need for making beauty a priority in urban architecture and design."

Seth Dixon's insight:

Not everyone is a fan of Paris, but the author of this article feels that tourism can be seen as helpful proxy variable for what the general public perceives as good urbanism that makes for beautiful cities.  The six main points of this article are:

  • Order and Variety
  • Visible Life
  • Compact
  • Orientation and Mystery
  • Scale
  • Local

Tags: urban, planning, urbanism, culture, tourism.

Norka McAlister's curator insight, April 15, 2015 10:07 PM

History is a major attraction to tourists in any city, and Paris seems to have all these requirements to be a good urban city. The variety in architecture that is blended in within past and present structures gives a distinct look and attraction. Planning, of course, would help satisfy public expectations and the variety of culture and color would add to the delightful qualities of the city. Amenities contribute to the diversity of the city and businesses affect the image of culture in the city. 

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The steep costs of living so far apart from each other

The steep costs of living so far apart from each other | Geography Education |
In strictly economic terms, sprawl is inefficient. Spread people out, and it takes them longer to drive where they need to go, and it costs them more in gas money to get there. Disperse a few people over a lot of land, and that land is used inefficiently, too. Then give those people roads and sewers — you’d need a lot more of both to serve 20 households living over a square mile than 20 on the same block. And that's to say nothing of the costs of fire and police service when people live far apart.

These costs add up, in both private budgets and public ones. It’s a messy thought exercise to contemplate tallying them, akin to trying to calculate the productivity America wastes by sitting in traffic every year. How do you measure, for instance, the saved health care costs in a community where many people walk for transportation every day? How do you quantify the pleasure gained from a big yard that offsets any of these costs?

Tags: planning, sprawl, scale.

Dawn Haas Tache's curator insight, April 8, 2015 12:34 PM

APHG- HW Option 6


Cass Allan's curator insight, April 16, 2015 9:46 AM

good for urbanisation or liveability

Lorraine Chaffer's curator insight, June 27, 2015 12:01 AM

Affordability impacts on people's choices about where to live and in turn impacts on access to goods and services, community identity and social connectedness in many outlying suburbs

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The Speed Burden [Costs of Sprawl]

The Speed Burden [Costs of Sprawl] | Geography Education |
The need for speed devours huge chunks of American cities and leaves the edges of the expressways worthless. Busy streets, for almost all of human history, created the greatest real estate value because they delivered customers and clients to the businesses operating there. This in turn cultivated the highest tax revenues in town, both from higher property taxes and from elevated sales taxes. But you can't set up shop on the side of an expressway. How can cities afford to spend so much to create thoroughfares with no adjoining property value?
Seth Dixon's insight:

That is is the ENTIRE city of Florence, Italy on the left, while on the right is the area surrounding just one cloverleaf interchange in Atlanta, Georgia.  The high speed on the highways is one of the costs of sprawl.   

Tags: transportation, planning, sprawl, scale

Alexa Earl's curator insight, March 14, 2015 10:48 AM

This blog really made me realize what an impact humans are to the environment. They compare different cities and talk about the impacts and it really showed me how humans have built up cities.

Brian Wilk's curator insight, March 21, 2015 6:12 PM

A side by side comparison at first blush is striking but the devil is in the details. Florence, Italy is a city of only 368,000 while the Atlanta metro area is about 4.5 million. Agree that sprawl is ineffective real estate and efficiency wise, but fuel prices may be having a counter effect on the reduction of sprawl. It is much less expensive to commute given the price of oil at its current levels and the millennials will have a say in this urban sprawl contracting or expanding. Many do not own cars, relying on commuter systems within the city to get around. This in theory should drive down demand for fossil fuels, culminating in reduced prices for gasoline. If the infrastructure is already built, was is the cost to maintain it, given the static population of the large metro areas? Interesting to see how this plays out.

Kristina Lemson's curator insight, April 16, 10:38 PM
This post is interesting for us given the massive Mitchell Freeway and Wanneroo Rd  development just north of Banksia Grove. How do you think this perspective adds to the issues you could discuss in your project report? 
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University Re-Imagines Town And Gown Relationship In Philadelphia

University Re-Imagines Town And Gown Relationship In Philadelphia | Geography Education |
Drexel University is taking a hands-on approach to redeveloping one of Philadelphia's poorest neighborhoods with a new center designed to serve not just students but mainly local residents.
Seth Dixon's insight:

This NPR podcast shows a good example of an urban revitalization project that is actively trying to avoid following the gentrification path.  Growing colleges can unintentionally displace longtime residents, but this project is about preserving the cultural fabric of the neighborhood and building good will in the community. 

Tags: neighborhoodpodcast, gentrificationurban, place, culture, economicracepoverty.

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11 Signs Your Hood Is Being Gentrified

11 Signs Your Hood Is Being Gentrified | Geography Education |
A Washington, D.C., resident describes the changes and privilege that have moved into her longtime neighborhood.

Tags: neighborhood, gentrificationurban, place, culture, economicWashington DC.

Emily Bian's curator insight, March 22, 2015 8:48 PM

7) Uneven development, zones of abandonment, disamenity, and gentrification

This article was written by a woman who noticed a lot of changes in Washington D.C. Gentrification led to these many changes, by becoming not as unique and urbanizing at other people's expense. She describes gentrification as remodeling very quickly and ferociously. A lot of the things she says are for the general good of the people, like installing street lights, but don't take into consideration the people who don't appreciate the changes. Stores like walmart are taking over the family owned stores, and more people are moving in. 

This article describes gentrification perfectly, and I like her pictures to go along with it. I think this would help introduce this vocab term to new students. 

Lydia Tsao's curator insight, March 24, 2015 12:29 AM

Sadly, gentrification happens all across the world. Poor populations in cities are disadvantaged and often have to move out due to wealthier populations moving in. One of the signs I found most disturbing was that police will start patrolling the areas where wealthier and poorer populations mix. This is a sad reality. Police do this to ensure that crime rates are low as poor people would be more tempted to commit crimes in wealthier neighborhoods. I do think this police patrolling has racist roots since the poorer population in Washington D.C. is mostly black. Words like "renewal" and "redevelopment" hide the sad reality behind gentrification/

Ricardo Cabeza de Vaca's curator insight, May 25, 2015 9:36 PM

I believe this article is very interesting because it shows how gentrification can change a neighborhood. I believe gentrification is a little bit of a negative thing because it adds geographical uniformity to our modern society and yes that could be good thing in measure. The article states now police patrol every street, Walmart's and 7-11's start showing up, areas will start becoming more aesthetically pleasing, but is that really a good thing? I believe that sometimes while you are driving by it is better to have a change in your surrounding, rather than seeing the same thing over and over again even if it is more modern.

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The United Bike Lanes of America

The United Bike Lanes of America | Geography Education |
What do America's bike paths look like from coast coast and how do bike lanes in cities stack up?

Tags: transportation, planning.

Michael Mazo's curator insight, December 13, 2014 1:50 PM

With the rise in gas emissions, everyone is trying to make a stride towards reducing this effect and cleaning up our society. One way in particular is using a bike to get to work. Although it may not seem like something we are used to, it is definitely something we should start getting used to. Looking at this map of the bike lanes in america we see a large amount of the west coast and east coast dedicated towards pushing the issue so that bikes become more prevalent. In theory using bikes will not only reduce emission but it makes for a healthier human body by exerting physical activity instead of sitting back and cruising your way to work. To my knowledge if we try for pushing the issue with more bikes then we are also helping our environment 

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Industrial Revolution--Urban Game

Industrial Revolution--Urban Game | Geography Education |

"Each student should have a large piece of butcher block paper (15x20).  They should use a pencil for this activity (color pencils are optional). Using the template provided, each student should make their own template.  It is crucial that size for each of the 'characters' in the city be the same. As you read each of the Rounds, your pace should increase so that by Round 15 the students will only have a short time to draw their buildings."

Seth Dixon's insight:

In this game, you simulate the industrial revolution and have your students design a village that, after 20 rounds of the simulation, will grow to a full-fledged city.  Various teachers have adapted the rules for this game and here are some variants that are saved as a standard webpage, Microsoft Word file, PDF, Powerpoint and Prezi formats. 

Tags: urban, planning, industry, economichistorical.

jada_chace's curator insight, January 12, 2015 9:49 AM

Playing the game allows students to make their own villages and plan how their industries will work. As they start to build their own town they have to consider where to place the stores and where to place the factories. Putting these structures into certain places can affect the student’s town.

Emily Bian's curator insight, May 22, 2015 9:44 AM

This was the game we played in class!!!

I really enjoyed this game and highly recommend it to future APHUG students because it was fun, informative, and FUN. It really helped me understand how England got really crowded all of the sudden due to the Industrial Revolution. It was a sudden urban sprawl with no  urban planning. My map/ city was a complete mess! 

I hope this game continues to be played as it is a fun introduction to the chaos of the Industrial Revolution. 

Campbell Ingraham's curator insight, May 25, 2015 2:57 PM

We played this game in our APHUG class. It really simulated how urban development exploded in the industrial revolution. It gives an explanation as to why urban planners at the time had poor design choices because they had little time to plan. They also didn't account for future population growth or new developments in technology. It really shows why today's older cities have poorer designs and more traffic. 


This article relates to the Industrial Revolution. It shows the population explosions which occurred as a result and the increased technology during the time. All of these factors of the industrial revolution in England contributed to the quick and poorly designed English cities which led to population overflow. These city planners could not have predicted what would happen or how to plan for more people. They also limited time, money, and resources, as the population just continued to grow and grow. 

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If Roads Were Like Bike Lanes

If Roads Were Like Bike Lanes | Geography Education |
For those brief moments that you happen to be in a bike lane, biking in the city is wonderful. But it always seems that bike lanes end before they even begin, just like a summer romance or a slice ...
Seth Dixon's insight:

It's just a joke, but good comedy has a nugget of truth that shines a light on the inconsistencies of the human experience.  This really highlights the priorities given to various modes of transportation as we allocate public space for them. 

Tags: transportation, planning.

No comment yet.
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Using Google Earth to Track Down Criminals

Authorities use Google Earth to crack down on illegal activities.
Seth Dixon's insight:

This is an old clip, but a useful platform to discuss the ethics involved in using geospatial technologies, the expectations of privacy and issues of governance.  This could also be used to discuss urban political geography and principles of planning.  What are the limits to the legal and ethical uses of technologies?

Tags: google, mapping, geospatial.

Giselle Figueroa's curator insight, September 28, 2014 8:19 PM

I think this is a good tool to the authorities to keep a eye on criminal people. Some people may feel that some one is always watching you because of these, but lets see the good side, this could help the police to find criminals or illegals activities. In my opinion these is a good idea.

Jacob Crowell's curator insight, October 27, 2014 11:51 AM

Using geographic technology to catch criminals seems like a great use of technology in the digital age. But this is a massive breach of privacy on a global scale. Now with satellite imagery, there is fewer and fewer geographic factors that allow for privacy. No longer can someone move into the woods for solitude, in the past geography could be used as a way to isolate oneself from others, now with technology like "google earth", the globe has become easier to monitor all landscapes and areas. People will have to ask themselves how much they are willing to sacrifice in terms of security. If being monitored everywhere you go means less dangerous activities taking place it may be worth the risk, but we are putting a lot of faith in the fact that those in charge of these technologies will use them responsibly. 

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Squatters on the Skyline

"Facing a mounting housing shortage, squatters have transformed an abandoned skyscraper in downtown Caracas into a makeshift home for more than 2,500 people."

Seth Dixon's insight:

This video is one of my favorites in my placed-based geography videos collection.  This skyscraper was once a symbol of wealth, and in an incredible paradigm shift, it 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. This NY Times article from 2011 still shows some great concepts on why informal housing develops and this PRI podcast gives us a 2014 update--that the Venezuelan government plans to clear the Tower of its residents.  

Tags: Venezuela, South America, squatter, urban, planning, density, urbanism, unit 7 cities.

Kristin Mandsager San Bento's curator insight, March 5, 2015 2:13 PM

The squatters have made their own community complete with services and mini marts.  This tells me there is not enough affordable housing if the people of Caracas are willing to live in dangerous conditions.  Caracas government needs to build affordable housing or create better paying jobs so the citizens can spend the money in the community.  Its a cycle that needs everyone's participation to work to build a sustaining economy.  

Gene Gagne's curator insight, October 15, 2015 1:42 PM

I found this article interesting

Gene Gagne's curator insight, November 22, 2015 10:57 AM

we have talked about this in class. These people have learned to adapt and find ways to use electricity, running water. We have seen videos of other cities in countries with electrical cables and sewage water out in the open and people find ways to tap into it. The building reminds me of the abandon mills in R.I. where homeless people frequent to beat the harsh elements and sleep at night. They build small fires and use different areas for bathroom visits. The difference is our brick unoccupied mills find a way to catch fire and the city levels them to the ground. This is definitely unsafe but goes to show when you have no place to live its amazing how people find ways to survive and kind of build their own community. What I found disturbing is the people outside the neighborhood angry because the squatters took over the building. All of a sudden they complained about the safety of the squatters when in all reality they are safer because they are acting as a self community and know they need each other to survive. If the government or city officials or citizens of the neighborhood are that concerned then they can find a way to fix up the building.

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Austin, then and now

Austin, then and now | Geography Education |

"Drag or swipe the slider to see how Austin's downtown skyline has changed over time."

Tags: urban, planning, urbanism.

Michael Amberg's curator insight, May 26, 2015 10:29 PM

This can show how quickly areas can develop if giving the right economic opportunities and a strong government.  

Quentin Sylvester's curator insight, May 27, 2015 12:21 AM

A wave of New Urbanism has spread through Austin, with downtown growth, especially in high-rises on the rapid increase over the past decade as demand for high-price residences downtown rises with the influx of young and educated people into the city.

MsPerry's curator insight, May 27, 2015 9:35 AM

Services & Urbanization-CBD

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Ethiopia tests Sub-Saharan Africa's first light rail system

Ethiopia is due to launch a light rail transit system later this year, the first of its kind in Sub-Saharan Africa.
Seth Dixon's insight:

This is a very encouraging accomplishment; from Lagos to Nairobi, similar projects are now being considered. 

Tags: Ethiopia, Africa, development. transportation, planning, urban.

Gene Gagne's curator insight, November 4, 2015 4:05 PM

Finally something positive.

Raymond Dolloff's curator insight, December 14, 2015 11:59 PM

As Africa, namely Sub-Saharan Africa, lacks the technology that is required to develop and maintain this type of transportation is a great start. Time shows that if a country is given a decent amount of time to develop something good will come to it. Advances in technology today make it easier for development to happen, but once again it comes down to the ease of access to this technology in order to properly develop this and maintain it at all times.

Patty B's curator insight, February 11, 4:40 PM

The fact that Ethopia just recently opened its first railway of this nature is extremely good news for Ehtopia and the Sub-Saharan region as a whole. It marks economic and industrial progress and brings the region further into the globalized economy and society. The 20th century was one of great inequalities and vast superpowers asserting dominance and becoming extremely wealthy. I think in recent times (like the past decade or two) we have witnessed more “third-world” countries make great strides toward establishing democratic, semi-capitalistic, industrialized, modernized, and prosperous governments. But in another light, I think the news still represents, in a way, the fact that such a great gap really does exist throughout the world between the rich and the poor. This gap not only exists on an individual scale, but as this news shows, between nations as well. This great news for Ethiopia is something that happened in the U.S. a century ago. And the news is certainly good for Ethiopia and the rest of the world, and it is great news for proponents for more equal wealth distribution. But it ultimately does show that there is a long way to go until we figure out how to solve the issue of poverty across the world. 

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The 9 Worst-Designed Cities in the World

The 9 Worst-Designed Cities in the World | Geography Education |

"To get to the bottom of what qualifies as 'badly designed,' we picked the brains of several urban planners to highlight the flaws of some of the world's biggest cities. In the end, that birthed a list of nine cities that, for various reasons, are gigantic messes in some way or another."

On the list: Jakarta, Dubai, Atlanta, Naypyidaw, São Paulo, Boston, Brasilia, Missoula and Dhaka. 

Tags: urban, planning, urbanism.

Shane C Cook's curator insight, May 27, 2015 5:46 AM

Reading about these different cities makes me cringe. Either the rich is priority, politicians are priority, or traffic is insane to the point going to the grocery store for milk will cost you two hours in traffic.

Ryan Tibari's curator insight, May 27, 2015 10:12 AM

Reflection of development. Sometimes commercialization in less developed or developing countries causes issues due to lack of finances when trying to industrialize the region. This poses problems such as the ones described in the article. 

christian's curator insight, May 27, 2015 12:01 PM

Unit 6: urban land use 

This article is mainly about how bad some of the worlds urban areas are. The article shows and explains why they are bad and also why they were even designed in the way that they were. One example is Brasilia, which, was designed to have a population of 500,000, instead it has a population of about 3 million.

This article ties into unit 6 by showing some of the worst urban areas throughout the world. And also why they were even designed to be a CBD.

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Egypt's New Capital?

Egypt's New Capital? | Geography Education |

The teeming, maddening, and indescribably charming city of Cairo has served as Egypt's capital for 1,000 years. When it emerged it was perhaps the most important cultural center in the Arab world.

But the city's days as Egypt's capital could be numbered. On Friday, the Egyptian government announced that the country will build a new capital from scratch, carving out a piece of the desert between Cairo and the Suez Canal. The project, which is being dubbed "the Capital Cairo," is slated to cost an estimated $45 billion and host Egypt's sprawling government bureaucracy, universities, tourism facilities, hospitals, and a new international airport.

Seth Dixon's insight:

The Egyptian government has announced plans to replace Cairo as the capital city with a new city built to its east--this article argues that the money would be better spent elsewhere.  This is a good case-study to use when discussing forward capitals, but I think that Egyptian officials need to seriously consider the example of the manufactured capital city of Naypyidaw in Burma before building this forward capital. 

Tags: forward capital Egypt, urbanpolitical, urbanism, APHG.

Lydia Tsao's curator insight, May 26, 2015 12:01 AM

I think it is really interesting that Egypt is thinking about building a completely brand new city. It just shows how much risk the country is willing to take on this very lucrative project that will cost more than sixth of the country's GDP. If the country succeeds, then it will face an amazing influx of capital and resources that is unprecedented. If the country fails, then it will be one of the worst financial investments to plague the country and will haunt the country for decades to come. Distrust in government fiscal responsibility will decline tremendously. This article demonstrates the forces that are compelling the Egyptian government to drive urbanization in undeveloped areas. Desperate times call for desperate measures.

Evan Margiotta's curator insight, May 26, 2015 7:25 PM

This announcement of a new capital city, announced in March of 2015, acts as a part of a inclusive plan aimed at revitalizing the economy and influence of Egypt. In a goal to escape the congestion, pollution, and  sprawl of Cairo, the Egypt government has it aims at 45 billion dollar project. If/when completed the new city will aim at sustainable development and include 2,000 new schools, a new massive international airport, and be about the size of Singapore. 

This situation applies to many principles in human geography. The problems created by overpopulation are evident in Cairo, and it is necessary for this new capital to follow a system of sustainable development to avoid the same problems.

Michael Amberg's curator insight, May 26, 2015 10:53 PM

This shows the development of the world and how now "poorer" countries are beginning to plan out big cities of their own.

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Unkind Architecture: Designing Against the Homeless

Unkind Architecture: Designing Against the Homeless | Geography Education |

"Defensive architecture is revealing on a number of levels, because it is not the product of accident or thoughtlessness, but a thought process. It is a sort of unkindness that is considered, designed, approved, funded and made real with the explicit motive to exclude and harass. It reveals how corporate hygiene has overridden human considerations…"

Seth Dixon's insight:

Geography explores more than just what countries control a certain territory and what landforms are there.  Geography explores the spatial manifestations of power and how place is crafted to fit a particular vision.  Homeless people are essentially always 'out of place.'  These articles from the Society Pagesthe Atlantic and this one from the Guardian share similar things: that urban planners actively design places that will discourage loitering which is undesirable to local businesses.  This gallery shows various defensive architectural tactics to make certain people feel 'out of place.'  Just to show that not all urban designs are anti-homeless, this bench is one that is designed to help the homeless (and here is an ingenious plan to curb public urination).       

Tags: urbanplanning, architecture, landscape, place, poverty.

Norka McAlister's curator insight, April 5, 2015 7:58 PM

The government should try to develop better methods to keep homeless out of the street. Planning and designating a place to the homeless group by offering better conditions, will change the problem.  As the architects have new ideas to resolve a problem with the homeless, they should also be formulating ideas to prevent homelessness such as providing feasible shelter on the street. Part of the problem is that shelters should be marketed in the communities. Local businesses, policies and general communities could be more active in helping these minority groups to get aid and better their life. Cities should provide more programs and aid for the homeless group. 

Eden Eaves's curator insight, May 24, 2015 8:07 PM

These structures such as benches with dividers that make it impossible to lie down, spikes and protrusions on window ledges and in front of store windows, forests of pointed cement structures under bridges and freeways, emissions of high pitched sounds, and sprinklers that intermittently go off on sidewalks to prevent camping overnight are very rude and without a shadow of a doubt send a message to the homeless that they aren't welcomed, and we will do whatever it takes to make sure they cannot be comfortable; even something as simple as sitting on a windowsill.  

Logan Haller's curator insight, May 25, 2015 7:11 PM

This article deals with unit 7 because it discusses architecture and new  things in cities. In some cities they have defensive architecture to make it harder for homeless people to live. For example benches with dividers, and pointed cement structures under bridges. This tells the homeless they are unwanted and that others don't care about them.Some corporations have turned to aggressive ways to keep out homeless and the article says the government is denying it. In addition there are few resources to help the homeless and what they do have is insufficient. It also notes that free shelters are very rare. The author says that we should worry a little more about the homeless because "given just the right turn of events, it could happen to us."

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With Porches And Parks, A Texas Community Aims For Urban Utopia

With Porches And Parks, A Texas Community Aims For Urban Utopia | Geography Education |
Austin's Mueller neighborhood is a new-urbanist dream, designed to be convivial, walkable and energy-efficient. Every house has a porch or stoop, and all the cars are hidden away.

After moving here, respondents said, they spend an average of 90 fewer minutes a week in the car, and most reported higher levels of physical activity.  The poll results seem to validate new-urbanist gospel: good design, like sidewalks, street lighting, extensive trails and parkland, can improve social and physical health.  Part II: A Texas Community Takes on Racial Tensions Once Hidden Under The Surface.

Tagshousing, urban, planning, urbanism, unit 7 cities, neighborhoodpodcast.

zane alan berger's curator insight, March 24, 2015 4:37 PM

This article focuses on an Austin community with a Utopian atmosphere. Beginning the construction in 2007, Mueller neighborhoods are very uniform; two story, two car garage in the back, and a porch in the front. This article refers to Urbanization

Sreya Ayinala's curator insight, May 26, 2015 7:54 PM

Unit 7 Urban

      The article describes the master planned community of Mueller. Mueller is filled with parks and green spaces. In addition, every house has a porch and a garage in the back of the house to encourage communication between people and neighbors. Also everything is located close together so it is very easy to walk to the store instead of driving. Many houses employ solar panels for their energy and use fuel efficient hybrid cars.

       Located centrally near downtown Austin this community was based on the concepts of new urbanism and uses effective and efficient methods to create a healthy and fresh neighborhood for both the people and the environment.  New Urbanism is a concept which counters urban sprawl with urban revitalizations, sustainable development, and suburban reforms. The communities following the principles of New Urbanism are often designed compactly to promote a sense of community and place. 

Shane C Cook's curator insight, May 27, 2015 6:24 AM

The Mueller community was developed from an old airport. I had the chance to visit this community on an APHUG field trip because it was so close. We were able to see the reasons why the community was developed and learned about innovated communities.

Scooped by Seth Dixon!

The ghastly tragedy of the suburbs

The ghastly tragedy of the suburbs | Geography Education |
In James Howard Kunstler's view, public spaces should be inspired centers of civic life and the physical manifestation of the common good. Instead, he argues, what we have in America is a nation of places not worth caring about.
Seth Dixon's insight:

Kunstler passionately argues that American architecture and urban planning are not creating public places that encourage interaction and communal engagement.  We should create more distinct places that foster a sense of place that is 'worth fighting for,' as opposed to suburbia which he sees as emblematic of these problems. 

Question to Ponder: How should we design cities to create a strong sense of place?  What elements are necessary?  Warning: He uses some strong language.  

Tagsurban, planning architecture, suburbs, TED, video.

Kevin Barker's curator insight, January 21, 2015 9:02 AM

This could become something of a fixation for me.  Plano TX is seen on many levels of a great suburban city but here is one way it is lacking most.

Linda Denty's curator insight, February 3, 2015 5:41 PM
Strong language used in this!
Zeke Robinson's curator insight, May 26, 2015 9:23 PM

i disagree with this guy, for suburbs bring us close and save space and its good that we have them.

Scooped by Seth Dixon!

Visualizing Urban Change

Visualizing Urban Change | Geography Education |

"60 years has made a big difference in the urban form of American cities. The most rapid change occurred during the mid-century urban renewal period that cleared large tracts of urban land for new highways, parking, and public facilities or housing projects. Fine-grained networks of streets and buildings on small lots were replaced with superblocks and megastructures. While the period did make way for impressive new projects in many cities, many of the scars are still unhealed.  We put together these sliders to show how cities have changed over half a century. In this post, we look at Midwestern cities such as [pictured above] Cincinnati, Ohio."

Seth Dixon's insight:

It's ironic that I feel more accustomed to exploring Cincinnati, OH on foot than I do Providence, RI.  Although I drive in downtown Providence regularly, I seldom have a reason to walk and explore it.  In my yearly visits to Cincinnati to score the AP Human Geography exams, I'm outside my hometown and away from my typical routine. That helps me feel more like a flâneur, to stroll the streets and explore the urban landscape.  This set of 7 before and after images shows Midwestern cities (Cincinnati, Detroit, St. Louis, Minneapolis, Milwaukee, Indianapolis, Cleveland, and Columbus) lets you digitally analyze the last 70 years of urban morphology.  Click here for a gallery 7 of cities in Texas and Oklahoma

Questions to Ponder: What are the biggest changes you see for the 1950 to today?  How are the land uses difference?  Has the density changed?  Do any of urban models help us understand these cities?

Tags: urban, planning, industry, economichistorical, geospatial, urban models, APHG.

Rich Schultz's curator insight, January 2, 2015 5:52 PM

Very useful!

Sierra_Mcswagger's curator insight, March 10, 2015 10:22 AM

In the above picture of Cincinnati, Ohio it is clear how much change American cities have undergone in 60 years. In the process of urban renewal these cities have been affected tremendously with the addition of new roads, businesses, and most likely the turning of land over to private developers. All previous land has been renovated and changed into the typical urbanized American city. S.S.

Scooped by Seth Dixon!

The surprising math of cities and corporations

"Physicist Geoffrey West has found that simple, mathematical laws govern the properties of cities — that wealth, crime rate, walking speed and many other aspects of a city can be deduced from a single number: the city's population. In this mind-bending talk from TEDGlobal he shows how it works and how similar laws hold for organisms and corporations."

Seth Dixon's insight:

While corporations rise and fall, it is quite rare for a city to entirely fail as an economic system.  Huge cities have some negative consequences, but the networks that operate in the city function more efficiently on economies of scale in a way that offsets the negatives.  Increasing a city's population will continue to improve the economies of scale (larger cities have higher wages per capita, more creative employment per capita, etc.).  However, this growth requires major technological innovations to sustain long-term growth.  


Tagsurban, planningmegacities, industry, economic, scaleTED, video.

Built 4 Betterness Ed van den Berg's curator insight, December 14, 2014 3:17 PM

Not surprisingly the DNA of cities is a follow-up of human DNA and understanding this will explain and predict how the body of a city will develop!

SRA's curator insight, April 16, 2015 2:10 AM

The idea that cities are just organisms that are satisfying the laws of biology is interesting. Especially because Physicist Geoffrey West brings the idea of Scalability which by definition is, the ability of a system, network, or process to handle a growing amount of work in a capable manner or its ability to be enlarged to accommodate that growth. What’s mind blowing to me is that the system that is referred to here is human interaction.  We create these cities through our interaction and experience. With a growth rate of 1,000,000 people every year the math adds up to an agreeable 15% rise in income levels, patents, and super creative people every year which is undoubted a win for civilization and society. But with that we must keep in mind also this means a 15% increase in things like deadly disease, crime, poverty, and ecological issues leading to further degradation of our planet. This unbounded growth means the system is destined to collapse. The math behind cities doesn't lie if we don’t prepare cities have a fate to die like every other organism in Biology. So it is up to us to create and innovate to sustain this growth and avoid the collapse. But we must do so at a forever increasing pace. Which subsequently is also part of another system predetermined to collapse. What I mean is what happens when we cannot innovate fast enough to sustain this growth?

- Caleb Beckett

BrianCaldwell7's curator insight, April 5, 8:14 AM

While corporations rise and fall, it is quite rare for a city to entirely fail as an economic system.  Huge cities have some negative consequences, but the networks that operate in the city function more efficiently on economies of scale in a way that offsets the negatives.  Increasing a city's population will continue to improve the economies of scale (larger cities have higher wages per capita, more creative employment per capita, etc.).  However, this growth requires major technological innovations to sustain long-term growth.  


Tags: urban, planning, megacities, industry, economic, scale, TED, video.

Scooped by Seth Dixon!

This brilliant illustration shows how much public space we've surrendered to cars

This brilliant illustration shows how much public space we've surrendered to cars | Geography Education |
How lopsided the the proportions of an urban street corner really are.

Most roads in the US are built for cars, not for pedestrians. Whether we're happy or unhappy with this, most of us are aware of it.

But this brilliant illustration, made by Swedish artist Karl Jilg and commissioned by the Swedish Road Administration, shows just how extreme the situation truly is — even in an urban business district that's designed with pedestrians in mind. 

Tags: urban, transportation, planning, art.

Suggested by Thomas Schmeling!

5 Key Themes Emerging From the 'New Science of Cities'

5 Key Themes Emerging From the 'New Science of Cities' | Geography Education |
In the most innovative incubators of urban research, the lessons of Jane Jacobs are more vital than ever.

In the past few years, a remarkable body of scientific research has begun to shed new light on the dynamic behavior of cities, carrying important implications for city-makers. Researchers at cutting-edge hubs of urban theory like the University College London and the Santa Fe Institute have been homing in on some key properties of urban systems—and contradicting much of today's orthodoxy. Their findings have begun to feed into recent and upcoming gatherings on the future of cities—including lead-in events for the U.N.'s big 2016 Habitat III conference on sustainable development—and arming leaders in the field with new ammunition in the global battle against sprawl.

Tags: density, urbanism, housing, urban, planning, unit 7 cities, labor.

Scooped by Seth Dixon!

America is rapidly aging in a country built for the young

America is rapidly aging in a country built for the young | Geography Education |

"Although we seldom think about them this way, most American communities as they exist today were built for the spry and mobile. We've constructed millions of multi-story, single-family homes where the master bedroom is on the second floor, where the lawn outside requires weekly upkeep, where the mailbox is a stroll away. We've designed neighborhoods where everyday errands require a driver's license. We've planned whole cities where, if you don't have a car, it's not particularly easy to walk anywhere — especially not if you move gingerly.

This reality has been a fine one for a younger country. Those multi-story, single-family homes with broad lawns were great for Baby Boomers when they had young families. And car-dependent suburbs have been fine for residents with the means and mobility to drive everywhere. But as the Baby Boomers whose preferences drove a lot of these trends continue to age, it's becoming increasingly clear that the housing and communities we've built won't work very well for the old."

Seth Dixon's insight:

Population change is frequently a concern of city planners at the local level.  This article shows that major demographic shifts are going to mean major changes in our patterns in our cities as we become a 'greying' society. 

Tagsurban, unit 7 cities, housing, sprawlneighborhood, planning, densityplanning, declining populations, population, demographic transition model, USA.

Alexandra Piggott's curator insight, October 18, 2014 6:48 PM

This is also an issue in Australia where the overwhelming majority of people live in single story dwellings and are very car reliant.

Joshua Mason's curator insight, January 28, 2015 8:59 PM

I can definitely see this as a real problem. Both my Uncle and my Great Uncle moved their condos from ones that had numerous steps to climb to the second floor to more elder-friendly options. My Great Uncle even went a step further to move him and his wife to a senior living community, where there food, entertainment, etc. is all provided within an enclosed neighbourhood with other people of their age group. More of these communities that act like oversized retirement homes could be the answer. They give the illusion of suburban living, something the baby boomers liked, while providing the accessibility they need.

Dawn Haas Tache's curator insight, April 8, 2015 12:27 PM

APHG- HW Option 1