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Geography Education
Geography Education
Global news with a spatial perspective: Interesting, current supplemental materials for geography students and teachers. http://geographyeducation.org
Curated by Seth Dixon
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Public Spaces Worth Caring About...

http://www.ted.com In James Howard Kunstler's view, public spaces should be inspired centers of civic life and the physical manifestation of the common good....

 

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

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Mary Burke's comment, April 15, 2013 9:24 AM
I appreciate what this guy is saying. I wish we could build places worth caring about. We need more people like Mr Kunstler. But I don't things are as bleak as he depicts. He picked some of the ugliest places there are. We do need a sense of place. Right now we get that in our homes. I think what Mr Kunstler is talking about is a community based sense of place that could be created just with the kind of buildings we make in the space. Maybe we could create a friendly atmosphere with well designed buildings. We need to start somewhere to make people not so afraid of each other.
Kenny Dominguez's curator insight, December 11, 2013 9:44 PM

Everyone in the world should care about places if it is small or not known but a place has it own character that some people enjoy while other do not want to know about. Every place has it significance that many people have not noticed because they are blinded to it. People should really have an open mind when it comes down to experiencing new places and learn about its history or anything that you did not know about it.

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NPR: Saudi Women Drive Change Despite Mixed Signals

NPR: Saudi Women Drive Change Despite Mixed Signals | Geography Education | Scoop.it
Authorities continue to go after women who flout Saudi Arabia's ban on female drivers, but King Abdullah has pledged to give women more political power in the coming years.


This article focuses on public space and differentiated cultural norms that created deeply gendered spaces that are onerous to navigate. Gender, Place and Culture are all intertwined.   

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Gender Divisions in Iran

Gender Divisions in Iran | Geography Education | Scoop.it

For my non-Farsi speaking readers, this map displays a 'male' province and a 'female' province.  These two provinces are separated by barbed wire, 20-meter trench and the Great Wall of China with ground-to-air missiles.  

 

While not a "cartographically accurate" map of the divisions within Iran, it does symbolically highlight the enormous gulf between men and women.  Men and women are not in separate provinces, but what might the symbolic spatial gender division on this map represent for Iranian society? 

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Rebecca Farrea's curator insight, October 31, 2013 7:20 AM

Although this is not an accurate map of real divisions within Iran, the map does pose as a symbolic representation of the gap between men and women in the country.  Even though men and women are not forced to live in separate provinces within Iran, it sure does seem like they do based on the vast difference in rights between the two genders.

Joseph Thacker 's curator insight, April 4, 4:41 PM

Most countries throughout history had some type of gender division. It appears countries such as Iran and Saudi Arabia are still treating women as second-class citizens and are not giving them any opportunities to be successful. It may take another 100 years before they are treated like men. Some countries take longer to modernize, and Iran appears to be an example of that.  

Amy Marques's curator insight, April 24, 11:01 AM

I think this picture shows how Iranian society thinks and operates. There is an entirely different set of rules, ideals, and codes men and women follow in their society. Women are typically held inside, wear head coverings, are not allowed to be in the public sector unless accompanied by a man or her husband. This map isn't real, but it does show that if they were in separate provinces, there would be a gender division that could spring a revolution for women to be educated and empowered, and it could also hurt the economy because ultimately a society needs women to have children to ensure there is a workforce.

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Insecure Space and Precarious Geographies

Insecure Space and Precarious Geographies | Geography Education | Scoop.it

This is an intriguing look into security, terrorism, politics and the city.  The most interesting places are often the most unconventional and places like Jerusalem with it's geopolitical importance, makes for a very compelling urban landscape. 

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'Geographical Oddity'

Partly just because I love this highly quotable movie with an incredible soundtrack, but this short clip can start be a good conversation starter.  I'm hoping to use it when discussing relative location (or isolation) as well as the space-time compression.  I ask my student how far away they live from campus and invariably they answer with a unit of time (even though distance was implied in the question).  Why answer with time when discussing distance?  What technologies are dependent on our temporal analysis of distance? How would our perception of distance change based on our access to transportation and communication technologies?       

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Richie Sowa's Man Made Island

Bringing a whole new meaning to the terms "your own private island" and the "creation of place."  An intriguing hook for discussing human and environmental interactions and what resources are needed to sustain life.   

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Seth Dixon's comment, November 4, 2011 7:52 AM
Thanks to "LF ric" for this link...super cool and something I would have never dreamed of (but wish I did).
Lisa Fonseca's comment, November 8, 2011 7:03 PM
Love this video! I think this is amazing!
Michael Aria Mosaffa's comment, February 20, 2013 7:36 PM
this is quite amazing and remarkable! But how does he use the restroom, does he like squat ovoer the edge or something? Or how does he get purified water? How does he get meat? Does he know how to make a fire without a match? How does he get enough food for him, 2 cats, a dog, 2 chickens, and a duck? Besides those questions I think he is a brilliant mad-man!
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Ground Zero "mosque" opens without protests

Ground Zero "mosque" opens without protests | Geography Education | Scoop.it
The proposed construction of an Islamic center near Ground Zero in New York caused outrage when it was announced two years ago. Now days after the 10-year anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the facility opened last night to no opposition.

 

This is an intriguing swing based on the initial reaction a few years ago about this Islamic cultural center.  Why the fervor 2 years ago?  Why the silence now?  These are worthwhile questions to explore with our students. 

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Emma Lafleur's curator insight, February 3, 2013 8:02 PM

I wrote an essay two years ago, before Park51 opened, about the controversy surrounding it. Later, when I heard that it had finally opened, I was relieved. There were so many problems that the Islamic center faced because there was a lot of tension due to the center's proximity to Ground Zero. The Muslims need a place like this, especially close to Ground Zero to portray how it was terrorist groups that committed the terrible crimes and attacked the country and not the Islamic religion. In recent history, the US has had many problems with many Middle Eastern countries based on differences in beliefs, and the acceptance and tolerance of this cultural center portray how people can overcome these differences and not profile people based on religion, race, and ethnicity.

Meagan Harpin's curator insight, September 12, 2013 6:47 PM

In my opinion trying to stop the building of this was awful. American prides itself on being the land of the free and that includes freedom of religion regardless of what the horror that took place on 9/11. What was done on 9/11 can not be blamed on a whole population, race, or religion when it was the doing of one group. The rest of these innocent people who were are part of the United States of America were just as affected as the rest of us and it is good to see that this building was allowed to happen in peace.