Think everyone should just pull themselves up by their bootstraps? Try this one on for size.
Global news with a spatial perspective: Interesting, current supplemental materials for geography teachers and students.
Curated by Seth Dixon
|Suggested by Thomas Schmeling|
Think everyone should just pull themselves up by their bootstraps? Try this one on for size.
This video shows the place matters; a Washington D.C. educator shows how food deserts and other spatial problems of poverty impact his students on a daily basis. We usually look at life expectancy data at the national scale and that obscures some of the real issues of poverty in developed countries. Above is a map that shows the Gini index which measures the degree of economic inequality (the Gini coefficient was recently added to the APHG course content for the Industrialization and Economic Development unit). Here are some maps and data from the World Bank that utilizes the Gini Index as well as an interactive Gapminder graph.
|Suggested by Alex Northrup|
"With Europe sputtering and China costly, the 'stars are aligning' for Mexico as broad changes in the global economy create new dynamics of migration."
I’ve posted earlier about the end of cheap China; the rising cost of doing business in China coupled with the higher transportation costs to get goods to North American and European markets have made manufacturing in Mexican much more competitive on the global market. Many investors are turning to Mexico as an emerging land of opportunity and Mexico is now a destination for migrants. This is still a new pattern: only 1 percent of the country is foreign-born compared to the 13 percent that you would see in the United States. Mexican migration to the United States has stabilized; about as many Mexicans have moved to the U.S. (2005-2010) as those that have moved south of the border.
Where did your T-Shirt come from? Where did the food your parents bought at the grocery store come from? What's the origin of the components in your cell phone? These questions all allude to what geographers call a commodity chain analysis. Analyzing where the consumer goods that we use every day came from can make global issues hit a little closer to home and reinforce concepts such as globalization. The website Follow the Things is a great resource for teaching students about commodity chains and mapping out your own personal geographies.
Picture this: Tourists visiting one of your city's most prominent attractions are unable to see it because of smog, haze and a bevy of other airborne pollutants. What's the solution?
Pollution is becoming ubiquitous in our urban environments. If your primary concern is the environment, it is clear that this situation in Hong Kong must be changed. But what if the environment is not the concern of policy makers? What economic and planning arguments could you make in favor of a more sustainable course?
"Pittsburgh, called 'hell with the lid taken off' in the 19th century because of its industrial filth, is now an academic leader in the green movement."
This is a great article on regional sustainability initiatives and education in the Pittsburgh area. Given Pittsburgh's history, that makes these clean industrial projects all the more impressive.
More than 1.4 billion airline passengers departed, landed, or connected through these massive facilities in 2012. Viewing them from above gives a sense of their gargantuan scale and global significance.
This ESRI storymap of the 25 busiest airports compliments nicely the storymap of the 50 busiest ports around the world. The busiest ports interactive clearly shows how East Asian manufacturing is impacting global economics (almost 90% of everything we buy arrives via ship). European and North American ports are few and far between on the busiest ports list but much more prominent on the busiest airport list.
Questions to Ponder: How do places of economic flows reshape the global economics? What do the rankings on these two lists suggest about regions of the world? What would strengthen in a particular mode of transportation indicate?
The city's fiscal crisis is an opportunity to harness the region's economic promise.
Earlier this week when Detoit filed for bankruptcy I posted that Detroit has failed as a major U.S. city. While Detroit's days of being the 4th largest city in the U.S. and a prominent industrial center are over, that doesn't equate with the total economic ruin of the region. Some are seeing this as an opportunity for for their businesses build a new Detroit out of Motown's ashes, foster regional collaboration and restructure the economic base of the city. The region is still rich with resources.
|Suggested by Aulde de B|
"Young entrepreneur Andy Didorosi believes that the way to Detroit’s new era depends on better leadership and a solid connection between the city and the suburbs. The city in 2012 axed its plans to build the M-1 light rail, the transit solution that would’ve bridged that vital connection, Didorosi bought a bus, had a local artist trick it out with a wicked mural, and he started the Detroit Bus Company. Dedicated to a more connected city, Andy Didorosi is bringing Detroit home one ride at a time."
In the 1950s, Detroit was the 4th largest city in the US with a population around 2 million as seen in some vintage footage of Detroit. As de-industrialization process restructured the US economy, globalization restructured the world’s economy, and Detroit’s local economic strategy crumbled. The tax base continued to shrink, city services were spread thin and the poor services encouraged people to migrate elsewhere, leaving current homeowners unable to sell their homes at a fair price. Today, Detroit is $18-20 million in debt with a population around 700,000 and is unable to pull out of this nosedive. Detroit filed for bankruptcy July 18, 2013 and became the largest U.S. city ever to file for bankruptcy and more importantly the first major American city to essentially fail (photo gallery of 'ruin photography').
With all this sad news, there are still glimmers of sucess as seen in this video. Some entrepreneurs and local have stepped in as the city government has been unable to manage the needs of a large city creating organizations such as the Detroit Bus Company.
When filmmaker Shantha Bloemen was stationed in a remote village in Zambia as a worker with an international aid organization, she had to adjust to living in a different culture. But one thing struck her as oddly familiar: almost everyone in the village wore secondhand clothing from the West. Bloemen began to imagine stories about the people who used to wear the clothing, wondering if the original owners had any idea that the castoffs they had given to charities ended up being sold to Africans half a world away.
This PBS documentary shows some of the unexpected consequences of globalization and less well-publicized economic interactions. This online supplemental to the video allows users to track the journey of a T-shirt. For additional reading on topic, this article shows how some the same process is impacting the those in Haiti. The complex interactions that stem from globalization never cease to amaze me.
|Suggested by Aulde de B|
........"Linking the Chinese pollution data to mortality statistics from 1991 to 2000, the researchers found a sharp difference in mortality rates on either side of the border formed by the Huai River. They also found the variation to be attributable to cardiorespiratory illness, and not to other causes of death."
High levels of air pollution in northern China – much of it caused by an over-reliance on burning coal for heat – will cause 500 million people to lose an aggregate 2.5 billion years from their lives, the authors predict in the study, published in the journal the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Also read this compilation of articles and resources to get a sense of how bad the pollution is is China.
We've all heard stories about the horrible air quality in Beijing (especially during the 2008 Olympics). Here's a picture of Beijing by Tom Anderson that I find riveting. The skies are obviously polluted but this image shows two competing cities that are vying for control of China's future. In the foreground we see a cosmopolitan capital that is sophisticated and technologically advanced, engaged in the great connections that come from industrial growth. On the other side we see the industrial city that is recklessly producing copious amounts of consumer products with little regard for the environment or worker safety that can be seen as the dirty side of globalization. Both images are true reflections of China in the 21st century and the tension between the two will be one of China's great issues in the foreseeable future.
"Technology is reshaping our economic geography, but there’s disagreement as to how. Much of the media and pundits like Richard Florida assert that the tech revolution is bound to be centralized in the dense, often 'hip' places where 'smart' people cluster.
From 2001 to 2012, STEM employment actually was essentially flat in the San Francisco and Boston regions and declined 12.6% in San Jose. The country’s three largest mega regions — Chicago, New York and Los Angeles — all lost tech jobs over the past decade. In contrast, double-digit rate expansions of tech employment have occurred in lower-density metro areas such as Austin, Texas; Raleigh, N.C.; Columbus, Ohio; Houston and Salt Lake City. Indeed, among the larger established tech regions, the only real winners have been Seattle, with its diversified and heavily suburbanized economy, and greater Washington, D.C., the parasitical beneficiary of an ever-expanding federal power, where the number of STEM jobs grew 21% from 2001 to 2012, better than any other of the 51 largest U.S. metropolitan statistical areas over that period." Read more.
|Suggested by Heather Ramsey|
|Suggested by Michael Miller|
Investigate for yourself the mechanisms of global trade
This more clearly shows the regional restructuring of the global economy than just about anything I've ever seen, especially manufacturing. The 8 largest and busiest ports in the world are all in East or Southeast Asia (and 11 of the top 13). A quick glance at the historical charts will show that most of these were relatively minor ports that have exploded in the last 20 years.
Laxmi's story of being kidnapped and trafficked in Nepal is not an isolated case but, as this graphical account shows, things are not always what they seem.
Teaching about human trafficking and child slavery can be very disconcerting and uncomfortable. How much of the details regarding these horrific situations is age-appropriate and suitable for the classroom? The BBC is reporting on events with sensitive stories to both give a human face to the story, while protecting the identity of under-aged victims (to read about the production of this comic, read Drawing the News.) I encourage you to use your own discretion, but I find this comicbook format an accessible, informative and tasteful way to teach about human trafficking in South Asia to minors. It is a powerful way to teach about some hard (but important) aspects of globalization and economics.
As geographer Shaunna Barnhart says concerning this comic, "It moves from trafficking to child labor to pressures for migration for wage labor and the resulting injustices that occur. There's differential access to education, gender inequality, land, jobs, and monetary resources that leads to inter- and intra-country trafficking of the vulnerable. In the search for improved quality of life, individuals become part of a global flow of indentured servitude which serves to exploit their vulnerabilities and exacerbate inequalities and injustice. Nepali children 'paid' in food and cell phones that play Hindi music in 'exchange' for work in textile factories - cell phones that are themselves a nexus of global resource chains and textiles which in turn enter a global market - colliding at the site of child labor which remains largely hidden and ignored by those in the Global North who may benefit from such labor."
|Suggested by Mike Busarello's Digital Storybooks|
If Pyongyang is as bent on war as it wants us to believe, why is it keeping the inter-Korean Kaesong industrial complex open?
News reports coming out of North Korea are grim and threatening right now. However, this Washington Post article argues that it might be all for show. The Kaesong Industrial Complex was opened in 2002 as a gesture of peace. Located just across the northern side of the border, it is staffed by South and North Koreans (South Korea get super cheap labor, North Korea gets an infusion of currency, both get positive PR). The Kaesong Industrial Complex continues to operate with the permission of the North Korean government. Were that to ever change and North Korea shut down this joint venture, THEN we'll know that they are serious. Watch this short video for an overview of the geopolitical situation on the Korean peninsula as of March 2013.
"77 Photos of the mass production of the Earth's natural resources. In the picture above, a Tibetan villager works in a salt field. Salt has been the most common food preservative, especially for meat, for thousands of years."
Coal, steel, gold, iron, copper, aluminum and oil are all incredibly important commodities. Agricultural products such as rice, cotton, corn, wheat and coffee all travel far beyond their area of origin. Where do these resources come from? How are they produced? This gallery of 77 pictures is a fantastic tour of the resources that are key cogs in the global economy.
Elevated levels of nitrogen dioxide pop out over certain shipping lanes in observations made by the Aura satellite between 2005-2012. The signal was the strongest over the northeastern Indian Ocean.
Americans like to buy jewelry and flowers all year, not just for Valentine’s Day. How much do they spend annually, and who would probably spend the most?
This is a fabulous set of maps that shows the value of GIS to assess the market feasiblity for any given commodity. On this Valentine's Day, it is especially interesting to map out the zip codes that purchase the most flowers, jewelry and diamonds.
The South Bay Power Plant was imploded Saturday Feb 2, 2013
to clear the way for development along Chula Vista's bayfront.
This powerplant was demolished primarily because of location (watch the cool videos of the implosion). The electrical powerplant provided energy for the region, but it's location right on the San Diego Bay doesn't line up with current land uses. When the area's economy was focused more on manufacturing, this was seen an ideal way to use the wetlands on the bay. Today our city planning priorites has shifted. First, how we view wetlands has changed and we no longer see them as "wasted" space. Second, an attractive waterfront that can be used to generate tourism is seen as a greater economic priority today than it was 50 years ago.
Many teachers use Billy Joel's classic song and music video Allentown as a teaching tool to introduce the topic of deindustrialization in the Rust Belt of the United States. This alternative music video version adds some useful teaching images to help students contextualize the lyrics. Another song to consider using is Telegraph Road by Dire Straits; the song follows a town as it industrialized and as it later deindustrialized.
Earlier this month, the president told a newspaper the solution to partisanship is politics and more politics.
Quick facts about the "new" Mexico:
Does that help in explaining why Mexicans aren't leaving to go to the United States anymore? In fact, more Mexicans are leaving the United States than entering in a clear example of changing push and pull factors.
Wal-Mart de Mexico was an aggressive and creative corrupter, offering large payoffs to get what the law otherwise prohibited, an examination by The New York Times found.
Wal-Mart officials worked hard to ensure that zoning regulations were changed so that they could bring a store to a coveted location. They built a Wal-Mart in the shadows of arguably Mexico's most important world heritage site--the pyramids of Teotihuacán. This investigative report uncovers the illegal steps that Wal-Mart took to force through their agenda.
Questions to Ponder: Why would Wal-Mart be so keen on this particular location? Why would some in Mexico oppose this project so fiercely? Would Wal-Mart behave in such a manner in the United States?
During the holiday season, online sales shoot up as distant relatives seek to ship gifts in time for Christmas. Some have noted that online shoppers can stay at home and completely render the tradition physical storefront redundant. Online shoppers, whether they think about it or not, hoping that the physical logistics behind the scenes will work efficiently and quickly. This collection of images is a reminder that while it might appear that geography and location are eliminated with online communications, these virtual interactions in cyberspace are dependent on actual physical locations.