Global news with a spatial perspective: Interesting, current supplemental materials for geography teachers and students.
Curated by Seth Dixon
In this map, all Zip codes with more than 500 people are ranked from 0 to 99 based on household income and education. The 'Super Zips' rank 95 or higher. The map at the top shows the highest concentration of the nation’s 650 Super Zips. The typical household income in a Super Zip is $120,272, and 68 percent of adults hold college degrees. That compares with $53,962 and 27 percent in the other zips mapped. Washington D.C. shows a powerful bifurcation: One-third of Zip codes in the D.C. area are considered ‘Super Zips’ for wealth and education and large swaths of the metropolitan area are considered food deserts.
This weekend I had the privilege of flying essentially from Boston to Washington DC at night and was mesmerized by the vast urban expanse beneath me. It was the greatest concentration of wealth in the United States as well as the some of the most blighted regions of the country. What explains the spatial patterns of highly concentrated wealth and poverty in the biggest cities? Are cities a causal factor in wealth and poverty creation? What does this zip code data tell us? What accounts for the spatial patterns in your region?
"The French have a wonderful word—flâneur—for someone who seeks to explore and understand the nature of a city’s landscape, usually by taking spontaneous adventures amidst the ebb and flow of life going on around them. In this week’s theme we invite you to lose yourself reading about the flâneur-esque adventures of Maptia’s streetwise connoisseurs and explore a myriad of cities through their eyes."
Where you live is important. It can dictate quality of schools and hospitals, as well as things like cancer rates, unemployment, or whether the city repairs roads in your neighborhood. On this week's show, stories about destiny by address.
This hour-long podcast addresses some has key issues in urban geography by exploring the history of redlining, the Fair Housing Act and other fair housing initiatives. The urban cultural mosaic of the United States and the neighborhoods of our cities have been greatly shaped by these issues. Currently gentrification is reshaping many U.S. cities and fits into the wider scope of the issues raised in the podcast.
This Veteran's day many will go to cemeteries to remember fallen soldiers. These are secular sites, but still sacred space to many. The sanctity of these places are intentional and considerable planning goes into the spatial layout and design of the cemeteries. Enjoy the day off for Veteran's Day, but don't forget to remember.
|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.
"Portland is a city that some residents praise as a kind of eden: full of bike paths, independently-owned small businesses, great public transportation and abundant microbreweries and coffeeshops. And then there’s a whole other city. It’s the city where whole stretches of busy road are missing sidewalks, and you can see folks in wheelchairs rolling themselves down the street right next to traffic. It’s the city where some longtime African-American residents feel as if decades of institutional racism still have not been fully addressed."
Portland, Oregon is often discussed as a magnet for a young demographic that wants to be part of a sustainable city that supports local businesses and agriculture. This podcast looks behind that image (which has a measure of truth to it) to see another story. Relining, gentrification, poverty, governance and urban planning are all prominent topics in this 50 minute podcast that provides as fascinating glimpse into the poorer neighborhoods of this intriguing West Coast city. When in cities, we often use the term sustainability to refer to the urban ecology, but here we see a strong concern for the social sustainability of their historic neighborhoods as well.
"Charles Marville photographed Paris' transition from medieval hodgepodge to modern metropolis. Marville made more than 425 photographs of the narrow streets and crumbling buildings of premodern Paris, including this view from the top of Rue Champlain in 1877-1878."
This NPR podcast adds some great insight into Charles Marville's 19th century photography currently on display at the National Gallery of Art in Washington D.C. The urban transformations designed by Haussmann made Paris the global capital of modernity and the many cities around the world copied the principles of Haussmannization. A photographic glimpse into Paris before and during these changes that brought about social upheaval is a marvelous tool for an historical geographic analysis of urbanization.
|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.
"As a kid, I grew up watching the Rocky movies, shadow boxing with my brothers and doing push-ups during the workout montages. One on my favorite scenes was in Rocky II when Rocky runs through the whole city of Philadelphia, thronged by adoring fans as he runs to the top of the stairs to the Philadelphia Museum of Art (and yes, of course I re-enacted that scene when I was there)."
I was thrilled to read an article in the Philly Post by Dan McQuade entitled “How Far did Rocky Go is His Training run in Rocky II?“ This article identifies the locations in movie that were used to capture such a strong sense of place; earlier versions of this article did not have a map, and I wanted to see the images and a map together. That was enough reason to make both an online map on arcgis.com and an interactive web mapping application with an ESRI storymap template.
Baruch Ben-Yehudah is tackling Prince George’s County’s "food desert" problem. His vegan food truck delivers nourishment to neighborhoods lacking fresh groceries.
"Whenever I am living abroad, people always say the same thing, insisting that I am très Américain. Sometimes it's the words I use, or the way I talk. But back in America, a strange thing happens. People say I have a British accent; they insist I have a European quality."
For those who have lived abroad, the sense of belonging to one place is elusive. This article is a great look at personal geographies and how individuals negotiate belonging to multiple communities. Increasingly, people live in many places throughout their lives; some cultures are intensely connected to particular places but some are highly mobile.
Questions to Ponder: What does it mean to belong in a place? What are some barriers to belonging? Are some places easier to belong to? How come?
Some city skylines are so iconic they are instantly recognisable.
This video that I originally found on Upworthy shows that even classic songs of Americana that might seem jingoistic may have had a subversive beginning. I never knew there was a final verse to this Great Depression era song that references iconic cultural landscapes; know that I've heard it I see why it isn't taught to school kids, but I wish it was.
The odds of rising to another income level are notably low in certain cities, like Atlanta and Charlotte, and much higher in New York and Boston.
This interactive map let's you explore the data of a recent study that is being talked about all over the country right now (NY Times, NPR article, Seattle Times, NPR podcast, etc.) because of it implications.
Questions to Ponder: Why does place matter for creating opportunities for social mobility? What geographic obstacles to economic improvement do you see for the poorest America
Can you tell a Vancouver mansion from a crack shack?
Which homes were once being used to sell illegal drugs and which homes could be sold for over $1 million? It is not as easy to distinguish between the two as you might think. What constitutes affordable housing can change dramatically from neighborhood to neighborhood. Want more? Try Crack Shack or Mansion II.
Try to replicate it with development schemes all you want, but you're overlooking what makes New York City—and other places of ambition—so great.
Part of the economic success of a city can be an overriding cultural ethos of the metropolitan area. This elusive spirit of the city is often referred to as a sense of place, which many sound 'fluffy' to some, but can have some very tangible impacts on the urban economic development. This article answers the question, "How does a sense of place impact urban economic development?" by using various U.S. cities such as New York City, Portland and San Francisco.
In this interview with Rosemary Wardley (senior GIS cartographer at National Geographic Maps) she offers tips on how to evaluate the landscape to do well on the game, GeoGuessr. If you haven't played GeoGuessr, you've got to try it out. It displays 5 locations in GoogleMaps StreetView and you have to guess where the images are located. You can pan and zoom in the StreetView to explore the landscape and find more context clues as to where that location is. It's a fantastic exploration exercise.
An innovative campaign to move “home-less people into people-less homes.”
Chicago's poorer neighborhoods have experienced a severe decline as homes are being foreclosed at an alarming rate (62,000 vacant properties in Chicago and 40% of the homes underwater on the South and West Sides). When sections of a neighborhood are left vacant or in disrepair, it can have a lead to negative impacts on the community. To combat both the homelessness issue and the vacant home problem at the same time, "Cook County now plans to form what will become the nation’s largest land bank, an entity that will acquire thousands of vacant residences, demolishing some, turning others into much-needed rentals and holding onto others until they can be released, strategically, back into the market."
"American tragedies occur where middle America frequents every day: airplanes, business offices, marathons. Where there persists a tangible fear that this could happen to any of us. And rightfully so. Deaths and mayhem anywhere are tragic. That should always be the case. The story here is where American tragedies don't occur. American tragedies don't occur on the southside of Chicago or the New Orleans 9th Ward."
This is a controversial Op-Ed article that discusses how place and the major axes of identity (race, class and gender) shape and intersect with the the national memory of violence and the media portrayal of violence. According the David Dennis, "The media seems to forget about New Orleans and any place that the middle class can't easily relate to."
Humanist geography, a movement within the field of human geography (itself a sub-field of geography) arose in the 1970s as a way to counter what humanists saw as a tendency to treat places as mere sites or locations. Instead, a humanist geographer would argue, the places we inhabit have as many personalities as those whose lives have intersected with them. And the stories we tell about places often say as much about who we are, as about where our feet are planted.
GeoGuessr is a geography game which takes you on a journey around the world and challenges your ability to recognize your surroundings.
When I was a child I used to wonder if woke up somewhere far from home, would I be able to know where I was just by looking at the places around me (I was a geo-geek from way back when). GeoGuessr is the closest thing to finding yourself lost in the world and needing to figure out where you are without being wisked away. GeoGuessr will display 5 locations in GoogleMaps "StreetView" and you have to guess where the images are located. You can pan and zoom in the StreetView to explore the landscape and find more context clues as to where that location is. It is a fantastic exploration exercise.
Oakland, Calif., was a hub of African-American life on the West Coast. Today, it's one of the most diverse cities in the country. How has that shift affected its culture?
The NPR blog Code Switch focuses on issues of race, culture and ethnicity. In this podcast they explore the changing demographics of Oakland due to gentrification and the cultural impact that it has had. In the 80s, African-Americans represented nearly half of Oakland's population, but today is now 34 percent white, 28 percent black, 25 percent Latino and 17 percent Asian. The music scene, night life and sense of communal identity has consequently shifted, and that causes some to yearn for what once was.
|Suggested by Mike Busarello's Digital Storybooks|
If a NYC location got a shout out in some rap lyrics, Jay Shells has probably made a sign out of them and placed it at that specific location for his amazing new project.
The current rise or durability of the economies of the Global South do not signal that economic geography does not matter, but that current investment has simply shifted.
In an era where globalization has rendered distances a minor barrier to diffusion, some have erroneously concluded that geography is no longer relevant to economic development and urban planning. Nothing could be farther from the truth, but that doesn't mean that the 'old rules' of space and place aren't be re-written. This is a nice article that discusses the continued importance of spatial thinking and geography for urban planning.