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Melani Smith is Director of Planning and Urban Design at downtown Los Angeles based Meléndrez, a landscape architecture, urban planning, and urban design firm. Melani’s…
Changes are afoot to make Downtown LA (the center of a metropolitan area that is notoriously tied to freeways and the private automobile) more walkable and reshape the look and feel to make it more of a neighborhood.
Tags: Los Angeles, transportation, AAG, urban, planning.
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Every 12 years, the Kumbh Mela, a centuries-old Hindu pilgrimage, temporarily transforms an empty floodplain in India into one of the biggest cities in the world.
Hindu pilgrims from all over India flock to bathe where it the Yamuna Saraswati Rivers join with the Ganges River for a religious experience. This is a massive undertaking where the cultural practices create migratory patterns that reshape cities because of a sacred physical geography.
There are joys and rewards in growing some of your own crops; there's even beauty.
Although a front lawn is not ecologically the best use of urban space, there are strong cultural pressure to conform to that aesthetic ideal. When individuals choose to grow vegetables and fruit, they often face some push-back from the city or homeowners associations with a different vision on the appropriate use of space. Some have estimated though, that if we were to convert 10 percent the country's grass lawns to vegetable gardens that they could supply roughly a third of our fresh vegetables.
Tags: agriculture, food, urban, unit 5 agriculture.
I think that having having an urban garden whether it be in the front yard or the backyard should be a must in every state even if it is a little garden, I think it will make great use of the land.
Yes, I agree, it is an act of bringing nature close to you.
See the big picture of how suburban developments are changing the country's landscape, with aerial photos and ideas for the future
There are many types of housing development patterns throughout the world. This article provides a summary of approximately 20 different housing patterns common in the United States with a visual example demonstrate the impact on the urban footprint (Pictured above is an example of new urbanism in Boulder, CO). Each neighborhood has distinct cultural amenities and attracts particular socioeconomic market segments.
Questions to Ponder: What housing patterns are you drawn to? How come? What are the advantages for the residents to live in that type of community? What are the impacts that the housing pattern has on the physical environment and the urban system? What systems are most profitable for developers? How does the layout of the neighborhood alter the sense of place?
Tags: housing, urban, planning, density, urbanism, unit 7 cities.
It is interesting to see how over time and depending on geographic location the housing patterns change so drastically. Its fascinating to see how each community uses its land to cater to the needs of its occupants.
I am drawn to urban housing patterns. I could care less about a having a big lot. I don’t want to take care of a lawn. I like the feel of living in a city and the fact that you can go out at night and find things to do. One of the main advantages to living in Providence is you can walk to your destination. There are more tall buildings in the city and more traffic than in suburbia. If roads are not well laid out traffic problems could arise. Issues with pollution from vehicle emissions could impact residents. Noise could also be a factor.
It is cool to see how each neighborhood has a different housing pattern depending on the area in which they live.You could almost say that it is like a quilt with all its different patterns.
"In this fantastic sighting by photographer Horst Kiechle, we see the roots of a tree in Bangkok, Thailand (Lat Yao, Chatuchak to be exact) growing into the grooves and cracks of an interlocking sidewalk. Even the colour of the roots gradually fade into the pavement."
This startling image is a powerful testament to the adaptive nature of many species to the urban environment. Some species will adapt in beautiful ways such as this tree, while other will adapt in ways that go against our plan for that urban space (think rats, pigeons and cockroaches). We adapt to our environment and the environment adapts to us as well; but that relationship is not always peaceful and symbiotic. We can also destroy ecosystems that are fragile and not as resilient to change as this tree is. See this same tree's root network one year later.
Tags: urban ecology, environment adapt, sustainability, biogeography.
"A basic truth about the cultural geography of the California border [is this]—two very different city-building traditions come crashing into each other at one of the most contentious international boundary lines on the planet. In this collision, in the shocking contrast of landscapes, lies one critical ingredient of the border’s place identity."
As a geographer native to the San Diego region (with family on both sides of the border), I found this article very compelling. Relations across the border are economic, cultural and political in nature, and the merger of those varied interests have led to an uneven history of both cooperation and separation. Herzog analyses three distinct factors that have shape the landscape of the California-Mexico border zone: urbanization, NAFTA, and global interruptions (9/11).
Tags: borders, AAG, political, landscape, California, unit 4 political, Mexico.
Les territoires de la mondialisation: les frontières. Une frontière qui se ferme et pourtant, une urbanisation continue mais contrastée.
It is interesting to see how this border has transformed from a fence to a guideline and back over time. Researchers of these two cities can learn a lot about how the events of one country affect the other country, such as in the case of 9/11. This place is also a great place to study culture because it is here where researchers can study a melding of two cultures in action. Overall, this area gives great insight into how two bordering countries affect each other politically, economically, socially, and culturally.
Also have heard stories of Tijuana...you know what happens there stays there. Much like the Kennedy's in the US, Tijuana got its initial fame and wealth from the alcohol trade when the US started prohibition in the 1920, albeit the Kennedy family did it illegally with bootlegging. Interesting contrast of building styles and cutures. The space on the map makes this area what it is. Without San Diego, Tijuana wouldn't be the same and San Diego wouldn't be the same without Tijuana. This area also shows a contrast with the Canadian border. Little or no fences on that border, but here, there are two in some spots, an old onecand a new post 9/11 one. Why here then are there fences? Culture too different? Is it for racial reasons? Is it just the drug trade and cartels that are all over the area the reason? Is it US drug policy that makes the fence necessary? Is it the US policy on immigration that the the fence a necessity? Is it the worse economic conditions in Mexico or the violence that is forcing the people to run across the border? Lots of questions and right now it looks like nobody has any real answers.
This image is an excellent visualization to use when teaching about density, public transportation and urban planning.
Questions to Ponder: How is this a persuasive image? Do you argee with the argument that the planning office is making? Are there something important factors that this image ignores?
Tags: transportation, urban, planning, density, sustainability, unit 7 cities.
If you define a "car" as "a separate enclosed vehicle for every passenger or party", then the geometric fact about all cars, self-driving or not, miniaturized or not, is that they take vastly more space per passenger than effective public transit. This will not be a problem in low-density suburbs, but cities, by definition, are places with relatively little space per person. Self-driving cars will certainly improve the efficiency with which cars use space, so they will shift the calculus somewhat. But the bottom line will still be that if you want two crash-safe metal walls between every two strangers going down the same street, you will need a lot more space than if those two people can sit next to each other on civilized public transit.
You will also need vastly more metal and equipment, which means that the self-driving-car-replaces-transit fantasy involves massive industrial production with severe consequences for energy security and greenhouse-gas emissions.
As for the idea that somehow these cars will replace buses but not rail, this may be true around the margins.
What are the benefits for each? Drawbacks? You decide!
Tags: Brazil, urban, squatter, images, urban ecology.
Amazing images to bring this to life for kids who have no concept what the favela looks like.
Sometimes images speak louder than words. The pictures of the favelas of Rio are absolutely flooring. People live in these. People have to withstand flooding, overcrowding and little to no sanitation system. These houses are not made to stand, there is no strong foundation or insulation. This really opens a person's eyes to what poverty is.
A promotional video shows planned development of a state-level development zone by government of Lanzhou, a provincial capital in China's arid northwest...
The Lanzhou province is lightly populated mainly due to it's semi-arid climate and rugged topography. The goal is make a 500 square mile area (currently with 100,000 people) into a city with over 1 million people by 2030. To make this new metropolis, developers are planning to literally remove mountains to create a more 'ideal' urban environment. This makes some of the most ambitious environmental modification projects seem tame. For more read, the accompanying article from the Guardian.
Questions to Ponder: What potential environmental impacts come from this scale of modification? How will this massive influx of the population impact the region? Could this type of project happen in other part of the world?
Tags: environment, urban ecology, planning, environment modify, China.
The developer is claiming this will be "protective development." I am not sure if I buy that. They are moving mountains- which means everything that comes with that, wildlife, trees, etc... And they are building an airport and an oil refinery (amongst other things).. Urbanizing can be great for the economy- but at what cost. Elizabeth Allen
Although these were designed specifically for GIS day during Geography Awareness Week, these 2 excellent map-based treasure hunts from ESRI are great any time of year. The answer to the question will only pop up in you are zoomed in the the right region (SHIFT + Make a box = Zoom to area). These links will take you to the World Cities quiz and also to the Mountains quiz.
Fun quiz, pretty easy with basic worldly knowledge. Also if you just scroll in close enough then scroll across the page it would then show up to you.
This is great! Thanks.
TED Talks How can we fit more people into cities without overcrowding? Kent Larson shows off folding cars, quick-change apartments and other innovations that could make the city of the future work a lot like a small village of the past.
This talk is relevant not just because it focuses on many urban issues; it also is a fantastic demonstration of how to use spatial thinking to solve problems.
Tags: density, urban, spatial, planning, TED.
This TED Talk presents some very forward-thinking ideas on urban planning. With cities becoming more and more packed it is important to rethink the way we live and work in cities. Space saving technologies like the fold-up cars and small, changeable apartments seem futuristic but doable. This video challenges the viewer to think about the form and function of cities in new ways. Moving into the future it is important to adapt to the growing congestion in cities by applying new technologies with flexible designs that make cities more livable. I think that the smart apartments are an innovative solution but unlikely to catch on any time soon. I think that the folding cars are more likely to catch on because so many people already use the tiny smart cars and car-sharing services like zip-car are gaining in popularity.
"By 2025, the developing world will be home to 29 megacities."
Through this interactive mapping feature with rich call-out boxes, the reader can explore the latest UN estimates and forecasts on the growth of megacities (urban areas with over 10 million residents). These 'cities on steroids' have been growing tremendously since the 1950s and present a unique set of geographic challenges and opportunities for their residents.
Download the data yourself as a CSV file and your can import this into ArcGIS online and symbolize your map with any of the columns in the dataset.
Tags: urban, megacities.
"This map-based site contains hundreds of images of downtown Los Angeles, Displaying its tremendous architectural, cultural, and economic diversity. Maps of seven downtown subregions are accessible either by clicking on this map or on the list of subregion names to the left. Each regional map provides access to specific places in downtown in the same way."
This is a great example of a neighborhood project than shows the economic and cultural differences between places.
"The Los Angeles of America’s imagination is rarely downtown Los Angeles. When we envision L.A., we think of the beach, 15 miles away, or the starred sidewalk of Hollywood, or the sprawling suburbs of the San Fernando Valley. While not the center of our Los Angeles, downtown Los Angeles is nonetheless visible —it is a backdrop to films and television shows set in L.A., and, just as frequently, serves as Any City, U.S.A., easily transformed into New York City, Washington, D.C., and the generic cities of car, cell phone, or drug store commercials."
This AAG annual meeting will be in Los Angeles this year, and geographer Jennifer Mapes gives readers a virtual walking tour of downtown LA before thousands of geographers converge on the city.
Tags: Los Angeles, AAG, urban, landscape.
A new study finds that urban minds don't pay as much attention to their surroundings unless they're highly engaging.
It's often noted that people from smaller towns prefer a slower pace of life and people from large cities enjoy the hustle and bustle more. So does the urban environment change how we handle the vast quantity of information in major metropolitan areas? This article points to data that says it does.
Tags: rural, housing, urban, planning, density, urbanism, unit 7 cities.
This helps explain why we are exhausted at the end of the day, and why a walk in the park is so refreshing. We need to make sure city folk have parks nearby.
The interest in urban gardening and organic foods has grown as a reaction against a mechanized, commercialization agricultural industry with genetically-modified produce. Modern consumers are seek...
Modern consumers are increasingly seeking diverse options and don’t want to passively accept the most economically efficient method of food production. City-dwellers sometimes feel disconnected from the land and their food and some are trying to culturally re-establish that connection in the 21st century. So how can you engage in some urban agriculture using your food scraps? This could be a way to make an agricultural unit more hands-on with a fun project
Tags: agriculture, food, urban, unit 5 agriculture.
Before 1950s, not many lived in Indy suburbs. Then things changed: “@jalopnik: How the U.S. Interstate system was born jalo.ps/MWMBRGq”— Andy Baker (@AndyBakerIUPUI) January 29, 2013
Before 1950s, not many lived in Indy suburbs. Then things changed: “@jalopnik: How the U.S. Interstate system was born jalo.ps/MWMBRGq”
The highway system (and the widespread usage of air conditioning) in the later half of the 20th century dramatically changed the population settlement patterns of the United States and reshaping our cities.
Tags: transportation, urban, planning, density, unit 7 cities.
Very Interesting HUGGERS...we didn't always have highways to cruise on!
RIO DE JANEIRO — Look at most maps of Rio de Janeiro. The beaches are easy to spot, as are the iconic ocean-front neighborhoods of Copacabana and Ipanema. In the middle is a vast forest.
A nonprofit organization run by current and former favela residents called Redes da Mare has started the first mapping program to systematically chart out the favelas for municipal governments. We take for granted what having an address on a named street means in a modern society; it is a portal to public utilities, recognition with businesses and countless other social benefits. Being left 'off the map' is synonymous with being left behind. By finding their way on the city maps they are removing some of the social stigma that sought to treat them as if they did not exist.
Tags: Brazil, urban, squatter, mapping.
Being left off the map is ludicrous. It should be surprising how many there are,what they pick for addresses, and population statistics. Hopefully this will also help them to get aid for poverty relief.
I Have a Dream Speech Martin Luther King's Address at March on Washington August 28, 1963. Washington, D.C. When we let freedom ring, when we let it ring fro...
There is much to glean from Martin Luther King's famous I Have a Dream speech as a fantastic rhetorical device. This speech has a profound impact on the the psyche of the America culture and it has endured as a pivotal moment in history. As we celebrate his life and legacy this Monday, it is an appropriate time to contemplate that the ending of segregation (a spatial division of races) has reshaped the United States.
Many streets in the United States bear the name "Martin Luther King Jr." to memorialize both the man and the Civil Rights movement. This streets, as this YouTube video suggests, are often in poor, crime-ridden and violent neighborhoods. This video highlights the irony between the historical memory of Martin Luther King Jr. and places of memorialization that bear his name. This video echoes much of what the authors of the fantastic book "Civil Rights Memorials and the Geography of Memory" say (in fact one of the authors is shown in this video).
Questions to ponder: If Martin Luther King Jr. represents non-violence, then why are streets bearing his name often in 'violent' neighborhoods? Where should Martin Luther King be memorialized in the United States? Only in the South? Only in predominantly African-American communities? What does the geography of the spaces where he is memorialized say something about the United States?
Tags: historical, culture, landscape, place, race, unit 3 culture, USA, urban, poverty, unit 7 cities, book review.
Teachers: How great would it be to use the actual speech? Can you say, "primary source?" Here's an idea: Print it out and let students close read this important speech, too.
Probably they think that martin Luther king is more important to African American, then the rest of the United States population, but I personally feel that martin Luther king, represent a changing America also he is a very important figure in American history, he should be place in a better location so people that come to visit united states could venerate him as a man who fought for not only for African American but also for every minorities living in the United States.
A boom and social change are pitting young working women in the city against men from conservative villages.
The recent resurgence of this issue had me looking through the archives and stumbled upon this 2011 article. As urban expansion is booming in many Indian cities, the modern city expands into the countryside. The cultural values of these two demographic groups are quite distinct. Young, educated women are part of the modern cities' workforce but in many conservative, traditional Indian villages, women working outside the home are seen as "lacking in virtue." In many of the recent gang rape cases, the perpetrators are less educated young men from surrounding villages and the victims are well-educated young working women that are a part of the new city.
Public spaces, especially at night, are seen as masculine spaces in most traditional societies. One of the mothers of an accused rapist succinctly explained this mindset thusly: "If these girls roam around openly like this, then the boys will make mistakes." This is seen as 'Eve teasing,' where women are perceived as responsible for the violence committed against them to maintain social order. As another article hints, the outrage that this incident ignited could lead towards long-term change in Indian society.
This other NY Times article op-ed states, "India must work on changing a culture in which women are routinely devalued. Many are betrothed against their will as child brides, and many suffer cruelly, including acid attacks and burning, at the hands of husbands and family members. India, a rising economic power and the world’s largest democracy, can never reach its full potential if half its population lives in fear of unspeakable violence."
Tags: India, migration, South Asia, culture, urban, folk culture, megacities.
It hard to report rape cases even here in the US. It must be ten fold that in places like India, and much of the middle east, where women traditionally in thse areas of the world as always been in a lower status of men. The women for years, for generations in fact have always been told that their place in lower than that of men. That if something happened to them it must be their fault. However with globalization and access to the world as a whole, women, and the men, of these societies have been shown that this is not what it is like in the rest of the world. The women do not have to accept what they have been told even though it has been drilled into their head over and over. With women in India inceasing their percentage in the workforce, and being education this extreme situation is going to slowly change. There have been alot of negative aspects of globalization, this however may well be one of the postive aspects of globalization, especially to the women in the areas of the world where this type of behavior is all too common.
This video shows that the human spirit of beauty and joy can come shining through from the poorest of places. Slums are not new, but rapid population growth coupled with rural-to-urban migration patterns have led to an increasing amount of slums. Despite all the stereotypical images of destitute poverty, slums can also be places with a strong vibrant communities with residents filled with innovation, hope and ambition. For more on this organization, see their Facebook page.
Tags: urban, squatter, poverty, South America, community, Paraguay.
Another example of frugal innovation and what we can learn from people who are often times discounted.
“Nothing tells us more about the spread of humans across the Earth than city lights.”...
"For three weeks spread out over April and October of this year, the Suomi NPP satellite (jointly of NASA and NOAA) scanned all the Earth's land as it appeared at night. Scientists then mapped the satellite's data -- 2.5 terabytes of it -- over an earlier Blue Marble image, transforming that picture's daytime blues, browns, and greens into a nightime palette of blues, blacks, and gold."
This video is a great compliment to the classic Earth at Night composite image as well as the adjusted cartogram for population density.
Questions to Ponder: What do these lights "tell us" about human geography? What does the intensity of the lights indicate?
Coastal and low-lying areas that would be permanently flooded in three levels of higher seas.
This interactive feature is designed to answer a simple, yet profound set of questions. What areas (in over 20 cities around the U.S.) would be under water if the ocean levels rose 5 feet? 12 feet? 25 feet? The following set of maps show "coastal and low-lying areas that would be permanently flooded without engineered protection."
Explore the cities and emerging urban clusters that will drive dramatic growth and demographic changes over the next generation. A McKinsey Quarterly Economic Studies article.
In the next 13 years, 600 cities will account for nearly 65 percent of global GDP growth. That is reason enough to explore this global dataset with over 2,600 metropolitan areas.
ESPN Video: With the FIFA World Cup two years away, will Brazil be ready to host soccers premiere event?
This short sports documentary (12 minutes) looks at some of the socioeconomic and urban planning issues that are a part of the logistics for a country to prepare for a sporting event on the magnitude of the World Cup. The discussion of demolitions in the favelas (squatter settlements) is especially intriguing. Major sporting events of this magnitude that last for two weeks can reshape local geographic patterns for decades.
Tags: sport, Brazil, planning, squatter.
I know my soccer, and I know Brazil knows its soccer considering the country has one of the richest histories in the world. The nation eats, sleeps, and breathes the beautiful game and to host a World Cup right now is immaculate timing. Some of the best players (possibly ever) in the world would be playing next year, all from star-studded nations. The forecast for this spectacle will surely be one of the best in history, but that's if it all goes to plan. There's been many videos and articles of Brazil coming into more problems than solutions. Repairing and even building new stadiums have set back schedules and have even angered many locals. In some cities, there have been cases of gentrification, places such as favelas have fell victim. Being such a passionate fan of the sport, it's almost upsetting that all of these people are being misplaced to house the tournament which has been anxiously waited on since 2010. The main picture says it all with the three hands covered in blood... A nation which cares so much about a sport, where it is a way of life and prosperity, is in fact doing more harm than good in some areas. In the end I hope Brazil can get back on schedule, and leave as little people harmed in the process so the world can enjoy one of the greatest sporting events come summer of 2014.