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How the Dutch Got Their Bike Paths

How the Dutch Got Their Bike Paths | Geography Education | Scoop.it
What The Netherlands can teach us about child safety and mass protests as effective policy-benders.

 

Urban planning in the United States often focuses so much the automobile as the primary, essential mode of transportation, that we take it as a given that our cities must be built around current automobile usage patterns.  Are there other ways to design cities?  The Netherlands provide an informative counter-example to American "automotive-driven" urbanism.  Follow the links for the 6 minute video.    

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Density without walkability

Density without walkability | Geography Education | Scoop.it
I had heard of “dense sprawl” and “density without walkability” in the past, but before spending a week in Jerusalem last month, I had never really lived through these problems.

 

As urbanists rethink the city and argue for denser living spaces, they aren't just arguing for a spatially efficient system (although many most certainly want that built into our urban infrastructure).  Another key aspect why they are supporting higher density living is how that will fundamentally change the cultural ways in which citizens will interact with the built environment.  Presumably, promoting 'walkability' and lessening the reliance vehicles is key to that.  This article focuses on a neighborhood that has the form of density, but not the function of 'walkability.' 

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A Happy, Flourishing City With No Advertising

A Happy, Flourishing City With No Advertising | Geography Education | Scoop.it
Five years ago, São Paulo, Brazil, banned billboards and other visual advertising. Guess how many people miss them today?

 

Advertising is so pervasive within urban landscapes that it is hard to imagine life without them.  Deemed "visual population," the billboards were removed in Sao Paulo in 2006 and 70% say that has been beneficial for the city.  Business owners were initally skeptical, but since it is level playing field, businesses overall haven't been adversely affected.  How would this change major cities in your area?  Should government be involved is such projects?    

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Jacob Conklin's curator insight, May 6, 2015 2:54 PM

Advertising is a very powerful means of influencing consumer preferences, but at the same time, they create an eyesore. Billboards in the United States tower over trees and are almost at the point where they are advertising to airplanes. Big companies can afford bigger signs and overshadow anything that small, local stores and shops can produce. This article mentions leveling the playing field in advertising. There is more to advertising than billboards and having them removed seems to make it easier for smaller businesses to flourish and get noticed. It is hard to take in the natural beauty of any area when there is a massive Wendy's sign staring back at you. Removing them help tourism grow and would, according to the article, benefit cities. 

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Top 5 smart growth projects in the U.S.

Top 5 smart growth projects in the U.S. | Geography Education | Scoop.it
Where can you find the most innovative smart growth projects in America?

They’re in places like New Mexico and South Dakota, and they’re transforming their communities.

For the tenth year, the Environmental Protection Agency’s Smart Growth Achievement Awards has highlighted the most innovative approaches that communities are using to “strengthen their economies, provide housing and transportation choices, develop in ways that bring benefits to a wide range of residents, and protect the environment.”

Here’s EPA’s choices this year for the top 5 smart growth projects in the U.S. (in no particular order).  How is the Smart Growth movement changing urbanism in the United States? 


Via Lauren Moss
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The next small thing: How sustainable neighborhoods could reshape cities

The next small thing: How sustainable neighborhoods could reshape cities | Geography Education | Scoop.it
Residents and planners around the country are dreaming up innovative ways to create eco-friendly, self-reliant communities. But turning ideas into reality is a tall order.

 

Urban revitalization projects gentrification have been an important part of the American scene since the 1990s.  As we reconsider the city, and some of the associated issues with dense living, many are also thinking about the environmental impact of urban life and rethinking how to make neighborhoods more sustainable.  This article uses the Denver Lower Downtown (LoDo) neighborhood as its case study for analyzing sustainability with the city.  

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Gregory S Sankey Jr.'s curator insight, November 19, 2013 3:11 PM

Here we have the perfect example of the positive effects associated with gentrification. Unused and weathering space being revitalized and re-purposed for the benefit of local economy and communitites. Not only that but the intention of these projects is to also operate in an ecologically sustainable manner by using as little resources as possible. The occupation of mill space is something that's even been seen here in Providence, most notably the hope artiste building in Pawtucket on the Providence line.

Matthew DiLuglio's curator insight, November 27, 2013 5:38 PM

I have totally thought about this before, and a family that I know just spent the past several months remodeling their house to be more 'green.'  I think that in addition to energy, neighborhoods could have community grow-ops, where they grow all the necessary crops to sustain their area- fruits, vegetables, grains, cotton, etc. and I think that the communities would be cleaner, greener, and brought more together if they had the opportunity to work every day to provide for themselves and their community.  I miss out on a lot of enjoyment in life because I have to do things like school.  Other people miss out because they have work, or other obligations.  I think that if people farmed as communities, it would be economically, environmentally, and socially proficuous, as well as eliminating a need for capitalistic trade with other regions, where people might get cheated.  I have so many ideas of Utopia that I have gotten from reading and philosophizing with friends and acquaintences, but there really are so few people that have the ability to implement anything on a large scale, that I am often frustrated with these concepts of 'betterment.'  It really is sad that people are taught so much these days, because their brains are full of garbage, rather than new possibilities.  It would be really interesting to have an experimental colony where these ideas of sustainability could be tried out, but I think that will happen long after my generation has died.

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Urban Agriculture: Industrial-Sized Rooftop Farm Planned for Berlin

Urban Agriculture: Industrial-Sized Rooftop Farm Planned for Berlin | Geography Education | Scoop.it
It is hardly a logical spot for a farm, but three Berliners have earmarked a massive former factory roof for an unusual urban agriculture venture.

 

Urban agriculture within an industrial landscape is reshaping our cities, food systems and rural areas. What economic factors are making this happen?  What cultural factors explain the growth of this phenomenon?  

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Mr. Gresham's curator insight, April 10, 2014 10:19 AM

I wonder what Von Thunen would think of this!

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NYTimes: The Death of the Fringe Suburb

NYTimes: The Death of the Fringe Suburb | Geography Education | Scoop.it
As demand for housing in walkable neighborhoods rises, we should be investing in carless transit options.

 

Here is an excellent article that ties the economic mortgage crisis with the urban geography of the United States.  This is a good piece to challenge students to think about how the organization of cities matter. 

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Urban Density and Design

http://www.ted.com How can cities help save the future? Alex Steffen shows some cool neighborhood-based green projects that expand our access to things we wa...

 

Urban density and design connected with energy usage and climate change. 


Via Walid Malouf
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Samantha Fuller's curator insight, September 27, 2013 1:44 PM

We think that the climate change has to do with using fossil fuels. And althogh creating a clean sourse of energy is a good plan it doesn't solve everything. Soon we will not be able to create enough energy for everyone who uses it.

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Timelapse - The City Limits

*UPDATE May 10th: Here's a video interview that I did this morning for MSNBC : http://on.msnbc.com/juqWHz ---------- I shot this timelapse montage from late 2010 through early 2011. One year in the making.

 

With the intention of showing the duality between city and nature the time lapse, Dominic Boudreault created a beautiful montage of the urban landscape that is a thought-provoking piece. Locations include Montreal, Quebec, Toronto, New York and Chicago.

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Sustainable cities must be compact and high-density

Sustainable cities must be compact and high-density | Geography Education | Scoop.it
George Monbiot: As the balance of the world's population tips from rural to urban, we need strict urban planning to keep cities from collapse...

This article provides perspectives on the future of urbanization and the ecological framework within which we build our cities. 

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Don Brown Jr's comment, July 9, 2012 8:47 PM
This article makes me think about the organization of urban demographics in Rhode Island. It puts into question the significance of the invisible lines that separate the boarders of Cranston, Central Falls, Pawtucket, Providence and East Providence today.
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The City: San Francisco

http://wtkphotography.com This timelapse is about a year in the making. I started sometime in June of 2010 and finished it on August 19, 2011. It wasn't constant work of course, just working on it every now and then.

 

This is a great video showing the rythms of the city and the dynamic cultural and economic forces in the city.  With time lapse photography, it highlights distinctions between the places of spaces and the places of flows. 

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One Path to Better Jobs: More Density in Cities

One Path to Better Jobs: More Density in Cities | Geography Education | Scoop.it
Building more housing in cities will make them more dense, but everyone will benefit.

 

This is an interesting op-ed that focuses on urban density patterns and the economic structure of the jobs available in the city.  Good to use when discussing economies of scale, market threshold, agglomeration, etc. 

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morgan knight's curator insight, March 10, 2015 10:15 AM

A more dense city might be more productive, but will it always be able to stay that way? A city that is in the middle of a boom will attract a large amount of people seeking jobs, which in just a few years will overpopulate the urban area. It may be better to stay in the suburbs, or even maybe the rural areas of the U.S. Continue to build America's cities, and create more space for people to move into for work.

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Homes across the world, from above

Homes across the world, from above | Geography Education | Scoop.it
View Homes across the world seen from up high pictures on Yahoo!. See Homes across the world seen from up high photos and find more pictures in our photo galleries.

 

This aerial photography gallery shows distinct types of urbanism and is a good portal to introduce a class to suburban landscapes. 

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The Grid at 200: Lines That Shaped Manhattan

The Grid at 200: Lines That Shaped Manhattan | Geography Education | Scoop.it
As “The Greatest Grid: The Master Plan of Manhattan, 1811-2011” at the Museum of the City of New York demonstrates, an 1811 map turned an island into a city that works and walks.

 

This piece on the urban historical geography of New York City includes the city planning aspects that went into developing the city grid.  What makes this article stand out is that it is infused with references to historical urbanist thought as well as the practical city planning aspects of the grid in America's most important city.  The 'interactive map' and 'slideshow' are worth perusing.  

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Urbanizing the Suburban Street

Urbanizing the Suburban Street | Geography Education | Scoop.it
A community tries some relatively pain-free fixes to make its streets greener and more walkable...

 

One of the most challenging aspects of suburbs, and of the prescriptions for improving them, is the character of their roadways. Most of us take the poor design of our streets – the most visible part of most suburban communities, if you think about it – so much for granted that it never occurs to us that they actually could be made better for the community and for the environment.

Consider, for example, main "arterial" streets so wide that pedestrians can’t cross them, even if there is a reason to; little if any greenery to absorb water, heat, or provide a calming influence; or residential streets with no sidewalks.

This is where Montgomery County’s new street-scape initiative comes in. It has done some things right, including the preservation of much of its farmland – in part by channeling growth into the central districts of Bethesda and Silver Spring, both served by D.C.’s rail transit system, and more recently by encouraging walkable redevelopment along the notoriously sprawled-out Rockville Pike corridor.


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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 12:24 PM
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 12, 2013 12:44 AM

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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2012 TED Prize Winner – The City 2.0

2012 TED Prize Winner – The City 2.0 | Geography Education | Scoop.it

"The City 2.0 is the city of the future… a future in which more than ten billion people on planet Earth must somehow live sustainably.  The City 2.0 is not a sterile utopian dream, but a real-world upgrade tapping into humanity’s collective wisdom."

 

What do you see as the best forms of urban patterns for sustainable development in the future?  How could rethinking the city help rethink society? 

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Interactive panoramic view of Paris

Interactive panoramic view of Paris | Geography Education | Scoop.it

From the Eiffel Tower, you can pan and zoom to see the whole city.  This could be a fantastic 'hook' for an urban geography class.  Paris has been the model for so many urban restructuring projects, that this would work nicely as grist for discuss centering on ideas of urbanism (and it's just stunningly gorgeous).  Enjoy playing with this as it is very easy to manipulate and control.   

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elsa hunziker's comment, January 30, 2012 2:19 PM
Feels like you're there! Love this!
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Why cities should dismantle highways

Why cities should dismantle highways | Geography Education | Scoop.it
At TEDxPhilly, Next American City editor at large Diana Lind explains why cities should rethink their highway infrastructure.


For generations, the prominent model of urbanism accepted in the U.S. has placed the automobile as the top priority for public places, placing massive highways right in the middle of key downtown areas.  Some cities (including Denver, DC, NYC, Providence and Dallas) are rethinking the relationship between urban spaces and the transportation networks.  

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Turning Old Gas Stations into Good Urbanism

Turning Old Gas Stations into Good Urbanism | Geography Education | Scoop.it
Aurash Khawarzad looks at three projects that turned crude into gold, as old gas stations are quickly updated into a movie theater, a cafe and a restaurant.

 

Different models of energy usage and urban form would lead to a radically distinct urban environment. 

 

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ALLEGRET Nicolas's curator insight, December 2, 2014 10:46 AM

Ce petit article évoque la réutilisation d'anciennes stations services de carburant pour de nouveaux usages comme en faire des cafés, des restaurants et même des théâtres ! 

 

On pourrait appeler cela de la réhabilitation urbaine ou bien des "changements de destination" de ces bâtiments, ces termes techniques en urbanisme désigne parfaitement l'action qui est menée sur ces projets. 

 

Il faut aussi évoquer qu'en faisant cela les rues voient leur cachet augmenter, il n'y a donc à première vue que des aspects positifs. 

ZiyCharMatt's curator insight, March 3, 2015 8:59 PM

This artice talks about how these old gas stations changed into something urban like Movie theater, malls and etc.

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Large Cities: Where the Skills Are

Large Cities: Where the Skills Are | Geography Education | Scoop.it
Human progress, to a large degree, has depended on the continual expansion of social networks, which enable faster sharing and shaping of ideas. And humanity’s greatest social innovation remains the city.

 

Urban networks depend on increasing interaction and collaboration...and it pays off.  This article details the correlation between population size of a city and the earning potential of its citizens.

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Seth Dixon's comment, October 5, 2011 9:36 PM
My pleasure!
Thomas Robson's curator insight, May 20, 2014 8:34 AM

This article details the correlation between population size of a city and the earning potential of it's citizens. Human progress, to a large degree, has depended on the continual expansion of social networks, which enable faster sharing and shaping of ideas. And humanity’s greatest social innovation remains the city. As our cities grow larger, the synapses that connect them—people with exceptional social skills—are becoming ever more essential to economic growth."The bars on this map show three types of job skills—analytic, social, and physical. The height of each bar is a measure of the average mix of skill within a given city’s labor force—the higher the bar, the more advanced the skill level within that city." 


The fact that the article call them all city is an example of Urban Hierarchy, a theory discussed in our AP Human Geography Urban Unit. This article does not touch on any of the zone models we learned in our unit. The article is able to show through this map that the more analytic jobs there are in a cities Central Business District the higher the average pay the city has. (As evidenced by New York and Boston being much higher then say Albuquerque).  

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Next American City: Trees In Transit

Next American City: Trees In Transit | Geography Education | Scoop.it
Speed bumps, street markings, speed limits and other measures have all been used to create safer conditions for all users of the road. But what about trees?

 

A good link for discussing changes to the urban environment and city planning.


Via Ana Valdés
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elsa hunziker's comment, January 30, 2012 2:26 PM
Bucket list....
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The Ambiguous Triumph of the “Urban Age”

The Ambiguous Triumph of the “Urban Age” | Geography Education | Scoop.it

"At the very moment when urban population has been reported to surpass the rural, this distinction has lost most of its significance, at least in many parts of the affluent world. Two hundred years ago, before automobiles, telephones, the internet and express package services, cities were much more compact and rural life was indeed very different from urban life. Most inhabitants of rural areas were tied to agriculture or industries devoted to the extraction of natural resources. Their lives were fundamentally different from those of urban dwellers."

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Matthew DiLuglio's curator insight, November 27, 2013 5:22 PM

I have spent a lot of time in cities.  I think that urbanization as well as popularity of city-jobs will come to a halt once other planets are colonized.  People will be able to spread out and move towards equilibrium and equality, but right now, cities seem like an excuse to open up potential for danger.  In AVP II: Requiem, the people were ordered to the main area of city for an 'evacuation.'  This evacuation never happened; instead, the area was bombed.  It seems more strategically optimal for foreign or alien invasions to have people living closely in urban areas than it would for them to be spaced out in various country areas.  I know it is terrible to think about that sort of stuff, but the title of this article is "The Ambiguous Triumph of the 'Urban Age,'" and I don't think that cities and urbanization are triumphant at all.  I live in the sticks in Scituate, and I have had so many incredible spiritual experiences in the woods, and deep philosophical discussions with friends there, that I really condemn cities for what it takes away from the spirtual/animal part of being human.  I fear evolution will bring about mass dystopia- as it has done in some countries, and I also do not think that automobiles are a good thing.  I really disapprove of so many things in cities and urban societies, and I am unhappy when I see praise brought into the contexts of terrible achievements that damage the Earth.

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Cycling an Integral Part of Life in NYC

Cycling an Integral Part of Life in NYC | Geography Education | Scoop.it

This article shows an alternate form of urbanism and city planning when the automobile isn't seen as the only form of vehicular transport with spatial needs.  You view a city differently, and experience a city distinctly when peddling through neighborhoods than you do when racing by on an expressway.   "It was recently announced that two-thirds of New Yorkers support bike lanes in their city. Cycling is now, undeniably, an integral part of life in the Big Apple."

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