Geography Education
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Geography Education
Supporting geography educators everywhere with current digital resources.
Curated by Seth Dixon
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50 Reasons to #LoveTheWorld

50 Reasons to #LoveTheWorld | Geography Education |
We asked a range of people, from writers and chefs to musicians and photographers, to share one experience from the last year that truly inspired them – something that, in no uncertain terms, reminded them why they love the world. Madly. Here's what they told us.
Seth Dixon's insight:

Most geographers have more than a little bit of wanderlust.  This BBC article is filled with images, quotes and insights into places all around the globe that fill me will a sense of awe and wonder.  For students that have the curiosity, it our mission as educators to cultivate that and help them frame information about the world into a geographic perspective.  I've always felt that window-seat flyers are have the seed of a geographer embedded within them...let's make sure those seeds can grow. 

Tags: place, tourism.

LEONARDO WILD's curator insight, April 14, 2015 9:45 AM

The World is beautiful, but that is not being advertised except by those who want to make money with its beauty (tourism), or call attention to the fact we are destroying it (ecologists). News of destruction and suffering and corruption fill the news outlets, giving us a warped, one percent view of the planet we live in. The only one we have.

Norka McAlister's curator insight, April 18, 2015 3:22 PM

Traveling around the world exposes all culture, traditions and history that probably you will fall in love with. These outstanding images around the world empathize regions, food, people, space, and how people survive on a daily basis will make your mind travel and enjoy places. In every image, we can take and admire sceneries from every single part of the world. Photography captures every image such of cultures, sceneries and geography for people who cannot afford to travel around world.

Break Dancing, Phnom Penh-Style

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Unkind Architecture: Designing Against the Homeless

Unkind Architecture: Designing Against the Homeless | Geography Education |

"Defensive architecture is revealing on a number of levels, because it is not the product of accident or thoughtlessness, but a thought process. It is a sort of unkindness that is considered, designed, approved, funded and made real with the explicit motive to exclude and harass. It reveals how corporate hygiene has overridden human considerations…"

Seth Dixon's insight:

Geography explores more than just what countries control a certain territory and what landforms are there.  Geography explores the spatial manifestations of power and how place is crafted to fit a particular vision.  Homeless people are essentially always 'out of place.'  These articles from the Society Pagesthe Atlantic and this one from the Guardian share similar things: that urban planners actively design places that will discourage loitering which is undesirable to local businesses.  This gallery shows various defensive architectural tactics to make certain people feel 'out of place.'  Just to show that not all urban designs are anti-homeless, this bench is one that is designed to help the homeless (and here is an ingenious plan to curb public urination).       

Tags: urbanplanning, architecture, landscape, place, poverty.

Norka McAlister's curator insight, April 5, 2015 7:58 PM

The government should try to develop better methods to keep homeless out of the street. Planning and designating a place to the homeless group by offering better conditions, will change the problem.  As the architects have new ideas to resolve a problem with the homeless, they should also be formulating ideas to prevent homelessness such as providing feasible shelter on the street. Part of the problem is that shelters should be marketed in the communities. Local businesses, policies and general communities could be more active in helping these minority groups to get aid and better their life. Cities should provide more programs and aid for the homeless group. 

Eden Eaves's curator insight, May 24, 2015 8:07 PM

These structures such as benches with dividers that make it impossible to lie down, spikes and protrusions on window ledges and in front of store windows, forests of pointed cement structures under bridges and freeways, emissions of high pitched sounds, and sprinklers that intermittently go off on sidewalks to prevent camping overnight are very rude and without a shadow of a doubt send a message to the homeless that they aren't welcomed, and we will do whatever it takes to make sure they cannot be comfortable; even something as simple as sitting on a windowsill.  

Logan Haller's curator insight, May 25, 2015 7:11 PM

This article deals with unit 7 because it discusses architecture and new  things in cities. In some cities they have defensive architecture to make it harder for homeless people to live. For example benches with dividers, and pointed cement structures under bridges. This tells the homeless they are unwanted and that others don't care about them.Some corporations have turned to aggressive ways to keep out homeless and the article says the government is denying it. In addition there are few resources to help the homeless and what they do have is insufficient. It also notes that free shelters are very rare. The author says that we should worry a little more about the homeless because "given just the right turn of events, it could happen to us."

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What’s in a Nickname? In the case of Chiraq, a Whole Lot

What’s in a Nickname? In the case of Chiraq, a Whole Lot | Geography Education |

"Nicknames are important branding strategies used by civic boosters, and Chicago’s namesakes are frequently employed to market the city and its surrounding region as 'The Jewel of the Midwest' and 'Heart of America.' At the same time, urban monikers can arise from the wider public and they have sometimes been used to draw attention to negative qualities of Chicago life."

Seth Dixon's insight:

Is it Londonderry or just Derry?  Xinjiang or Eastern Turkestan?  The Sea of Japan or the East Sea?  Persian Gulf or Arabian Gulf?  Names and nicknames have political and cultural overtones that can be very important.  As the author of this AAG article on the Chicago's nickname, Chiraq says, "city nicknames are more than a gimmick; they can define geographies of violence, marginalization, and resistance."

Tags: Chicago, urban, place, language, toponyms.

Norka McAlister's curator insight, March 15, 2015 8:07 PM

Illinois has been stigmatized by many negative nicknames such as "Killinois," "Shot-town," and "Chiraq." Urban crime hs always been a problem in the city of Chicago, and the most remarkable areas are on the south side of Chicago. High unemployment, poor neighborhoods, and lack of parenting/mentoring, and failing school districts all contribute to the number of young people turning to steet crime in order for survival. With so many gangs acitivities on the street, Chiraq is a city of violence and war. Chaos on the street and the killings of many innocent people increasing, government  officials needs to react with strict regulations in order to stop this violence. Poor economic status has played a significant role in the deterioration of the city. Citizen who were once classified as middle have become a part of the poor class. The relocation of housing projects in proximity to wealthier communities has instilled fear of the expansion of gang violence and activity within residents of these communities.

Lauren Quincy's curator insight, March 19, 2015 12:53 PM

Unit 3: Cultural Practices and Processes


This article is about how Chicago's many nicknames represent its culture and people's sense of the place. Many people have began to call Chicago by the name of "Chiraaq" and mixture of Iraq and Chicago. This is due to the violences in the city and resemblence to the action in Iraq. The nickname’s power, politically, is the way in which naming functions as a form of shaming and the name has been advertised on shirts, posters and even songs putting it into the category of pop-culture. As suggested in research, place names are not confined to official nomenclature on maps, but also include competing, vernacular systems of naming. Chicago’s many nicknames provide insight into the different ways that people frame and reconfigure the image of the city for the wider world.

This relates to unit 3 because it deals with vernacular regions and popular culture. The different names of Chicago are often not defined with a definite boundary of the city, rather an individuals opinion or idea of the area. They are often very vague with the names such as "Paris on the Prairie" that not only include Chicago but neighboring towns and cities as well. Or the opposite, where the name "Sweet Home" may only be referring to a portion of the city rather than the entire city of Chicago. The names, such as Chiraq, also fall under pop-culture when they become a widely known idea and are adopted by many sources. The advertisement and use of the nickname in songs and merchandise shows the wide range of distribution for the nickname. The use of the word is often changing and will be popular for a short period of time as popular culture is always changing. 

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Is Your Neighborhood Changing? It Might Be Youthification, Not Gentrification

Is Your Neighborhood Changing? It Might Be Youthification, Not Gentrification | Geography Education |
One urban planning professor has defined this as a process that occurs in discrete stages.

Much has been made of the wave of millennials moving to cities. In intriguing new work, geographer and urban planner Markus Moos of the University of Waterloo gives the phenomenon a name: “youthification.” Moos defines youthfication as the “influx of young adults into higher density” cities and neighborhoods. And in some ways these neighborhoods are “forever young,” where new cohorts of young people continue to move in as families and children cycle out in search of more space.

Tags: neighborhood, gentrificationurban, place, culture, economic.

Cass Allan's curator insight, February 17, 2015 7:45 PM

Changing neighbourhoods

ZiyCharMatt's curator insight, February 20, 2015 12:09 PM

This city talks about which cities in the United States have the largest amounts of young and old residents. This is important because those cities with large amounts of young people (like Austin) are likely to be on the cutting edge of innovation and it is those cities that we can look to to show the rest of the nation the future of urban design. I believe that this article is very interesting and provides a good insight into which parts of the country are advancing quickly and which parts are sating rooted in the past.


-Charles Bradbury

Luis Cesar Nunes's curator insight, September 30, 2015 7:27 AM


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1940s Urbanism

"This is a film by the Chicago Board Of Education, produced sometime in the 1940s. This film could have been geared towards tourism or to entice companies to come to Chicago or used in the classroom.  The great thing about this film reel, is all the different views of the city they give."

Tags: Chicago, urban, place, landscape,  video, urbanism.

Lora Tortolani's curator insight, February 2, 2015 7:04 PM

I love Chicago!  Such a beautiful and clean city.

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The economic threat to cities isn't gentrification; it's the opposite

The economic threat to cities isn't gentrification; it's the opposite | Geography Education |
Many urban neighborhoods are places of concentrated poverty, and it's killing opportunity in the US.

American cities are growing, and as they grow, they're adding lots of high-poverty neighborhoods. Nearly three times as many "high-poverty" census tracts existed in 2010 as in 1970.  That's unsettling on its face but even more so when you see the havoc a poor neighborhood can wreak on a resident's chances at a good life. Forget gentrification — this is a bigger problem. 

The chart above tallies up the people living in these neighborhoods in 1970 and 2010. What it shows is that the number of people living in high-poverty neighborhoods — those with poverty rates of 30 percent or more — has roughly doubled since 1970. That's because these neighborhoods of concentrated poverty have a tendency to stay that way, even while new ones sprout up.

Tags: urban, unit 7 cities, housing, economic, povertyplace, socioeconomic, neighborhood.

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Forget Midwest. We Are North: Repositioning Minnesota's National Identity for the 21st Century

Forget Midwest. We Are North: Repositioning Minnesota's National Identity for the 21st Century | Geography Education |

“The Midwest is this big nebulous part of the country and it's kind of what's left over after all the other regions of the country are defined. Those regions have much stronger identities if you think of the East Coast or maybe New England or the Pacific Northwest or certainly the South. The Midwest is kind of the catchall for what's left.  We [Minnesota] should be called the North.”

Seth Dixon's insight:

Whether I agree or not with the ideas being discussed, I simply love that this discussion is taking place and how intensely geographical the ideas and evidences being brought forward are.  

Questions to Ponder: So what region do you live in?  What defines that region?  Are there other regions that you can claim to be a part of also?  How would you divide the United States into various regions?  How come?

Tagsplaceregions, culture

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Cityscapes of Chicago

Cityscape Chicago II is a personal timelapse piece that I have worked on periodically over the past two years. The inspiration behind the project ties similarly with the original piece. As the city of Chicago continues to change, my fascination with it grows as well. The goal for me is always to capture the city in a unique way from new perspectives, and to continue exploring it.

Tags: Chicago, urban, place, landscape,  video.

Seth Dixon's insight:

A little closer to my home and workplace, here is a similar video about Providence, Rhode Island.

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Geographic Influences of Skating

"Dogtown and Z-Boys: A documentary about the pioneering 1970s Zephyr skating team."

Seth Dixon's insight:

Popular culture is shaped by taste-makers, counter-cultural movements, and the blending of cultural practices in new ways creating a distinct aesthetic. Often, the physical geography of a region plays a crucial role in shaping the cultural practices particular to their environment. All of that can be seen quite vividly in the colorful skating revolution of the 1970s that took shape in the Southern California. Kids who grew up idolizing surfers branched out their recreational habits into the modern form of skating that we see today at the X Games. Made legendary through a series of Skateboarder magazine articles, these kids shaped the cultural ethos of skateboarding for over a generation. With the coastal influence of surfing, the socioeconomics of a seaside slum, it’s abandoned piers, the ubiquity of cement and asphalt in the urban landscape, the run-down neighborhood of “Dogtown” was home to cultural movement. The fierce droughts of the 1970 meant abandoned swimming pools; that drought led surfers to the technological infrastructure for modern skating ramps and half pipes as they skated in emptied swimming pools. As stated in those Skaterboarder articles, “two hundred years of American technology has unwittingly created a massive cement playground of unlimited potential. But it was the minds of 11 year olds that could see that potential.” The documentary “Dogtown and Z-Boys” (trailer) and the fictionalized “Lords of Dogtown,” (trailer) both produced by skater turned filmmaker Stacy Peralta, chronicle the age (“Lords of Dogtown” is not appropriate for the K-12 classroom viewing).

Tags: place, spacesport, California, landscapevideo, popular culture, music.

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For Yazidis, Exile From Spiritual Homeland in Iraq Dilutes Ancient Culture

For Yazidis, Exile From Spiritual Homeland in Iraq Dilutes Ancient Culture | Geography Education |
Some are contemplating migration, severing ties to their holy land. Others want to stay and protect their shrines.
Seth Dixon's insight:

When we discuss the geography of religion, frequently we are discussing the distribution of particular religions.  However, some religions are deeply embedded in particular places and their spiritual rites, customs and traditions are intrinsically linked with sacred spaces and particular geographies.  The Yazidi are are religious group that is deeply connected to the mountains of northern Iraq--areas that are now being evacuated because of ISIS.  Some are contemplating migrating to safety, but severing their ties to their holy land. Others want to stay and protect their sacred spaces.

Tagsplace, culture religion, Middle East.

Kaitlin Young's curator insight, December 14, 2014 12:07 PM

"I cannot leave Lalish, or live without it," Pir Said said. "People, whoever they might be, are most present in their own land. When they leave it, they disappear—they melt into other communities. We're present here as a community in Lalish. If we leave, we think we will be weakened."

Many religions are incredibly tied to place. The Yazidis in Irag are a religious minority that blends ancient Mesopotamian beliefs and Zoroastrianism with Christian, Jewish, and Sufi influences. They are incredibly tied to the land, and fear that being chased out will ultimately end in the weakening of their religious community. Yazidis are no strangers to this, and in the recent past they have lost entire villages to Hussein's Arabization project. For the Yazidis, their religion is much more a way of life than just a spiritual belief. Like many different peoples, they fear that being forced to move will cause their religious community to be taken over by the beliefs and lifestyles of where they have to live.  

Molly McComb's curator insight, March 21, 2015 3:59 PM

The Yazidis are loosing their spiritual identity due to their exile from Iraq. They are being forced out of the country and it is slowly diluting the diversity in their religion as they are becoming more spread out and great cultural artifacts are lost. 

Nicholas A. Whitmore's curator insight, December 16, 2015 5:11 PM

I interesting story. It reminds me of all the unique small cultural groups mentioned in Strabo's Geography. Unfortunately as is the case o most small groups historically is they were either eradicated or assimilated. This group seems to have only a choice between those two and may not be able to preserve themselves. ISIS eradication or Western assimilation. It is unfortunate this is the historical cycle or that so soon after Saddam's fall they once again had to flee. Their culture/religion I do find odd though given it is a mixture of everything that has been in that region for over 2000 years and seems to only have identity because it has been rejected by every other group. To me it lacks identity in and of itself but that is a discussion for another time. Also geographically being a hill people they are disadvantaged because they have historically lower numbers (due to poor agriculture) in addition to the fact that most people who lived in the plains saw hill peoples as savages and uncivilized because they took longer to create settlements and often raided lowland peoples as well (history likes to rhyme sometimes). Overall the best solution for this situation geographically perhaps would be to give them an enclave in a mountainous portion of another country so they could retain their identity and be safe for the time being.

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Remembering the Real Violence in Ferguson

Remembering the Real Violence in Ferguson | Geography Education |

"Violence has a geography and for this reason, geography lies at the center of discussions of violence. Within the United States a myriad of taken for granted assumptions about identity, place, power, and memory undergird the nation’s psyche.  These normative interpretations intersect with a particular kind of geographic formulation that places persons of color in general, but black men most specifically, at the center of the violent structures of the nation."

Seth Dixon's insight:

This isn't merely commentary about social upheaval or some musing about the social inequities (I think we've all read a ton of those articles).  This is a geographic analysis that discusses the interactions, interconnections and implications of a social and spatial conflict between citizens and the institutions of the state.  Ferguson, MO is undoubtedly a lightning rod today and some might prefer to avoid discussing it in a classroom setting; I find that as long as we put analysis before ideology, issues such as these show students the relevance and importance of geographic principles to their lives. 

Tags: race, class, gender, place, poverty, socioeconomic.

Rob Duke's comment, September 19, 2014 12:58 AM
Seth, yes, couldn't agree more. I think this is a great example where our fields can be complementary in theory and the tools we use.
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Stop Complaining About Gentrification Unless You Know What It Is

Stop Complaining About Gentrification Unless You Know What It Is | Geography Education |

"In many cities, it's become popular to hate 'gentrifiers,' rich people who move in and drive up housing prices -- pushing everyone else out. But what's going on in these rapidly-changing urban spaces is a lot more complicated than that."

Seth Dixon's insight:

Gentrification can be a very touchy subject.  What appears to be economic revitalization of a down-trodden neighborhood to one, can appear to be systematic removal of minorities to another.  This op-ed isn't a whole-hearted embrace of gentrification, but it might be seen as a critique of the gentrification critics.


Tags: neighborhood, gentrificationurban, place, culture, economic.

Amber Coleman's curator insight, May 11, 10:59 AM
This article relates to my class because we have just discussed the idea of gentrification. I understood that gentrification was the immigration of richer people to poorer areas, but I didn't realize that it was to the point that people would completely loose their homes. However, I know that it is happening because of urbanization. 
Lucas Olive's curator insight, May 11, 2:38 PM
This article relates to what we have been learning in class because this article explains what gentrification is, which is a big part of urbanization. My opinion on gentrification is that it is not good for most people in the area that is being gentrified, it's only good for a few people, usually they're rich.
Kassie Geiger's curator insight, May 12, 11:50 PM
Gentrification is the process of converting an urban neighborhood from a predominantly low-income, renter-occupied area to a predominantly middle-class, owner-occupied area. To be completely honest I can see how gentrification can be a good thing and a bad thing. The bad part about it is that people could be possibly moving out of a childhood home or a home with sentimental value. While on the other hand it could be a good thing by building new more modern housing that could check the boxes of people "needs" when they are looking to buy a house, especially first-time buyers. They may want a house with a up-to-date kitchen, 4 or 5 bedrooms, an up-to-date bath or two. I can totally understand that to get things how you want them to be in an older house can be extremely difficult and costly. However, some people may want an older house to pass onto their children, to grow old in. 
That's pretty much all I have to say about gentrification without going completely off topic.
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Google Maps Smarty Pins

Google Maps Smarty Pins | Geography Education |
Smarty Pins is a Google Maps based geography and trivia game.
Seth Dixon's insight:

As stated in a review of Smarty Pins on Mashable, "Google unveiled a fun new game this week that tests players' geography and trivia skills.  Called 'Smarty Pins' the game starts players off with 1,000 miles (or 1,609 kilometers if they're not based in the United States), and asks them to drop a pin on the city that corresponds with the correct answer to a given question." 

This game is wonderfully addictive...I haven't enjoyed a mapping trivia platform this much since I discovered GeoGuessr.  I answered 38 questions before I ran out of far did you get?  

Tagsgoogle, fun, mapping, place, trivia.

flea palmer's curator insight, July 7, 2014 10:33 AM

This is really good fun - I got gold (14/15) not sure how many miles though!

Tom Franta's curator insight, July 10, 2014 9:54 AM

An interesting way to get anyone interacting with Google Maps...

MsPerry's curator insight, August 12, 2014 7:42 PM


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Japan's Disappearing Villages

Japan's Disappearing Villages | Geography Education |
In the small town of Nagoro, population 35, one woman is trying to save her village from extinction by creating life-sized dolls for every inhabitant who either dies or moves away.
Seth Dixon's insight:

Japan has experienced rural to urban migration for decades now; simultaneously, Japan's fertility rates have dropped far below replacement level.  While Tokyo is still bustling, small villages are shrinking to the point of disappearing.  This is a haunting and yet touching tribute to these emerging ghost towns.  It seems like a memorial to enshrine a sense of place before the memory of this place is forever eradicated--like a an earthen dam .  

Tags: Japan, declining population, population, demographics, unit 2 population, East Asialandscape, place.

Lora Tortolani's curator insight, April 20, 2015 1:43 PM

Due to urban migration, this village of Nagoro is said to be one of 10,000 small towns that will disappear in Japan.  I've been to some small towns in Japan and can say there is so much more culture in these villages than there is in the big cities.  I got a totally different feeling in my sole than when I ended my trip in Tokyo.  While both parts of the country have its pros and cons, it is terrible to think that these villages will be defeated to the rise of urbanism.   

Tanya Townsend's curator insight, November 16, 2015 9:01 PM

It has been estimated that in the coming years 80% of people will live within mega cities. This is that statistic unraveling before our eyes. It is really sad to me because these within these small villages is a culture that is almost like an art in its own right. It is clear to see the impacts it has on the remaining villagers.


Nicholas A. Whitmore's curator insight, December 16, 2015 4:38 PM

A depressing but also fascinating situation in Japan. Their Urban migration coupled by an aging population is wiping out their villages around the country. One women has even apparently been filling the village with dolls to make it seem more populated. How she got her neighbors to approve and where all the resources and money came from to pull that off who knows. However what is being witness now is a change in demographic but also one in geography since the village in 30 or so years could be reclaimed by the wilderness while the cities expand and have to cope with the influx taking away more wild land. Hopefully Japan gets this straightened out for they currently seem to be having the exact opposite demographic problem of China and India.

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Viva Gentrification!

Viva Gentrification! | Geography Education |

"In Highland Park, as in other Latino barrios of Los Angeles, gentrification has produced an undeniable but little appreciated side effect: the end of decades of de facto racial segregation. It's possible to imagine a future in which 'the hood' passes into memory.  Racial integration is on the upswing.  For all the fortitude and pride you'll find in Latino barrios, no one wants to live in a racially segregated community or attend a racially segregated school."  

Tags: neighborhood, gentrificationurban, place, culture, economic, California, Los Angeles.

Shane C Cook's curator insight, May 27, 2015 5:57 AM

Another testament to why gentrification is effective yet harmful to the political status of a country or area, not producing accurate results to fit the people's needs.

Timothée Mariau's curator insight, December 13, 2015 12:28 PM

Cet article parle de la gentrification dans le quartier d'Highland Park à Los Angeles. Ce quartier est un quartier avec une population majoritairement hispanique est constitué durant les dernières années une enclave résidentielle pour les habitants. Ce quartier était un symbole de la ségrégation raciale que connaissent une partie des villes américaines avec une concentration d'une seule population d'une seule origine ethnique dans le même quartier sans mixité sociale. Mais ces dernières années le quartier a été touché par un processus de gentrification qui a été plutôt bien accepté par les populations du quartier car cela a apporté de la mixité sociale dans le quartier avec l'arrivée de populations plus aisées provenant de différentes communautés et qui ont également créé des commerces dans le quartier. Cette gentrification qui est la plupart du temps vue d'un mauvais œil par les anciens résidents du quartier est ici acceptée car elle bénéficie en partie à la population du quartier, de plus la communauté hispanique est très importante culturellement et le fait savoir. Il y a donc une intégration des nouveaux arrivants mais en gardant tout de même l'identité originelle du quartier qui est très forte.

Andrea J Galan's curator insight, February 23, 2016 12:24 PM

Andrea's Inshight: I feel like the author is trying to make himself sound a little bit above the "barrio" when he says "multiethnic mount Washington".  And then  continues by  sarcastically mentioning the charms and dysfunctions of the neighborhood. At first I was put off because I've never viewed HLP as a barrio. When I see that word I think of a ghetto slum. Which I don't think my nieghboorhood ever is. I've always viewed it as a working class neighborhood. I just dont like the barrio I think it puts a negative connotation towards the neighborhood.

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A Sheriff And A Doctor Team Up To Map Childhood Trauma

A Sheriff And A Doctor Team Up To Map Childhood Trauma | Geography Education |

"The research shows that kids who have tough childhoods — because of poverty, abuse, neglect, or witnessing domestic violence, for instance — are actually more likely to be sick when they grow up. They're more likely to get diseases like asthma, diabetes and heart disease. And they tend to have shorter lives than people who haven't experienced those difficult events as kids."

Seth Dixon's insight:

The hotspot maps of crime and poverty are correlated (not a big surprise), but this is another example of using spatial data to drive public policy.  After making these initially correlations, they noticed a total lack of services, including medical care in the area that needed it most.  This podcast is the story on how geographic analysis gave birth to a "clinic on wheels."

Tagsmedical, mapping, GISspatial, neighborhoodpodcast, urban, place, poverty.

Linda Denty's curator insight, March 15, 2015 7:45 PM

This is surely the case globally, not just in USA.

Lauren Quincy's curator insight, March 19, 2015 1:23 PM

Unit 1 Geography: Its Nature and Perspectives 

This article is about Dr. Nancy Hardt and her work in the Gainesville area to decrease poverty, abuse and neglect. The research shows that kids who have tough childhoods due to poverty, abuse, neglect or witnessing domestic violence are more likely to be sick when they grow up and they tend to have shorter lives than people who haven't experienced difficult events as kids. By looking at Medicaid records, she made a map that showed exactly where Gainesville children were born into poverty. She worked with others to  determine that the area also had high crime rate including domestic violence and child abuse. Hardt visited this area and noted hunger, substandard housing and a lack of services, including medical care. She converted an old schoolbus into the "clinic on wheels" where patients could walk in without an appointment and get treatment free of charge. Hardt also opened the SWAG Center where kids can come play all day long. There's a food pantry, free meals, a computer room, AA meetings and a permanent health clinic is about to open up across the street. 


This relates to unit 1 because it deals with the analyzation of maps to determine the connection to a phenomena. Dr. Hardt took many maps of crime, poverty and hunger to show one area that was high in all areas. She then interpreted the maps to conclude that people in this area later obtained many illnesses and shorter lifespans. She worked with this information to create the solution of child safe places and medical centers to help reduce the outcome. This shows how important maps can be by looking at patters spatially. 

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Remember the Alamo

Remember the Alamo | Geography Education |

"The battle between the Alamo garrison and Mexican President Santa Anna’s forces reads like a Shakespearian tragedy: greatly outnumbered, all the Texan defenders died. Even the men who surrendered were killed, fueling the outrage and critical mass required to swell the Texan army, become an independent republic, and in time choose to be annexed by the United States."

Seth Dixon's insight:

When we talk about sacred space we often think about religious sites first.  Places like the Alamo or Ground Zero can be seen as critical parts of a national identity and as secular sacred spaces.  Powerful social groups carefully construct memorials at places to strengthen a communal identity.  What makes them tricky is they don’t mean the same thing to everyone—even within a cultural group. 

Tagspodcast, Maps 101, historical, place.

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11 Signs Your Hood Is Being Gentrified

11 Signs Your Hood Is Being Gentrified | Geography Education |
A Washington, D.C., resident describes the changes and privilege that have moved into her longtime neighborhood.

Tags: neighborhood, gentrificationurban, place, culture, economicWashington DC.

Emily Bian's curator insight, March 22, 2015 8:48 PM

7) Uneven development, zones of abandonment, disamenity, and gentrification

This article was written by a woman who noticed a lot of changes in Washington D.C. Gentrification led to these many changes, by becoming not as unique and urbanizing at other people's expense. She describes gentrification as remodeling very quickly and ferociously. A lot of the things she says are for the general good of the people, like installing street lights, but don't take into consideration the people who don't appreciate the changes. Stores like walmart are taking over the family owned stores, and more people are moving in. 

This article describes gentrification perfectly, and I like her pictures to go along with it. I think this would help introduce this vocab term to new students. 

Lydia Tsao's curator insight, March 24, 2015 12:29 AM

Sadly, gentrification happens all across the world. Poor populations in cities are disadvantaged and often have to move out due to wealthier populations moving in. One of the signs I found most disturbing was that police will start patrolling the areas where wealthier and poorer populations mix. This is a sad reality. Police do this to ensure that crime rates are low as poor people would be more tempted to commit crimes in wealthier neighborhoods. I do think this police patrolling has racist roots since the poorer population in Washington D.C. is mostly black. Words like "renewal" and "redevelopment" hide the sad reality behind gentrification/

Ricardo Cabeza de Vaca's curator insight, May 25, 2015 9:36 PM

I believe this article is very interesting because it shows how gentrification can change a neighborhood. I believe gentrification is a little bit of a negative thing because it adds geographical uniformity to our modern society and yes that could be good thing in measure. The article states now police patrol every street, Walmart's and 7-11's start showing up, areas will start becoming more aesthetically pleasing, but is that really a good thing? I believe that sometimes while you are driving by it is better to have a change in your surrounding, rather than seeing the same thing over and over again even if it is more modern.

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How a Buddhist shrine transformed a neighborhood

How a Buddhist shrine transformed a neighborhood | Geography Education |

"Sometimes, rehabilitating a rough neighborhood is a tough process. But in one West Coast American city, it was as simple as adding a Buddha statue.  Since the statue's installation, a street corner has been transformed from a notorious eyesore to a daily prayer spot for local Vietnamese Buddhists.  For this Geo Quiz, we're looking for the city where this shrine is located — can you name it?"

Seth Dixon's insight:

This podcast is a great glimpse into an urban transformation that took place without any central planning nor can the changes be classified as gentrification. 

Tags: neighborhood, place, culture, economic, urban.

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The Great Mosque of Djenné

The Great Mosque of Djenné, Mali, is a magnet for tourists, but it is increasingly difficult for locals to live a normal life around it.
Seth Dixon's insight:

This New York Times short video is an intriguing glimpse into some of the cultural pressures behind having the designation of being an official world heritage site.  The great mosque combined with the traditional mud-brick feel to the whole city draws in tourists and is a source of communal pride, but many homeowners want to modernize and feel locked into traditional architecture by outside organizations that want them to preserve an 'authentic' cultural legacy.

Tags: Islam, tourism, place, religion, culture, historical, community, Mali, Africa.

Edgar Manasseh Jr.'s curator insight, January 22, 2015 6:41 PM


Benjamin Jackson's curator insight, December 13, 2015 5:50 PM

it is horrifying that a government could force people to live in abject poverty and that the only source of income in this area is a tourist trap that needs to be rebuilt every few years in its entirety.

Adam Deneault's curator insight, December 14, 2015 6:22 PM

This major tourist attraction site is very interesting, a mosque made of just mud. Everything is mud besides the mosque, business and individual homes. So unfortunately for the citizens, this is not a great place to live. Since this place is historic, outside sources such as the UN do not really want to help the people out because they want the city of Djenne to be preserved as a historic site and they want everything to be as if it was ages ago, they will not even allow interior redesign. It seems though as if the only money they will ever receive is pretty much tourist money,  They do want to modernize, but in a way that keeps the history visible. they have failed to modernize in other sectors, such as garbage disposal. their garage is destroying their water which is running through their streets and making the water quality bad, which in turn, makes the mud quality bad for building.

Suggested by Mike Busarello's Digital Storybooks!

Baltimore's painted screens

"Jan Crawford explores a unique folk art tradition going back 100 years - once seen on nearly every row house in the working class neighborhoods of Baltimore, as artists today once again embrace the tradition of painted window screens, an authentic connection to the city's past."

Seth Dixon's insight:

This is tremendous example of an urban cultural landscape that is distinctive to a certain place (Baltimore) and a particular time period.  The practice of painting landscape scene on window screens began over 100 years ago, as a way to beat the heat, but still afford some form of privacy.  This aesthetic emerged out of particular set of cultural, technological, and economic factors. What was once common is now perceived as a folk art that is a worth preserving because it is a marker of the local heritage.  This is an excellent example to demonstrate a sense of place that can develop within a community.  This video has been added to my ESRI StoryMap that spatially organizes place-based videos for the geography classroom (68 and counting).   

Tags: place, landscapeart, folk cultures, videoculture, community.

Kevin Barker's curator insight, October 24, 2014 9:22 AM

An excellent example of a localized cultural landscape characteristic that is a result of cultural diffusion that formed for economic as well as environmental factors.

Suggested by Thomas Schmeling!

50 Years Ago, A Fluid Border Made The U.S. 1 Square Mile Smaller

50 Years Ago, A Fluid Border Made The U.S. 1 Square Mile Smaller | Geography Education |
Since Texas became a state, the Rio Grande has marked the border between the U.S. and Mexico. But, like rivers do, it moved. In 1964, the U.S. finally gave back 437 acres of land.

Ever since Texas became a state, the river has been the border between the two countries. But rivers can move — and that's exactly what happened in 1864, when torrential rains caused it to jump its banks and go south. Suddenly the border was in a different place, and Texas had gained 700 acres of land called the Chamizal (pronounced chah-mee-ZAHL), so named for a type of plant that grew there.

Tags: Mexico, migration, borders, political, place, podcast.   

Alec Castagno's curator insight, December 4, 2014 1:12 PM

This article highlights one of the problems of tying political boundaries to the physical environment. When the Rio Grande moved further south it was in the United States' favor, and they happily accepted the extra land, despite the complaints of Mexico. It wasn't until 100 years later when the US feared the potential of Mexico straying during the Cold War that they decided to handle the issue. This shows some of the issues that can arise when placing rigid political definitions on the fluid and changing landscape.

Bob Beaven's curator insight, February 5, 2015 2:15 PM

This article is highly interesting because it shows just how "obnoxious" the concept of a border (a man made concept) actually is.  I found it interesting that the border could move that much due to the Rio Grande flooding.  It seems to me that it was a hasty decision on the part of the politicians who set the Rio Grande as the border between the United States and Mexico.  I also found it interesting that how in the 1960's, the United States forced people out of their homes when they were going to cede the land back to Mexico.  Because it was part of an effort to keep them allied with the US during the Cold War.  Also, it was highly interesting how the US built a cement casing around the river to keep it from moving.  Like Trillo says at the end of the article, "There's only so much control a man can do on a river. Sooner or later...the river is gonna do what Mother Nature has taught it to do — to move."

Chris Costa's curator insight, September 21, 2015 10:08 AM

I find this absolutely fascinating; I have never heard of a border moving in such a way! The implications that this deal had for the residents of that disputed territory show the power that geography can have both on global politics and much closer to home. I also find it astounding that the Rio Grande was able to shift that much over the course of only 100 years. One square mile is an awful lot of ground to cover when one thinks of rivers as being relatively stationary- do all rivers shift in such a manner, or is the Rio Grande more active than normal in this regard? And if so, why? I wonder if there are any similar examples in other parts of the world where the fluidity of geography has impacted political boundaries in such a way, as I feel as though this is the first time I've come across this particular kind of story. A fantastic read, I highly recommend it.

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Burning Man and Ephemeral Geographies

"An aerial perspective on Burning Man 2013, in Black Rock Playa, NV"

Seth Dixon's insight:

This annual arts festival with a strong counter-cultural ethos literally is an experiment in producing alternative urban and cultural geographies that reject normative regulations embedded within societies. These geographies created last only about a week, as an escape from the regular strictures of society. Burning Man celebrates alternative spiritualities and creates monuments to impermanence while allowing people to wear zany costumes. Many feel that in leaving behind ‘the real world’ they find their true home at Burning Man. The ephemeral alternative geographies then fade back into the desert but not without creating a visually remarkable place. Some feel that the festival has become too popular and famous to be what it truly was intended to be as the rich and famous descend on the playa as well.

Questions to Ponder: Part of Burning Man’s success is due to its impermanence; if this community were created to exist year-round, would it still work? Why or why not? Why do festivals like this attract so many? What does it culturally say about the participants and the societies that they leave behind?

Tags: communityplace, architectureimages, art, landscape.

Barbara Goebel's curator insight, September 13, 2014 11:58 AM

Fascinating topic for research...connect it to ecology themes, economics, psychology...what else?

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America’s coal heartland is in economic freefall

America’s coal heartland is in economic freefall | Geography Education |
The coal economy in Central Appalachia is in an unprecedented freefall. Which isn't making it easier for workers to move on.
Seth Dixon's insight:

West Virginia and 'coal country' are in steep economic decline, but that doesn't mean people are eager to leave.  Leaving for many is a last resort, but when residents feel a familial and emotional connection to a place--to the land--that can create a rationale for staying that is stronger than economic push factors.  This video set in West Virgina captures the strong sense of place and community that can exist in a place even in in the face of tough times economic prospects.  Geographer Ben Marsh wrote about in a 1987 Annals article: "The residents of the anthracite towns of northeastern Pennsylvania show a considerable loyalty to a landscape that provides them with little of material value. This should remind the observer that any broad concept of place must address two different aspects of a landscape: the physical support it provides (means) and the intangible rewards it offers (meaning). "


Tagseconomicplace, industry, location, migration, APHG, poverty, socioeconomic.

James Hobson's curator insight, September 15, 2014 5:58 PM

(North America post 3)
Built upon from class today, this article discusses the hardship many Appalachian families are feeling as the coal mining business continues to evolve and industrialize. Although coal was the major 'boom' behind many of these towns, the 'bust' hits more than just those laid off by the industry. Like a chain reaction, other families and their businesses suffer; less income leads to less eating out leads to less income for restaurants, and it goes on and on.  This article is also good at showing that geography is more than spatial and economic: on certain levels, it's also relational, personal, cultural, and historic, giving residents strong feelings behind their decisions to stay.

Alec Castagno's curator insight, September 23, 2014 10:44 AM

This video really shows the relationship between sense of place versus economic geography. Even though the town is no longer the rich mining town it once was, the remaining residents still cling to the past and their sense of identity remains strong. It demonstrates that cultural heritage is a powerful factor that can remain long after dramatic economic changes. Even though there are few opportunities left in the town and the majority of its young people leave for greener pastures, some residents still identify so strongly with the area that they are willing to do whatever they can to revitalize their town.

Luke Walker's curator insight, October 3, 2014 3:42 AM

This is relevant to early posts about coalfields in West Virginia.

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How Cities Use Design to Drive Homeless People Away

How Cities Use Design to Drive Homeless People Away | Geography Education |

"Saying 'you're not welcome here'—with spikes."

Seth Dixon's insight:

Geography explores more than just what countries control a certain territory and what landforms are there.  Geography explores the spatial manifestations of power and how place is crafted to fit a particular vision.  Homeless people are essentially always 'out of place.'  This article from the Atlantic and this one from the Guardian share similar things: that urban planners actively design places that will discourage loitering which is undesirable to local businesses.  This gallery shows various defensive architectural tactics to make certain people feel 'out of place.'  Just to show that not all urban designs are anti-homeless, this bench is one that is designed to help the homeless.     

Tags: urbanplanning, architecture, landscape, place.

Michael MacNeil's curator insight, August 2, 2014 8:38 AM

Lack of understanding of mental disability can lead to heartlessness. There is so much that needs to be done.

dilaycock's curator insight, August 3, 2014 3:50 AM

I'd never really taken notice, or heard of some,  of the architectural deterrents mentioned here. I can't believe that we, as a society, go to such lengths to make life even more difficult for those already struggling. 

MsPerry's curator insight, August 12, 2014 6:52 PM