This cycling blog occasionally will have some political and urban commentary, especially arguing for more bike paths within our urban areas.
Global news with a spatial perspective: Interesting, current supplemental materials for geography teachers and students.
Curated by Seth Dixon
A five-part, multimedia series on the coming dystopia that is urbanization.
This is a great introduction to the explosion of the slums within megacities. This video as a part of the article is especially useful. Click on the title to read the accompanying article.
A few years ago, at a highway safety conference in Savannah, Ga., I drifted into a conference room where a sign told me a “Pedestrian Safety” panel was being held.
This 4-part series on walking is more than a nostalgic look at an era when more people walked in our cities than used automobiles. While all countries have seen a decline in pedestrianism with the advent of the automobile, this decline is the most pronounced in the USA. It answers the underlying question "why don't Americans walk more?" In part there are cultural factors, but also the urban infrastructure plays a role in declining pedestrianism. Many urbanists want to design more 'walkable' cities, but places like Jacksonville, FL, Charlotte, NC, Forth Worth, TX and Nashville, TN ranks as the least walkable cities in the country (NYC, San Francisco, Boston, Chicago and Philadelphia are ranked as the best).
|Suggested by Matt Beiriger|
HometownAnnapolis.com - A Web site for Annapolis and Anne Arundel County. Powered by Capital Gazette Communications and The Capital Newspaper.
This short article discusses the demographic shift in urban areas since the collapse of the housing bubble (explicitly referencing Burgess' Concentric Zone Model!). With higher gas prices discouraging long commutes, is the era of sprawl over? Some feel that suburban housing prices aren't in momentary decline, but that this represents a new normal as we reconceptualize the city and urban land values. For more on the decline of the Exurbs, see: http://www.bostonglobe.com/news/nation/2012/04/05/growth-exurbs-falls-historic-low/WEsMHqBISD1n60T7WCJdTO/story.html ;
What is the geography of medical practicioners? Why are doctors concentrated more in certain parts of the country? "If anything, this map illustrates how much where you live matters for how much health care you have access to. The 17,000 residents of Clark County, Miss. do not have a single primary care doctor in the area. Up in Manhattan there is one doctor for every 500 people." Click on the link for an interactive ESRI-produced StoryMap.
Plans for a rooftop farm are the largest in the world.
Brooklyn Grange Farm is Expanding to a 45K Square Foot Rooftop in the Brooklyn Navy Yard. This is a stunning example of urban agriculture designed to produce local food, even with limited spatial resources. There is also a 3.5 minute video clip attached to the article.
If we built village of small streets today, where would we locate it?
One great candidate would be a park-and-ride lot, which is parking located next to a subway or commuter rail station. Such parking gets some to use public transit who wouldn’t ordinarily...
But that’s just the problem: the people who use park-and-ride lots don’t ordinarily take transit. The reason they have to drive to a train station is that they don’t live near it. That’s why building new neighborhoods next to transit (called transit-oriented development in planner lingo) has become popular in the last 10 years.
If we built a small streets village next to transit station, then we’d have a whole village of people who could use transit for all of their trips longer than a walk or bicycle ride away.
There are countless park-and-ride lots to consider, but we’ll look at just a couple. Greenbelt Station is located in Maryland at one end of Metro’s Green Line, which goes through Washington, DC and back out to Maryland. If you’ve ever hopped a ride on the Bolt Bus from New York City or the bus from BWI Airport, you may have visited this station...
Venice, by virtue of its geographic situation will always be sinking as a course of nature. A research team from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the UCSD has recently concluded that Venice is sinking 2 millimeters per year...not catastrophic on a single year basis, but threatens the long-term viability and sustainability of the location.
Urban ecology: what economic forces created the rationale for building Venice? What environmental factors are currently threatening it? Will economic or environmental forces win out? Location: do the economic advantages of a location outweigh the environmental liabilities of the location? How do these competing factors influence the development of a city? For additional information on this story see: http://www.physorg.com/news/2012-03-venice-hasnt.html
The twists and turns of metropolitan population growth are reviewed in William Frey’s examination of recently released Census Bureau data separating the bubble and bust years of the past decade.
Key urban demographic changes from 1980-2010:
--Metropolitan growth in both the Sun Belt and Snow Belt tapered in the 2000s, after accelerating in the 1990s.
--Growth slowed considerably during the latter part of the 2000s, especially in “bubble economy” metropolitan areas.
--Suburbs continued to grow more rapidly than cities in the 2000s, but growth rates for both types of places declined from their 1990s levels.
--Exurban and outer suburban counties experienced a population boom and bust in the 2000s.
--Hispanic dispersion to “new destination” metropolitan areas and suburbs dropped sharply in the late 2000s.
An estimated 600,000 Americans are homeless, but the spread isn't uniform. Some cities have been hit harder than others.
When I teach cultural geography, I discuss the idea that some thing are "in place" and others are "out of place" based on the cultural norms that change from place to place. Homelessness is almost always "out of place." What parts of the built environment in your city are purposefully uninviting to the homeless? What is the connection between the city (and urbanization) and homelessness? What could (or should) be done in major metropolitan areas with high rates of homelessness? What is the spatial patterns evident in the geography of homelessness? What accounts for these patterns? What surprises are in the data from the article?
The Atlantic CitiesWhat March Madness Can Teach Us About the Economic Geography of SportsThe Atlantic CitiesWhat exactly can account for the dominance of small and medium sized metros generally and college towns in particular in the economic...
While it is clear that superstar athletes in the professional ranks are concentrated in the largest cities, college athletics still let's the 'Davids' compete with the 'Goliaths.' Interestingly, the largest cities don't have the highest per capita concentration of athletes but many small college towns do. Among the Top 25 cities with the highest concentration of athletes in the workforce (include scholarship athletes) we find South Bend, Indiana, home to Notre Dame; Auburn, Alabama, home to the university that bears its name; Ames, Iowa, home of Iowa State; Blacksburg, Virginia (Virginia Tech); Burlington, Vermont (University of Vermont); and Boulder, Colorado (University of Colorado).
This gallery of Google Earth Screen shots primarily from Yunnan Province in Southern China (bordering Vietnam and Burma) brings some keen spatial analysis to those unfamiliar with the region. This is also a great example of using geospatial technologies to interpret the cultural landscape--the merger of 'people and pixels' as the textbook of the same name encourages with classrooms. While the quality of this work is above what would be expected of students, a Google Earth project designed to get students to reassess the spatial dynamics within their neighborhood or home state could lead some fantastic projects.
This NASA-produced timelapse video of Landsat data shows the spatial spread of the Las Vegas metropolitan area from 1975-2010. These are not true color images, but false color that shows the near infrared portions of the electromagnetic spectrum as red in the image. Geospatial technologies are once again, shown as invaluable in our analysis of the urban environment.
This is an excellent interactive map that allows the user to explore the various neighborhoods of New York City and analyze the housing market for a particular income bracket. I've discovered that trying to purchase a home or rent an apartment can be one of the best hands-on lessons in urban social geography. I envision a dynamic project that could be designed around this resource where several members of a group are given different demographic characteristics (for example: single income, 2 married adults, 3 children under 10 years of age) and income levels and a fixed workplace. Where would you live? What determines your choices? What would your personal geographies look like?
Ambitious development plans for the 2016 Summer Olympics, as well as the 2014 soccer World Cup, involve large-scale evictions from numerous slums, whose residents are refusing to leave.
The urban revitalization issues in Rio de Janiero are not new, but they will intensify in global importance (or at least coverage) as the time for the World Cup and Olympics approaches. What are the aesthetics and economics behind revitalization? What are the social issues that should be addressed?
The City, for the first time in human history, houses more of our species than the countryside. This fundamental fact means that geographers must study the city more. GIS offers many of the tools needed for that type of sustained inquiry. Geospatial technologies are no longer only for the 'tech geeks,' researchers or even the tech saavy; GIS and other technologies are a learning platform for 21st century geo-literacy.
In a crowded place like Manhattan, it’s only rational to wonder: Just how many people can this city handle?
After spending time last week in Manhattan for the AAG annual meeting, the idea of density in the city and especially historical densities and how transportations systems, technologies available and standards of living all impact population density. Please explore the graphic "Manhattan's population Density, Past and Present" in the article or here: http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2012/03/01/realestate/manhattans-population-density-past-and-present.html
"What would your future city look like? Find out now by playing Urbanology online. Urbanology is a game that examines the complex ways in which cities develop." This is a great teaching tool since you are asked 10 questions that city planners need to answer that will shape the cultural and economic patterns of the city. For example, would you remove an automobile lane to put in a bike lane or expand the sidewalk? Based on your answers, it will tell you what city is most similar to the one you envision and what is your highest (and lowest) priority in laying out the city.
|Suggested by Luke Walker|
These are great images that shows the can build historical and geographical empathy for those that were discriminated against during the era of redlining. These maps from the Home Owners' Loan Corporation mapped and shaped regions of urban disinvestment (but the maps were NOT widely circulated). This example of redlining in 1936 Philadelphia, links you to primary source documents if you click on the map. The documents are reports on the property values, resident demographics and descriptions of the residential zones. For more on the Philadelphia redlining research project, visit: http://cml.upenn.edu/redlining/intro.html
One billion people worldwide live in slums, a number that will likely double by 2030. The characteristics of slum life vary greatly between geographic regions, but they are generally inhabited by the very poor or socially disadvantaged.
There was significant publicity last year when the world population reached 7 billion. Barely a whisper was heard when the global population of slum dwellers exceeded 1 billion. When the world's population reached 7 billion, it was used as a moment to reflect on sustainable growth, resources and the common good for humanity. This 'milestone' of 1 billion slum dwellers needs to also serve as a teaching moment to reflect on urbanization, migration, human development and the underlying causes that have lead to this explosive growth primarily in the developing world.
This msnbc video clip (from the UP w/Chris Hayes) looks at the struggles and challenges for the city of Detroit. Specifically, they address job creation and economic investment in the area as key ways to revitalize the economy in a deindustrializing context, as well as critique the governance situation that has lead to many of the problems that we currently see in Detroit.
Artist John Locke is converting obsolete Manhattan phone booths into mini libraries. Now if only people would stop stealing his entire book collection.
The pay phone has become an obsolete part of the urban infrastructure in the cell phone era, and the question of what to do with these has become a real issue. Leaving them in their current form is essentially conceding that the city is technologically outdated and some fear that is the wrong message to be visually transmitting in the landscape. As thousands of geographers are set to desend on New York City for the AAG conference, this is another example of appropriating public space for a communal project that deserves some firsthand investigation (I really want to see one!).