"How much does size really matter? Judging by this tiny home in France, not a whole lot -- as long as the space is functional.
Global news with a spatial perspective: Interesting, current supplemental materials for geography teachers and students.
Curated by Seth Dixon
"How much does size really matter? Judging by this tiny home in France, not a whole lot -- as long as the space is functional.
Space in a home matters, but the functionality of that space is critical. Geography is about spatial thinking, and this video promotes a different type of spatial thinking, but one that still will help geographic thought. As our metropolitan areas get more and more crowded, planning of this type might become increasingly common. What advantages to you see in interior design that seek s to maximize space? What are some drawbacks to a design such as this?
|Suggested by Thomas Schmeling|
In the most innovative incubators of urban research, the lessons of Jane Jacobs are more vital than ever.
In the past few years, a remarkable body of scientific research has begun to shed new light on the dynamic behavior of cities, carrying important implications for city-makers. Researchers at cutting-edge hubs of urban theory like the University College London and the Santa Fe Institute have been homing in on some key properties of urban systems—and contradicting much of today's orthodoxy. Their findings have begun to feed into recent and upcoming gatherings on the future of cities—including lead-in events for the U.N.'s big 2016 Habitat III conference on sustainable development—and arming leaders in the field with new ammunition in the global battle against sprawl.
"Although we seldom think about them this way, most American communities as they exist today were built for the spry and mobile. We've constructed millions of multi-story, single-family homes where the master bedroom is on the second floor, where the lawn outside requires weekly upkeep, where the mailbox is a stroll away. We've designed neighborhoods where everyday errands require a driver's license. We've planned whole cities where, if you don't have a car, it's not particularly easy to walk anywhere — especially not if you move gingerly.
This reality has been a fine one for a younger country. Those multi-story, single-family homes with broad lawns were great for Baby Boomers when they had young families. And car-dependent suburbs have been fine for residents with the means and mobility to drive everywhere. But as the Baby Boomers whose preferences drove a lot of these trends continue to age, it's becoming increasingly clear that the housing and communities we've built won't work very well for the old."
Population change is frequently a concern of city planners at the local level. This article shows that major demographic shifts are going to mean major changes in our patterns in our cities as we become a 'greying' society.
Without a question, we are living in an urban era. More people now live in cities than anywhere else on the planet and I’ve repeatedly argued that cities are our most important economic engine. As a result of these shifts, we’re seeing megacities at a scale the world has never seen before.
As our cities have massively expanded in the last 70 years, so has the ecological footprint of these metropolitan areas. This article discusses some of the challenges confronting megacities and their functions within the global urban network.
"Today, innovation is taking place where people can come together, not in isolated spaces. Innovation districts are this century's productive geography, they are both competitive places and 'cool spaces' and they will transform your city and metropolis."
As described by the Brookings Institution in their exploration regarding innovation districts, they are geographic areas where leading-edge companies, research institutions, start-ups, and business incubators are located in dense proximity. These districts are created to facilitate new connections and ideas, speed up the commercialization of those ideas, and support urban economies by growing jobs in ways that leverage their distinct economic position.
Two maps and six charts take sprawl rankings to another level.
One of the great results of the decennial census is that geographers, demographers, sociologists, urbanists and countless others, can track the same population or spatial pattern and note historical changes over a 10 year span. This series of maps and charts highlights some of the major changes. You shouldn't be surprised that Atlanta is the United States' most sprawling major city and that San Francisco is the most compact, but this article dives beneath surface in a way that is still very accessible.
A new advertising campaign is seeking to draw attention to the gap between the wealthy and the poverty-stricken in Mexico by showing how they co-exist in disturbingly close proximity.
There is a wide economic gap between the rich and the poor and in the spatial layout of urban settlements. Often an accompanying tangible separation exists between the communities where these groups live. These images (captured by a helicopter pilot with a keen eye for iconic and cultural landscapes in Mexico City) show neighborhoods in Mexico where this separation does not exist. Collectively they are reminiscent of this famous photograph in Brazil that shows the uneasy juxtaposition of favelas and luxurious housing.
Questions to Ponder: What are these neighborhoods like? How are these two communities linked and separated? Compare and contrast life on both sides of the fence.
"In the above poster the cities are arranged (roughly, in order to maximize space) by population. Clearly, size and population are not directly correlated. Some cities take up a lot more space for a smaller population. The relationship between the two, of course, is known as density (population density, urban density)."
I shared this a while back, but the creator has since revised the data and updated the layout for the main infographic. The entire set of infographics are tremendous visual tools to compare urbanization patterns around the world.
"The National Low Income Housing Coalition took those fair market rents and calculated how much a worker would have to earn per hour to cover such modest housing, if we assume a 40-hour work week and a 52-week year. They call this rate a "housing wage," and it is, unsurprisingly, much higher than the minimum wage in much of the country."
This article on the economic geography of housing is supplemented by this interactive map with county-level data. There are a lot of conversations that could stem from an analysis of this data. Where are the housing prices highest? How come? This is a resource that could allow students to explore the economic geography of their own region and apply that local knowledge to understand processes throughout the United States.
"As the world's cities undergo explosive growth, inequality is intensifying. Wealthy neighborhoods and impoverished slums grow side by side, the gap between them widening. In this eye-opening talk, architect Teddy Cruz asks us to rethink urban development from the bottom up. Sharing lessons from the slums of Tijuana, Cruz explores the creative intelligence of the city's residents and offers a fresh perspective on what we can learn from places of scarcity."
As a geographer native to the San Diego region with family on both sides of the border, I found this TED talk very compelling personally, but also rich in geographic themes (city planning, diffusion, governance of space, socioeconomic differences in land use patterns, etc.). 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. San Diego and Tijuana have more to offer each other than economic markets--the ideas born out of distinct socioeconomic and political contexts can be just what is needed on the other side of the border.
|Suggested by Renata Hill|
"Tracking changes in the shape of American cities over 10 years reveals which cities pack the most into a small space, but don't worry, sprawlers: Los Angeles shows you can change your fate."
Today’s nearly 314 million U.S. residents will expand to 401 million in less than 40 years. Wherever you fall on the cultural spectrum between country and city mouse, the fact remains that we simply won’t be able to use up resources the way we do now in sprawling suburbs shaped by car culture. See also this infographic depicting those with the worst sprawl. and CNN Money's list of the worst sprawl and a discussion of it's impacts.
"Mexico City is a giant laboratory of urban morphology. Its 20 million residents live in neighborhoods based on a wide spectrum of plans. The colonial center (above) was built on the foundations of Tenochtitlan, capital of the Aztec empire. The old city was on an island in Lake Texcoco. The lake was drained to prevent flooding as the city expanded.
I've conducted research in Mexico City, and am endlessly fascinated but this urban amalgamation. The city is so extensive that there are numerous morphological patterns that can be seen in the city, including the 12 listed in the article.
The growth of these cities will create a host of environmental and health problems.
By 2210, the global population is expected to grow from just more than 7 billion to 11.3 billion — with 87 percent of the population living in urban areas, according to a new working paper by researchers from NYU’s Marron Institute.
Most of these individuals will be in what’s now the developing world — creating a host of environmental and health problems.
If projections are correct, these new urban dwellers will require the world’s existing cities to expand six-fold to accommodate triple the residents, Richard Florida wrote in The Atlantic. Plus, the world will need 500 new “megacities” of 10 million or more, he wrote.
The high-tech project would help officials decide which abandoned buildings can be demolished.
This crowd-sourced mapping project is an great example of how a community can work together (using geospatial technologies and geographic thinking) to mitigate some of the more pressing issues confronting the local neighborhoods. Many optimists have argued that Detroit has "good bones" to rebuild the city, but it needs to built on as smaller scale. This project helps to assess what is being used by residents and should stay, and what needs to go. Want to explore some of the data yourself? See Data Driven Detroit.
In this map, all Zip codes with more than 500 people are ranked from 0 to 99 based on household income and education. The 'Super Zips' rank 95 or higher. The map at the top shows the highest concentration of the nation’s 650 Super Zips. The typical household income in a Super Zip is $120,272, and 68 percent of adults hold college degrees. That compares with $53,962 and 27 percent in the other zips mapped. Washington D.C. shows a powerful bifurcation: One-third of Zip codes in the D.C. area are considered ‘Super Zips’ for wealth and education and large swaths of the metropolitan area are considered food deserts.
This weekend I had the privilege of flying essentially from Boston to Washington DC at night and was mesmerized by the vast urban expanse beneath me. It was the greatest concentration of wealth in the United States as well as the some of the most blighted regions of the country. What explains the spatial patterns of highly concentrated wealth and poverty in the biggest cities? Are cities a causal factor in wealth and poverty creation? What does this zip code data tell us? What accounts for the spatial patterns in your region?
Where you live is important. It can dictate quality of schools and hospitals, as well as things like cancer rates, unemployment, or whether the city repairs roads in your neighborhood. On this week's show, stories about destiny by address.
This hour-long podcast addresses some has key issues in urban geography by exploring the history of redlining, the Fair Housing Act and other fair housing initiatives. The urban cultural mosaic of the United States and the neighborhoods of our cities have been greatly shaped by these issues. Currently gentrification is reshaping many U.S. cities and fits into the wider scope of the issues raised in the podcast.
"This is a series of infographics (or geo-infographics) created by Matthew Hartzell, a friend of mine that I met when we were both geography graduate students at Penn State in few years back..."
Can you tell a Vancouver mansion from a crack shack?
Which homes were once being used to sell illegal drugs and which homes could be sold for over $1 million? It is not as easy to distinguish between the two as you might think. What constitutes affordable housing can change dramatically from neighborhood to neighborhood. Want more? Try Crack Shack or Mansion II.
An innovative campaign to move “home-less people into people-less homes.”
Chicago's poorer neighborhoods have experienced a severe decline as homes are being foreclosed at an alarming rate (62,000 vacant properties in Chicago and 40% of the homes underwater on the South and West Sides). When sections of a neighborhood are left vacant or in disrepair, it can have a lead to negative impacts on the community. To combat both the homelessness issue and the vacant home problem at the same time, "Cook County now plans to form what will become the nation’s largest land bank, an entity that will acquire thousands of vacant residences, demolishing some, turning others into much-needed rentals and holding onto others until they can be released, strategically, back into the market."
New homes dominate the market across the Sunbelt, but you can also find older homes with historical features and distinct architectural styles in most major metros -- from stained glass windows in homes built before the 1900s to snail showers found in homes from the 2000s.
This interactive feature shows some intriguing historical insight into the United States metropolitan housing markets and this article associated with the interactive analyzes the growth trends in particular cities.
Questions to Ponder: how is this real estate interactive a portal into the historical economic geography of U.S. cities? What explains the regional patterns? New England? Texas?
|Suggested by Thomas Schmeling|
What if you put all 7 billion humans into one city, a city as dense as New York, with its towers and skyscrapers? How big would that 7 billion-sized city be? As big as New Jersey? Texas? Bigger? Are cities protecting wild spaces on the planet?
Chiwa - Mchinji, Malawi Shot over a period of 18 months, Italian photographer Gabriele Galimberti's project Toy Stories compiles photos of children from around the world with their prized possesions—their toys.
How are the lives of these children different from those in your neighborhood? How are their lives the same?
Hong Kong is one of the most densely populated areas in the world. Seven million people living in 423 square miles (1,096 sq km).
These apartments are so small that they can only be photographed from the ceiling. Massive urbanization with limited space means that real estate is at a premium and many laborers will not be able to afford large living spaces. Hong Kong is an extreme example of this and it brings new meaning to the term "high-density housing."
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.
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?