Global news with a spatial perspective: Interesting, current supplemental materials for geography teachers and students.
Curated by Seth Dixon
I'm a sucker for online quizzes like this one that shows only the grid outlines of particular cities. This isn't just about knowing a city, but also identifying regional and urban patterns. What are some other fun trivia quizzes? GeoGuessr is one of the more addictive quizzes where 5 locations in GoogleMaps "StreetView" are shown and you have to guess where. Smarty Pins is a fun game on Google Maps that tests players' geography and trivia skills. In this Starbucks game you have to recognized the shape of the city, major street patterns and the economic patterns just to name a few (this is one way to make the urban model more relevant). If you want quizzes with more direct applicability in the classroom, click here for online regional quizzes.
Animating the changing shape of the world population pyramid. For more multimedia content from The Economist visit our website: http://econ.st/1xqEZhX.
This is an incredibly powerful and remarkably well-done video by the Economist (see related article here) that is reminiscent of a TED-ED lesson on the importance and value of population pyramids. This video goes nicely with this article from the World Bank entitled "The End of the Population Pyramid" which highlights the demographic changes that will be reshaping global demographics in the next 50-100 years.
"Why are all the gas stations, cafes and restaurants in one crowded spot? As two competitive cousins vie for ice-cream-selling domination on one small beach, discover how game theory and the Nash Equilibrium inform these retail hotspots."
"Maps Of U.S. Population Change, 2000-2010. Blue is population increase, red represents population decline."
This series of maps shows important patterns impacting American cities today. Pictured above is Detroit, emblematic of urban decline, but some of the patterns that we see in Detroit are happening elsewhere in the United States (but not was pronounced). Three patterns are especially noteworthy: 1) Decline of the urban core, 2) Growth in the suburban ring but most especially 3) a revitalization of the downtown (specks of blue in the sea red).
Questions to Ponder: So what processes are creating these patterns? Have does this information mesh with, or change our understanding of the urban models?
The United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs produces easy-to-use population charts and graphs (including population pyramids). This image (courtesy of Hans Rosling) shows the impending changes on Brazilian society based on changing fertility rates. How is this chart an example of population momentum and of the Demographic Transition Model?
Hans Rosling explains a very common misunderstanding about the world. CC by www.gapminder.org
Some countries are getting old. Others are staying young — and getting much bigger.
These time-lapse demographic charts help to visualize the impacts of the demographic transition principles on a society. In the GIFs of the United States and Japan for example, you can clearly see the baby boomer generation and the 'greying' processes respectively.
The American birthrate is at a record low. What happens when having it all means not having children?
The demographic transition is an important model in human geography that explains many of the declining birth rates in the more developed parts of the world and the high fertility rates in less developed countries. This is often discussed within a demographic and economic context. This article from TIME Magazine struck quite a nerve recently. While it noted that from 2007 to 2011 the fertility rate dropped 9% in the United States, it wasn't the statistical analysis that got people talking (here is another article on the topic). What did strike a nerve was the discussion of the cultural shifts that are at the roots of this demographic decline, the cover picture that glamorizes a childfree life and a subtitle (when having it all means not having kids) that idealizes not having children. The demographic transition has what some call a 'cultural lag' where a large family size is still culturally preferred even if it no longer makes the same agricultural and economic sense as it did in the past. This piece demonstrates the new secularized 'post-cultural lag' values that see children as obstacles to preferable career paths and a limitation on their freedoms. For one commentator that was opposed to this article's cultural perspective see this article. While these pieces are decidedly not neutral on the subject, that is the point; opinions widely differ on the cultural impact of these demographic shifts.
|Suggested by Maria Fernandes|
The UN projects Kenya to grow older and healthier
Essay #3 for the AP Human Geography 2013 exam focused on how railroads and highways impacted the size and form of U.S. cities. Andy Baker, one of the great readers on that question has put together an interactive map filled with tangible examples of how Indianapolis' land use history has been heavily influenced by the railroads and highways. This would be a great resource to prepare students to answer that FRQ.
|Suggested by Tara Cohen|
| ~ Jonathan V. Last (author) More about this product |
What to Expect When No One's Expecting: America's Coming Demographic Disaster [Jonathan V. Last] on Amazon.com. *FREE* super saver shipping on qualifying offers. Look around you and think for a minute: Is America too crowded?
Ironically, some land use patterns become more visible as the sun goes down. There are some sharp borders in this image of Toronto that was taken by the Canadian astronaut, Chris Hadfield and it is a wonderful teaching image.
Questions to ponder: Why is there such sharp divisions between the illuminated and obscure portions of the image? What does this sharp division say about the land use patterns? Would we see this pattern in the United States? Why or why not? What urban model(s) can help explain the spatial layout of Toronto?
Grant Thrall, Ph.D., pioneered a new field of study — business geography — at the University of Florida.
Business geography involves using sophisticated technologies to interpret and analyze data to help businesses make decisions.
I understand that my readers are not people that I need to convince the geo-literacy is an essential component for a 21st century education; but we are the people that need to convince principals, politicians, school administrators, teachers and parents that teaching geography is fundamental. Consider this an accessible article to use to make the case for geography for someone who sees the educational value from a business perspective.
|Suggested by Duane Hanstein, GISP|
What would John Snow's famous cholera map look like on a modern map of London, using modern mapping tools?
John Snow's cholera map is often noted as a prime example of using spatial thinking to solve a scientific problem. Here are a variety of resources to explore this classic example. Here is an article that highlights the spatial thinking that produced this map, with KML files and in Google Fusion Tables. See also these online GIS layers of Dr. Snow's famous map.
Central Places:Theory and Applications produced by Ken Keller (email@example.com) adapted from Don Ziegler.
The Central Place Theory is a model that is not used much today in academic geography, but given it's explicitly spatial nature, it is used in many geography curricula (including AP Human Geography) to show systems thinking and spatial patterns. This powerpoint goes over the main ideas of the theory developed by Walter Christaller as well as some examples.
|Suggested by Kara Charboneau|
"The nation's fertility rate has slipped below replacement levels partly because of the recession and a decline in immigration. That's raising concern about the nation's future."
During this recent recession, fertility rates in the United States have dropped with many speculating that the financial investment in child-rearing caused this shift. The big question is this: will birth rates bounce back when the economy fully recovers or is the United States population going to follow the example of Western Europe? What would the impact be for both of these scenarios?
In this age of fast travel and instant digital communications, we tend to forget that not so long ago, distances were subjectively very different.
This series of maps shows the great leaps and bounds that were made during the 19th century in transportation technology in the United States. This impacted population settlement, economic interactions and functionally made the great distances seem smaller. This is what many call the time-space compression; the friction of distance is diminished as communication and transportation technologies improve.
Questions to Ponder: When someone says they live "10 minutes away," what does that say about how we think about distance, transportation infrastructure and time? How is geography still relevant in a world where distance appears to becoming less of a factor?
Unicharm Corp.’s sales of adult diapers in Japan exceeded those for babies for the first time last year. At Daiei Inc. supermarkets, customers can feel Japan aging -- literally: It has made shopping carts lighter.
Japan's demographic shifts are well-chronicled: the Japanese are having fewer children and the improvements in healthcare mean that the elderly are living longer than ever. Combined this means that Japan's population pyramid is getting "top heavy." This population change is having huge econmic impacts as the percentage of Japanese people is now over 23%. Retailers and industries are heavily targeting this expanding demographic with financial clout that outspends all other cohorts.
It is possible in many cities to identify zones with a particular type of land use - eg a residential zone. Often these zones have developed due to a combination of economic and social factors. In some cases planners may have tried to separate out some land uses, eg an airport is separated from a large housing estate.
The concentric and sector models in one news article? The BBC is showing once again the possibilities available if only the United States taught more geography in the schools.
Learn more: http://www.khanacademy.org/video?v=r1ywppAJ1xs Thomas Malthus's views on population. Malthusian limits.
This is a succinct (but not perfect) summary of Malthusian ideas on population. What do you think of his ideas? Any specific parts of his theory that you agree with? Do you disagree with some of his ideas? What did history have to say about it?
It was just over two centuries ago that the global population was 1 billion — in 1804. But better medicine and improved agriculture resulted in higher life expectancy for children, dramatically increasing the world population, especially in the West.
This is an excellent video for population and demographic units, but also for showing regional and spatial patterns within the global dataset (since terms like 'overpopulation' and 'carrying capacity' inherently have different meanings in distinct places and when analyzed at various scales). It is also a fantastic way to visualize population data and explain the ideas that are foundational for the Demographic Transition Model.
Adapted from the book by Professor Susan Hanson...
This is an excellent review/summary of an edited volume that shows the value of geographic thought and its importance in the modern world. This review conveniently gives a one paragraph synopsis of each chapter. It does not need to be read chronologically, so you can pick and choose what you find relevant to your course. The top 10 are (in order of inclusion in the book): the Idea of the Map, the Weather Map, GIS, Human Adjustment, Water Budget Climatology, Human Transformation of the Earth, Spatial Organization and Interdependence, Central Place Theory, Megalopolis and Sense of Place.
Births have plummeted since their 2007 peak, and the recession is a factor. There's worry that the birthrate will be affected for years.
The graph for this article is an incredible visual that highlights how the economic conditions of a country can impact its demographics. Not surprisingly, Americans have less children during tough times. Questions to ponder: would this phenomenon be expected in all parts of the world? Why or why not? Demographically, what will the long-term impact of the recession be?
Public health crises of the past decade — such as the 2003 SARS outbreak, which spread to 37 countries and caused about 1,000 deaths, and the 2009 H1N1 flu p...
The spread of infectious diseases is inherently connected to the mobility of infected. Airports are important nodes in this complex transportation network. Which airports would have the greatest potential to spread diseases? At MIT, they've gathered data that incorporates variations in travel patterns among individuals, the geographic locations of airports, the disparity in interactions among airports, and waiting times at individual airports to create a tool that could be used to predict where and how fast a disease might spread. To read more, see the associated article.