Geography Education
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Geography Education
Geography Education
Global news with a spatial perspective: Interesting, current supplemental materials for geography students and teachers.
Curated by Seth Dixon
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Nicaragua unveils major canal route

Nicaragua unveils major canal route | Geography Education |

"The Nicaraguan government and the company behind plans to build a canal linking the Atlantic and the Pacific Ocean have settled on a route."

Seth Dixon's insight:

A Chinese firm (HKND) is planning to construct a canal to rival Panama's.  I've been following this issue as I prepared to co-author an article  for Maps 101 with Julie Dixon and it is clearly a major environmental issue.  However, this issue is much more geographic than just the angle; China and Nicaragua are vying for greater control and access to the shipping lanes that dominate the global economy and international trade.  This shows that they are each attempting to bolster their regional and international impact compared to their rivals (the United States for China and Panama for Nicaragua).   

Tags: transportation, Nicaragua, globalization, diffusion, industry, economic.

Richard Lloyd Thomas's curator insight, July 29, 7:55 AM

Now, who will pay for it?

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China’s hungry cattle feasting on alfalfa grown on Utah farm

China’s hungry cattle feasting on alfalfa grown on Utah farm | Geography Education |
China has long depended on the U.S. breadbasket, importing up to $26 billion in U.S. agricultural products yearly. But increasingly, Chinese investors aren’t just buying from farms abroad. They’re buying the farms.
Seth Dixon's insight:

Globalization is often described as a homogenizing force, but is also pairs together odd bed fellows.  A small Utah town near the Colorado border, Jensen is now home to the largest Chinese-owned hay farm in the United States. Utah's climate is right for growing alfalfa, and China's growing cattle industry make this a natural global partnership.  Large container ships come to the United States from China, and return fairly empty, making the transportation price relatively affordable.  While this might make economic sense on a global scale, local water concerns in the west show that this isn't without it's problems.  Water resources are scarce and many see this as a depletion of local water exported to China.  Some states see this as a threat and are considering banning foreign ownership of farmland.  This article shows the merging of various geographic themes: the global and local, the industrial and the agricultural, the human and the physical.         

Tags: agriculture, agribusinesstransportation, globalizationwaterChinaindustry, economic, physical, Utah.

Stephen Zimmett's curator insight, July 7, 10:41 AM
strong>Seth Dixon's insight: China buying farm land
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Solar Roadways

Seth Dixon's insight:

I'm sure a few of you have already seen this viral video and it should be intriguing to geographers for a variety of reasons (and not just because we love hexagons). Solar Roadways is a project in its infancy, but they have broad ambitions that would be revolutionary.  Roads that would produce energy?  The idea would have staggering results, but there are some practical reasons why this hasn't already been implemented.  A geographic perspective is critical as we plan for the future.   


Questions to Ponder: How would the full implementation of this idea restructure the cultural landscape, urban environments and our cultural ecology?  What would some advantages be?  This video is a promotional video that emphasizes the positive; what drawbacks, limitations and obstacles are there to solar roadways in the future?  

Tags: transportation, technologyenergysustainability, planning, video.

Gabriel Pizarro Dasso's curator insight, June 11, 3:15 PM

creo que es al menos el mejor invento de diseño hasta hoy en día 

Nancy Watson's curator insight, June 13, 9:26 AM

What an interesting idea. Power of the future?

Michelle Fulton's curator insight, June 17, 8:20 PM

Some really interesting discussions could be held around this video-Geographically, Scientifically, Technologically, Environmentally, Creatively and Critically. 

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China Has Accomplished Something In Global Trade Not Seen Since Colonial Britain

China Has Accomplished Something In Global Trade Not Seen Since Colonial Britain | Geography Education |

"China is a true mega-trader — a position last held by colonial Britain, with trade significant not only as a share of world trade (11.5%) but also of its own GDP (47%).  The U.S. is China's top export destination. China's trade with Latin America has risen more than 200 times since 1990 and is the fastest-growing corridor. China's trade is beginning to slow, however. Exports accounted for about 25% of GDP in 2012, down from 35% in 2007." 

Seth Dixon's insight:

This article is highlights what we already know; China is a dominant force in global trade (although the map should be centered on the Pacific to show China's real shipping lanes and interregional connections).  Containers are symbols of global commerce that enable economies of scale to be profitable and the outsourcing of so many manufacturing jobs to developing countries (almost 90% of everything we buy arrives via ship).  The invention of these containers have changed the geography of global shipping and the vast majority of the world's largest ports are now in East Asia. 

Tags: transportation, globalization, diffusion, industry, economic.

Eli Levine's curator insight, April 30, 12:34 PM

It would be wiser if the Chinese used the wealth they've produced to kickstart a domestically based economy, rather than rely on international trade.  It would detach themselves from having to play nicely with others for economic reasons and enable them to take over more of a regional position.


However, natural law against empires is still in effect.  China can't overreach its influence or behave inappropriately if they get rejected in other parts of the world, nor can it overreact to threats against its overseas interests.


As for the US, it would be wiser if we were to reign in on our ideology of marginal growth, pay our current workers decent enough wages that they can afford to spend and have leisure time.  It's time that we all direct our societies against what is excessive wealth (as defined by wealth exceeding that which cannot be used in the course of the individual's lifetime) and be done with the happy horse Second Gilded Age that we've allowed ourselves to be walked into by the rich business interests and their foolish academic cohorts.  It's not in the economy's interests to have everything bunched into the hands of a few individuals, anymore than it is in a person's interests to have all of their blood rush to their feet, or a child's teddy bear to have all the stuffing bunched in one part.  We're not seeing growth anymore, except in the realm of capital investments.  More goods and services aren't being produced or sold and one has to wonder what the point of having that kind of growth is, when it buffers against our environmental and sociological concerns.


We will either adapt to this new knowledge or die in the process.


It is that simple.


Think about it.

Paige Therien's curator insight, May 4, 9:09 AM

This article offers an interesting piece of insight, which is that China has become the biggest trader in the world, and has even surpassed colonial Britain was at the time.  During colonial times, and throughout history, China kept to themselves.  Britain, on the other hand was becoming a world superpower because of their demands for goods.  The article offers four reasons why this trend will continue for China including a firm control of its position in the market, increasing global demand for China's services, a shift towards a more balanced trade (i.e. more imports), and its established infrastructure.  However, they do not touch upon the negative aspects of environmental and humanitarian issues that have been brought along with global trade, and which may be the demise of China's trade market.

Sid McIntyre-DeLaMelena's curator insight, May 29, 12:51 PM

China's exportation has grown so high and has reached a multitude of nations, not unlike British Imperialism. Though China has reached a lot of nation and has grown economically, it has also slowed down.

The movement of goods is greatly portrayed in economic sectors through trade patterns.


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Great Salt Lake: Landsat Science

Great Salt Lake: Landsat Science | Geography Education |

With imagination one can explore and understand how very different life was for people in the United States before the Golden Spike was hammered into the ground in Utah in 1869. That was a much-hailed event that knitted the country together by linking two railroad lines from the eastern and western ends of the continent. Just ten years earlier, when the map at left was made, life was more centered on local transactions. It was hard for families with children to visit friends because travel in this part of the country was slow and arduous, over bumpy dirt roads by horse and wagon. A life involving daily travel for several miles from home each day to work was not feasible. Yet change was in the air even then.

Engineers had put together the recently-invented steam engine with the practicality of a road made of rails and cross-ties, and businessmen and politicians were envisioning a national transportation network – a railroad system. What a difference that could make in the life of this still-young nation! The federal government began sending dozens of mapmakers across the country to identify and draw the best routes for a national railroad in an initiative called “the Great Reconnaissance.”

The national railroad system brought a revolution in commerce and mind-set to the United States in the 19th century. Landsat technology has fomented a revolution of its own, making hundreds of maps of landscapes around the globe daily and becoming an integral part of our national infrastructure just as the railway system and automobile Interstate Highway Systems did in previous eras. With Landsat we have our own 21st century Great Reconnaissance.

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19th Century Ship Routes

19th Century Ship Routes | Geography Education |

"Ben Schmidt, assistant professor of history at Northeastern University, has visualized the routes of 19th Century ships using publicly available data set from NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration). The resulting image is a hauntingly beautiful image that outlines the continents and highlights the trade winds. It shows major ports, and even makes a strong visual case for the need for the Panama and Suez Canals."

Tracey M Benson's curator insight, March 10, 4:29 PM

Beautiful data visualisation of 19th century ships using publicly available data set from NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration).

Brian Altonen's curator insight, March 10, 6:21 PM

Lessons in GIS and Medical GIS - Examples of applications. Various Resources at hand.

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China's Plan to Dig a Canal Across Nicaragua

China's Plan to Dig a Canal Across Nicaragua | Geography Education |

"By the end of this year, digging could begin on a waterway that would stretch roughly 180 miles across Nicaragua to unite the Atlantic and Pacific oceans."

Seth Dixon's insight:

Today, the largest of the massive cargo ships are simply too big to get through the Panama Canal and have to travel down around the tip of South America; China is strategically working on strengthening their geopolitical position in the South China Sea and all international waters.  This is one reason why a Chinese firms are planning to construct a canal to rival Panama's.  This article highlights the reasons for concern (Maps 101 readers can read more about the geographic implications of Nicaragua's plans in this article co-authored by myself and Julie Dixon or you can sign up for a free trial subscription to see what else Maps 101 has to offer). 

Tags: transportation, Nicaragua, globalization, diffusion, industry, economic.

Joseph Thacker 's curator insight, February 28, 12:24 PM

This could be an economic boom for Nicaragua, one of the poorest countries in the Western Hemisphere. However, this construction could potentially cause serious problems. The proposed canal would pass through or near nature reserves and areas inhabited by indigenous groups. Also, it would pass through Lake Nicaragua, the largest fresh water lake in Central America. This lake holds fresh drinking water for the people and is home to rare fresh water species, such as the fresh water shark, which could be effected negatively by this construction.

Although this canal could turn Nicaragua’s economy around, it could also cause negative impacts on their environment. 

Jessica Rieman's curator insight, April 23, 6:28 PM

Although Nicaragua would benefit from this financially the whole country would be carved up because of the other nations total rule over the imports and exports in trading routes.

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Are container ships getting too big?

Are container ships getting too big? | Geography Education |

What is blue, a quarter of a mile long, and taller than London's Olympic stadium?  The answer - this year's new class of container ship, the Triple E. When it goes into service this June, it will be the largest vessel ploughing the sea.  Each will contain as much steel as eight Eiffel Towers and have a capacity equivalent to 18,000 20-foot containers (TEU).  

Seth Dixon's insight:

These containers are symbols of global commerce that enable economies of scale to be profitable and the outsourcing of so many manufacturing jobs to developing countries.  The invention of these containers have changed the geography of global shipping and the vast majority of the world's largest ports are now in East Asia.  Today though, the biggest container ships are too big to go through the Panama Canal, encouraging China to build a larger canal through Nicaragua.      

Tags: transportation, globalization, diffusion, industry, economic.

Jessica Rieman's curator insight, March 5, 4:32 PM

Consumed in Europe these container ships have the amount of steel of  8 Efile Towers in one container. It is a quarter mile long and taller than that of the Olympic stadium in London.  

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What Everybody From The North Needs To Understand About The Traffic Disaster In Atlanta

What Everybody From The North Needs To Understand About The Traffic Disaster In Atlanta | Geography Education |

"Republicans want to blame government (a Democrat thing) or Atlanta (definitely a Democrat thing). Democrats want to blame the region’s dependence on cars (a Republican thing), the state government (Republicans), and many of the transplants from more liberal, urban places feel the same way you might about white, rural, southern drivers. All of this is true to some extent but none of it is helpful."

Seth Dixon's insight:

There are no easy answers, but that doesn't mean we people aren't trying to frame this in an easy narrative.  Also look at the Washington Post's compliation of 16 pictures that highlight the missteps in handling this unusual problem.   

Joseph Thacker 's curator insight, January 29, 10:54 PM

It is difficult for someone from New England to understand how a city like Atlanta can be shut down from such a small amount of snow. However, when snow hits an area where people have little to no experience driving in snowy or icy conditions you can not expect all to go well, especially when there is no salt and sand on the roads. I think some people who have experience driving in the snow would have a difficult time driving on roads that are not properly treated and are covered in ice. 

Phil LAUGRAND's comment, January 30, 2:24 AM
where is solidarity between drivers..? why human beings in wealthy countries have forgotten to help each other... and perhaps stop to be so selfish... and use their cars together and not one car for one person ? do they know about co-sharing driving ? Do they happen to look around them and consider they are not the center of the world ?
Jess Deady's curator insight, April 16, 1:58 PM

Natural disasters involve two things. The natural forces that are causing it to happen and the people involved that it is happening to. This is out of control because Atlanta wasn't prepared for it. They don't know how to drive on anything besides the highway and therefore, they were stuck there for hours. This traffic jam is a complete and udder mess and shouldn't of happened to begin with if Georgia knew how to depend on other transportation methods.

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The Container that Moves the Global Economy

The Container that Moves the Global Economy | Geography Education |
The unsung hero of the global economy: the shipping container.
Seth Dixon's insight:

NPR's Planet Money has produced an 8-part series following the commodity chain of the T-Shirt.  This series explores cotton production, textile mills, sweatshops, outsourcing and in this podcast, the transportation infrastructure that moves goods globally.  This podcast touches on the same topic as one of my favorite TED talks, how containerization enabled globalization.   


Tagstransportation, industry, economic, globalization, technology, podcast.

Patricia Flavin's curator insight, December 12, 2013 6:57 PM

loved this series - a must see and must listen.

Jacqueline Landry's curator insight, December 15, 2013 10:34 AM

Shipping containers has helped mordern globalization in many ways. The amount of trade we do with other countries allows for a cheaper process. The amount of items we can trade now because of containerization is way more than we did with trucks. 

megan b clement's comment, December 16, 2013 12:16 AM
Containers have become such an essential part of our economy and shipping all together. SHipping in containers and on ships is not only cost effective but they can use machines to load them onto the decks of the ships. You can fit an obscene amount of product in the containers as well. The containers are also completely private you cannot see into the container so people are less likely to steal if they are unable to know what is inside.
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Launch of world's biggest 'ship'

Launch of world's biggest 'ship' | Geography Education |

"A floating vessel that is longer than the Empire State Building is high has taken to the water for the first time.  Despite appearances, Prelude cannot strictly be described as a ship as it needs to be towed to its destination rather than travelling under its own power."

Seth Dixon's insight:

This is a floating testament that economies of scale will continue to push the limits.  Today, the largest of the massive cargo ships are simply too big to get through the Panama Canal and have to travel down around the tip of South America.  This is one reason why Nicaragua is planning to construct a canal to rival Panama's (Maps 101 readers can read more about the geographic implications of Nicaragua's plans in this article co-authored by myself and Julie Dixon or you can sign up for a free trial subscription to see what Maps 101 has to offer). 

Tags: transportation, Nicaragua, globalization, diffusion, industry, economic.

Tony Aguilar's curator insight, December 8, 2013 3:52 AM

The Worlds biggest ship to be launched soon by Shell is an amazing feat, created by human ingenuity. It is incredible that it is longer than the Empire state building. it is difficult to imagine how an object so long even moves by itself. Nicaragua is attempting to make a canal Bigger than Panamas to support a ship thate size of the prelude that will operate off the coast of Australia for the next 25 years. The fact that it needs to be towed to its destination makes one question if its really a ship or not. Regardless Shell will share the cost of the Oil vessell once its finished being built

Julia Rose Turco's curator insight, December 11, 2013 8:02 PM

Wow, this is interesting! I can't believe its that long! I wonder how long it took them to build it? Also, where is it going?  Also, why would they need it to be so big? Why can't they just use a smaller ship and make more trips? But overall this is very cool.

Cam E's curator insight, February 4, 12:34 PM

I've got a weak spot for massive ships, plain and simple. I think there's even a future in ship-based cities which move around the world's oceans. Eventually ships can become so large and so advanced that the normal threats associated with the open ocean will do little to scratch them. For a comparison, the ship pictured is the Prelude FLNG, and it's almost twice the length of the Titanic.

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World's Most Thrilling Airports

World's Most Thrilling Airports | Geography Education |
Seth Dixon's insight:

Or the world's most terrifying runways, depending on your perspective and sense of adventure.  Pictured above is the Matekane Air Strip in Lesotho.  It is too short to start flying the conventional way so you drop on a cliff until the aircraft starts flying...if that is not your kind of funmaybe some extreme tourism would suit you in your travels more.

Tags: transportation, tourism.

Caterin Victor's curator insight, October 27, 2013 4:02 PM

Amazing !!!

Steven Flis's curator insight, December 17, 2013 5:09 AM

Most people are scared enough to even go on a plan much less having to deal with some of these runways. This horrid runways include high altitude, short runways or even 90 degree turns to even advance onto the runway. Pretty scary if i might say so myself. Im surprised the St Maartens runways didn make the list with its threat of hitting a popular beach in the local proximity.

Jacqueline Landry's curator insight, December 17, 2013 7:02 PM

Some of these airports look to me as if planes won't make it. The one in Portugal goes over mountains and trees and is very short. Flying can be terrifying as it is but landing on some of these airport can be more nerve racking. This raises a question, was this the only land area these countries had to build a runway? 

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Bike Lanes

Seth Dixon's insight:

In a busy city like New York, there are never enough places for parking and lanes for traffic.  There is simply not enough space for the flow to be smooth and efficient.  Cyclists that attempt to assert their right to the street are often times referred to as cyclist activists or hipsters as though their activism or cultural differences makes them synonymous with an extremism that  is more easy to dismiss.  Many hold views that privilege a motorists right to space in the city above that of a cyclist.  I saw this tweet by a NYC cycling organization that referred to "activist drivers" who park in the bike lane as attempting to create a "guerrilla can lane."  They used the terms and language used against them and superimposed it on the larger motorist community which sees itself as having a more natural right to all space in the city.  This video embedded above is an excellent spoof and highlights the dangers of being a cyclist in a motorist-centric world.


Tags: transportation, cycling, urban, planning, territoriality, space.

Sofia Speranza's curator insight, October 10, 2013 2:10 PM

BIKERS. be aware of dangers on the street path

Ryan G Soares's curator insight, December 3, 2013 10:27 AM

I find this to be very true. I have gone to big cities such as Boston and New York and it is always chaotic. I find that there is always terrible parking in the big cities. Also it seems very dangerous for the average civilian trying to get to his or her job on a daily basis. Me not being from around the area found it difficult to navigate.

Victoria McNamara's curator insight, December 12, 2013 12:45 PM

Bikers in New York City should know better not to ride their bikes around the streets because it is so busy and the traffic can be difficult. I know people use bikes to commute to work or school but this is New Yorks job to create more bike paths for people who want to use their bikes to commute. This will be safer for people to ride their bikes whenever they want. 

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An Intriguingly Detailed Animation of How People Move Around a City

An Intriguingly Detailed Animation of How People Move Around a City | Geography Education |
Watch the commuting patterns of New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles.
Seth Dixon's insight:

This CityLab article and the embedded maps show the rhythms and patterns that make city life so beautifully complex.  The Center for Advances Spatial Analysis has compiled numerous maps, time-lapse videos and other animations to show flows of urban life.  These are great resources to visualize the 'spaces of flows.'  

Tags: mobility, mapping, visualization, urban, planning, unit 7 cities, transportation.

Tom Cockburn's curator insight, July 13, 5:49 AM

possibly useful for studying complexity

Linda Alexander's curator insight, July 13, 10:41 AM

You can actually plug-in income levels for these 3 cities and view daily commutes.  Fascinating CityLab data!


Bronwyn Burke's curator insight, July 13, 6:28 PM

Another fabulous post for Year 7 from Seth Dixon. An aspect of liveability  in colour!

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This Is the Traffic Capital of the World

This Is the Traffic Capital of the World | Geography Education |
There are only 650 major intersections here—but somehow only 60 traffic lights.
Seth Dixon's insight:

Dhaka is the capital of Bangladesh and (as I often tell my students) it is the biggest city that nobody has ever heard of.  The infrastructure is so incredibly limited that traffic jams cost the city an estimated $3.8 billion in delays and air pollution.  This is an excellent article to explore some of the problems confronting megacities. 

Tags: Bangladeshtransportation, planning, density, South Asia, development, economic, megacities.

Teresa Gallego Navarro's curator insight, July 7, 6:43 AM

¿movilidad urbana?  -¿algo habrá que gestionar aquí?


Stephen Zimmett's curator insight, July 7, 10:45 AM

seth dixon:This is an excellent article to explore some of the problems confronting megacities.

Jade ten Kate's curator insight, July 10, 1:01 AM


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The Silk Road: Connecting the ancient world through trade

"With modern technology, a global exchange of goods and ideas can happen at the click of a button. But what about 2,000 years ago? Shannon Harris Castelo unfolds the history of the 5,000-mile Silk Road, a network of multiple routes that used the common language of commerce to connect the world's major settlements, thread by thread."

Seth Dixon's insight:

This TED-ED lesson was produced in part by an AP Human Geography teacher and the strands of geographic thought in this video are evident.  More geographers should make their own TED ED lessons; thanks for blazing the trail Shannon! 

Tags: TED, worldwide, transportation, globalization, diffusion, historical, and video.

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Not dead yet: The American shopping mall is changing, not going away

Not dead yet: The American shopping mall is changing, not going away | Geography Education |
J.C. Penny in peril, Sears is sinking. Is this the end of the American shopping mall?

Last Friday sandwich chain Quiznos filed for bankruptcy protection citing high debt loads and heavy completion. Coming just days after a similar filing from pizza chain Sbarro, Quiznos’ bankruptcy was the second half of a one-two gut punch for shopping malls at a time when they’ve never been more vulnerable. A decade ago there were more than 1,100 enclosed shopping malls in the U.S. Since then more than 400 have  either been “re-purposed” or closed outright. No new malls have been completed since at least 2009.

Seth Dixon's insight:

While all malls aren't dead, this chilling photo gallery of abandoned malls in a fascinating landscape portrayal of economic over-reach. 

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3 Cities With Freeways Going Nowhere

3 Cities With Freeways Going Nowhere | Geography Education |
Once thought to be symbols of prosperity, innercity highways are now just eyesores — and sources of civic dysfunction — to some new urbanists.
Seth Dixon's insight:

This TED Talk also explores what cities should be with old freeways, suggesting that they should be dismantled and the spaces revitalized (and yes, my inner-Californian linguistic roots demands that I call them freeways).

Tags: transportation, urban, planning.

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Cycling Infrastructure

The Netherlands is well known for its excellent cycling infrastructure. How did the Dutch get this network of bicycle paths? Read more: http://bicycledutch.w...
Jessica Rieman's curator insight, March 5, 4:35 PM

This video depicts the way that the Dutch got there cycling in the early years and it also shows the maufacturing process in which goes into making a bike. In this video it goes flashbacks of how the bike has evolved throughtout generations and time.

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Walmart Slumber Party

Walmart Slumber Party | Geography Education |
Who wants to spend the night in a Walmart parking lot?

There are a few generally accepted principles when it comes to the etiquette of spending the night in a vehicle in a Walmart parking lot. One night only. No chairs or barbecue grills outside an R.V. Shop at the store for gas, food or supplies, if you can, as a way of saying thanks. Walmart, the country’s largest discount retailer, says you’re welcome: its Web site says that R.V. travelers are “among our best customers.” The photographer Nolan Conway has been taking pictures of Walmart’s resident guests at several stores in central Arizona. Sophia Stauffer, a 20-year-old who travels the country in a van with her boyfriend and their dog, describes their lots, which usually feel quiet and safe, as their best option for most nights. “We really don’t want to work or live in a house,” she says.

Seth Dixon's insight:

Mobility studies and movement are key elements within geography.  This photo gallery is an intriguing glimpse into a distinct way of experiencing the United States that highlights a hyper-mobile subculture.  When discussing place we often think of the residents and workers, and think of those that use the place with some degree of permanence.  However, many people’s personal geographies are much more ephemeral, and some places are defined by their impermanence and flows.  Wanderlust can strike those in all socioeconomic sectors, and this is a great preview of those on the road.  Fittingly, the dog in this image is named Kerouc.   

Darien Southall's comment, March 3, 1:23 AM
When I was younger my family went on a road trip before heading to a family reunion. The half a week we were on the road we stopped in Walmart parking lots during the nights. Honestly, I think that staying in a Walmart parking lot is something everyone should experience while on the road (whether it be good or bad).
Lauren Jacquez's curator insight, March 3, 12:26 PM

We see this all the time at our Walmarts in Fresno!


Willow Weir's comment, March 10, 12:07 PM
I can see the appeal of safety and the inexpensive nature compared to a camp. I don't think the ability to camp in their parking lots makes up for walmarts many ills considering how many families they keep in poverty
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9 Reasons the U.S. Ended Up So Much More Car-Dependent Than Europe

9 Reasons the U.S. Ended Up So Much More Car-Dependent Than Europe | Geography Education |
Understanding mistakes of the past can help guide U.S. transportation policy in the future.

In 2010, Americans drove for 85 percent of their daily trips, compared to car trip shares of 50 to 65 percent in Europe. Longer trip distances only partially explain the difference. Roughly 30 percent of daily trips are shorter than a mile on either side of the Atlantic. But of those under one-mile trips, Americans drove almost 70 percent of the time, while Europeans made 70 percent of their short trips by bicycle, foot, or public transportation.  The statistics don't reveal the sources of this disparity, but there are nine main reasons American metro areas have ended up so much more car-dependent than cities in Western Europe.

Tracy Galvin's curator insight, April 26, 3:49 PM

Since the US is at least four times larger than Europe it is difficult to compare the need for a vehicle between the two. Most of middle America is very spread out. We are fortunate that each person has more land available to them but that also means things are far apart. Creating more condensed "towns" that are essentially mini communities will help eliminate the need for cars in the US.

Jess Deady's curator insight, May 2, 5:52 PM

The U.S. depends on cars to get everywhere. There is no arguing that the U.S. is more car dependents than dozens of other countries. Europe however, is in closer quarters to their working centers than the U.S. is. This is why and how Europe can depends on other methods of transportation such as bicycles to get them to work.

Paige Therien's curator insight, May 4, 1:46 PM

This is an interesting analyzation of how the U.S. and Europe became so different in terms of transportation methods.  In my personal experience, the U.S. is now so dependent on cars that there is a stigma in riding public transportation and bikers are seen as a nuisance.  In this article, the "Technological Focus" and its points  is relevant to many things outside of transportation and the U.S. strictly; the world needs to start thinking about behavior in order to make things better instead of developing new or better tools.

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Transportation and Planning

"When you combine a street and a road, you get a STROAD, one of the most dangerous and unproductive human environments. To get more for our transportation dollar, America needs an active policy of converting STROADs to productive streets or high capacity roadways."

Seth Dixon's insight:

In this video, a road provides high connectivity between places, and a street is a diverse platform of social interactions that create a place.  A 'stroad' can be likened unto a spork--it tries to do it everything but does nothing especially well.  While you may debate the principle being shown, this video (found on Atlantic Cities) is a good way to show the spatial thinking that city planners need to utilize to improve the urban environment. 

Tagstransportation, urban, planning.

Marcelle Searles's curator insight, January 25, 5:03 AM

the danger of stroads

François Lanthier's curator insight, January 31, 2:19 PM

The Stroad - an unfortunate phenomenon... NYC is taking action to minimize its' STROADS... more cities should do the same.

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Pipeline On Wheels: Trains Are Winning Big Off U.S. Oil

Pipeline On Wheels: Trains Are Winning Big Off U.S. Oil | Geography Education |
The railroad industry is eager to be the go-to oil shipper, but some worry it's moving too fast.
Seth Dixon's insight:

Many hoping to stop environmental degradation of Canada's Tar Sands and the Dakotas "Kuwait on the Prairie" have opposed the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline.  It's been decades since crude oil has been shipped by rail in the United States but fracking technologies have opened up areas without oil pipelines to become major producers.  As demonstrated in this NPR podcast, the railroad industry has seized on this vacuum and since 2009 has been supplying the oil industry the means to get their product to the market.   

Tagstransportation, industry, economic, energy, resources, environment, environment modify.

Tony Aguilar's curator insight, December 8, 2013 3:46 AM

The idea of using trains instead of oil pipelines in the North Dakota regions is smart, over the idea of the time and energy it takes to transport oil through pipes. Big industry always causes parts of the enviornment to suffer but the lesser of the evils must be chosen. In the area of shipping oil on trains it is the sandy prarie like areas that can suffer physically. With oil business fracking has also been a big issue were rocks deep beneath the ground are broken up to release oil up to the surface. Yes this brings companies lots of money, but causes harm to homes, leaking oil, causing explosions and even earthquakes. This can be tricky especially when these kinds of companies are supported by the federal government

Connie Anderson's curator insight, December 8, 2013 3:01 PM

"Forward on climate?" This news is backwards and at least 40,000 people who attended "Forward on Climate" rallies throughout our nation in February 2013 will continue to question, protest peacefully, and convince others that we MUST reduce our dependence on oil no matter how it is transported!

ManuMan's curator insight, December 8, 2013 10:55 PM

As steel and rail built this county, oil and rail will rebuild it. 

Scooped by Seth Dixon!

Ruling On NYC Disaster Plans For Disabled May Have Far Reach

Ruling On NYC Disaster Plans For Disabled May Have Far Reach | Geography Education |

"A year after Superstorm Sandy stranded many New Yorkers without power for days, a federal judge has ruled that New York City's emergency plans violate the Americans with Disabilities Act. Those shortcomings, the judge found, leave almost 900,000 residents in danger, and many say the ruling could have implications for local governments across the country."

Seth Dixon's insight:

I have many more questions than answers after listening to this podcast.  Presumably, most governmental agencies during emergencies are seeking to assist the greatest number of people with limited time and resources; would this court ruling change that mandate?  How will this impact urban planning in the future?  Just how much can plans in times of emergency account for assisting the disabled?  Do you think the City of New York was negligent? 

Tags: disasters, NYC, transportationurban, planning, podcast.

Matthew DiLuglio's curator insight, November 29, 2013 9:35 PM

I am disabled, and while I am not in a wheelchair, I would implore the politicians to come up with accommodations for those that are, or have other severe forms of disabilities.  I damaged my brain and spinal cord in an accident that cost me some of my psychological functions, as well as a lot of the fine motor skills in my hands and body.  I remember what it was like before my accident, and I know that there was nowhere along the line that I asked to be disabled.  The people in wheelchairs, or the people who cannot evacuate themselves from areas of danger, are people that should in fact be prioritized, not left behind, when it comes to evacuating during emergencies.  In class our group discussed that the average able-body person should be prioritized during evacuation, but I kept thinking- what if something happened to them? What if they broke their leg during a flood evacuation?  Should they be left behind?  I would suggest that rather than answer these James Wan-like instances of moral quandary, we prepare for them and come up with access for the handicapped to be evacuated- in such an instance where NO ONE would have to be prioritized OR left behind.  That is the only fair way to deal with this sort of idea, without leaving anybody behind.  I have had dealings with people with disabilities, and a guy I know that is in fact wheelchair bound, is one of the most productively creative people of his age that I have encountered- wheelchair or not, he has produced, written, and directed two full length feature films before his 22nd birthday, one of which has screened at the Sundance Film Festival.  I had the privilege of working with him during some photoshoots, and I was really quite inspired by what he does, enough to pursue film-making on my own.  I feel that people today don't really care until something affects them.  Negative thoughts against those that prioritize against the disabled in events of emergency do not enter my head; rather, I feel that there must be something we can work out now, in a time of no immediate emergency, that can save us all...

Victoria McNamara's curator insight, December 12, 2013 12:34 PM

In my opinion I do not think it was all of New Yorks fault that some handicapp people could not get the help they needed. There are a lot of people in New York and not everyone could make it out even if they were not handicapp. I think these people should have a back up plan as well just incase. You could have a family member, neighbor, or friend come and help you and give you a ride.  

Steven Flis's curator insight, December 16, 2013 11:01 AM

This subject is the definition of a gray area matter. Of course you want to treat everyone equally and have everyone come out of a sotrm unscathed, but to do soo you have to tip the scales so much that it becomes unfair for un handicapped people. Sure New York could of done this better. But also some neglegence has to fall on the citizens. If your and elderly handicap person and know a major storm is comming you should try to evacuate immediatly, you dont need the news to give you the A Ok to go. Yes the City should have gave a heads up atleast 10 hours in advance so people could better prepare better but the citizens have to be away of their own situation. This comes down to an ancient survival theme the survival of the fittest were if you weak and not smart you die off simple ass that.

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Ship-Shipping Ships

Ship-Shipping Ships | Geography Education |

"This is a ship-shipping ship, shipping shipping ships."

Seth Dixon's insight:

The two industries that are the real backbone of globalization are transportation and communication.  What has accelerated the pace of global interconnectedness is the scale of these devices and their ubiquity in facilitating massive global commerce. Economies of scale infuse our transportation and communicating technologies, boosting the diffusion of countless other technologies. China's transportation infrastructure, for example has undergone some amazing physical transformations that have made their economic growth possible.  If, however, you only want to laugh at the tongue-twister of ship-shipping ships shipping shipping ships,  this is the internet meme for you

Tags: transportation, globalization, diffusion, industry, economic.

Jamie Strickland's curator insight, October 15, 2013 1:35 PM

First, this is a fantastic photo...a freighter shipping other freighters.  As my colleague Seth Dixon points out, this is a fantastic image of one of the important drivers of the acceleration of globalization in recent history.  

jim dzialo's curator insight, October 16, 2013 2:54 PM

Pretty sure that doesn't fit in the panama canal


L.Long's curator insight, February 16, 4:28 AM

The two industries that are the real backbone of globalization are transportation and communication.  What has accelerated the pace of global interconnectedness is the scale of these devices and their ubiquity in facilitating massive global commerce.