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Rescooped by Matthew Wahl from Geography Education!

NYTimes video: "Skateistan"

NYTimes video: "Skateistan" | Human Geography |

"Afghan youth have very limited options for sports and recreation. An Australian man is trying to change that."  Issues of ethnicity, class and gender are right on the surface.  Globalization, cultural values and shifting norms make this a good discussion piece.  

Via Seth Dixon
Amanda Morgan's curator insight, October 19, 7:39 PM

This video is a great example of globalization and how cultures can cross paths.  In this case, many kids are embracing the idea of skateboarding.  Not all, however are so accepting of Western ideas.  The Australian man who created this "Skateistan" is doing something groundbreaking for those living in this part of the world.

James Hobson's curator insight, October 21, 6:49 PM

(Central Asia topic 2)

This video illustrates how a positive impact is being made in an oftentimes negative and bleak part of the world. Though some may scrutinize it as too small-scale or westernization, I believe this is a great starting point for the causes of promoting opportunity, getting kids 'off the streets', and as an example of how boundaries can be crossed beneficially. It seems wise for embassies to invest in projects such as this in the same way that police in South America are asked to provide community service to the areas they serve: the stigma of 'the other' and irrational fears can be done away with and allow people such as the Afghans to more effectively have their problems solved from the inside out.

In addition, issues of cultural and religious restrictions, such as those on women, may have voices gaining ground that will help adapt them to a more equal-gendered, modern world.


Shanelle Zaino's curator insight, October 22, 1:25 PM

This is an inspirational video it is very powerful to see someone trying to make life better. The young Australian man that has created this program should be applauded. Watching this video you can tell that this simple gesture brings so much joy to these children. One feeling that comes to mind is yes countries can seem different but they can also seem familiar. These children are just like any others they want to play and have fun. I think this is a wonderful program for them to help them forget about the dangerous world they live in.

Rescooped by Matthew Wahl from Geography Education!

Kabul, A City Stretched Beyond Its Limits

Decades of war, migration and chaotic sprawl have turned the Afghan capital into a barely functioning dust bowl. The city's tired infrastructure is crumbling; water, sewers and electricity are in short supply.


Keeping an urban system running smoothly is a difficult proposition in developed countries that are stable--what is in like a place like Afghanistan?  This podcast is a excellent glimpse into the cultural, economic, environmental and political struggles of a city like Kabul.  This is urban geography in about a problematic a situation as possible.   

Via Seth Dixon
Paige Therien's curator insight, May 4, 12:38 PM

Afghanistan's capital city of Kabul has seen a population influx due to war refugees and people trying to find more opportunity.  However, this desert region cannot support all these people, especially now that many of the resources have been used up.  There isn't much food, electricity, and water.  Many resources have to be shipped in from private vendors, making it even more expensive.  The government does not help and people cannot afford to leave (those that can leave typically perpetuate "brain-drain" in the area).  However, overlooking the cityscape are "Poppy Houses" and other developments, which are gated, developed communities build on money from the opium trade and which have access to water.  This illustrates the global pattern of the rich benefiting at the poor's expense.

Shanelle Zaino's curator insight, October 21, 4:27 PM

NPR frequently has stories that are not always popularized in the mainstream media and I applaud their efforts for that. I believe this piece is no exception. We so often do not think of the pressure growing populations and modernization have on a city's infrastructure. This is especially true in a city like Kabul.Kabul is the capital of war torn Afghanistan and it is crumbling. Afghanistan has been enduring a civil war since 1978.70% of the country is considered desolate.Growing populations,war,sewage,cars and lack of space are creating for a difficult environment. Due to poverty many can not leave. Some homes can have up to 20 people living in them at once.Drugs and  prostitution are one the rise and crime is regular. Traffic is over flowing on mostly dirt roads. It may take hours to cross from one end of the city to another.However there is some hope.Some residents are investing more in their homes in the absence of fear of loosing them to the government.Highrises are being built. If residents have the means then they are able to afford more opportunities.Many wealthy people are able to leave the regular neighborhoods and travel to gated communities. The only time people will have to leave is to go to the city center. Despite the slight improvements for some,Kabul is definitely a city stretched to it's limits.

James Hobson's curator insight, October 21, 6:28 PM

(Central Asia topic 1 {5 topics from here & 5 from Russia merged})

I see a few similarities between what Kabul has experienced and the "favelas" in South America. Both experience a major lack of infrastructure, government support, and an increase in small, crowded, unstable housings. However, Kabul seems to be taking at least a small step forward, economically and spatially speaking. The video mentions how on the undeveloped periphery of the city, large developments have begun to take root. Being able to plan ahead allows for more efficiency and simplicity. One small example would be that of roads: why continue to put up with crowded, narrow,  winding streets (like those found throughout Boston and Providence historical areas) when wider, straighter, more accommodating ways can be had (like the perfectly straight, right-angled streets of more 'planned-out' cities of Las Vegas and Phoenix).