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The next small thing: How sustainable neighborhoods could reshape cities

The next small thing: How sustainable neighborhoods could reshape cities | Matt's Geography Portfolio | Scoop.it
Residents and planners around the country are dreaming up innovative ways to create eco-friendly, self-reliant communities. But turning ideas into reality is a tall order.

 

Urban revitalization projects gentrification have been an important part of the American scene since the 1990s.  As we reconsider the city, and some of the associated issues with dense living, many are also thinking about the environmental impact of urban life and rethinking how to make neighborhoods more sustainable.  This article uses the Denver Lower Downtown (LoDo) neighborhood as its case study for analyzing sustainability with the city.  


Via Seth Dixon, Gregory S Sankey Jr.
Matthew DiLuglio's insight:

I have totally thought about this before, and a family that I know just spent the past several months remodeling their house to be more 'green.'  I think that in addition to energy, neighborhoods could have community grow-ops, where they grow all the necessary crops to sustain their area- fruits, vegetables, grains, cotton, etc. and I think that the communities would be cleaner, greener, and brought more together if they had the opportunity to work every day to provide for themselves and their community.  I miss out on a lot of enjoyment in life because I have to do things like school.  Other people miss out because they have work, or other obligations.  I think that if people farmed as communities, it would be economically, environmentally, and socially proficuous, as well as eliminating a need for capitalistic trade with other regions, where people might get cheated.  I have so many ideas of Utopia that I have gotten from reading and philosophizing with friends and acquaintences, but there really are so few people that have the ability to implement anything on a large scale, that I am often frustrated with these concepts of 'betterment.'  It really is sad that people are taught so much these days, because their brains are full of garbage, rather than new possibilities.  It would be really interesting to have an experimental colony where these ideas of sustainability could be tried out, but I think that will happen long after my generation has died.

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Gregory S Sankey Jr.'s curator insight, November 19, 2013 3:11 PM

Here we have the perfect example of the positive effects associated with gentrification. Unused and weathering space being revitalized and re-purposed for the benefit of local economy and communitites. Not only that but the intention of these projects is to also operate in an ecologically sustainable manner by using as little resources as possible. The occupation of mill space is something that's even been seen here in Providence, most notably the hope artiste building in Pawtucket on the Providence line.

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Political Ecology: Mapping the Shale Gas Boom

Political Ecology: Mapping the Shale Gas Boom | Matt's Geography Portfolio | Scoop.it
Where in the United States is fracking unlocking natural gas from shale rock?

 


Via Seth Dixon
Matthew DiLuglio's insight:

In class we studied "fracking," or the fracturing of shale deep in the Earth with blasts of fluid, which produces a harvestable oil yield and much pollution to aquifers in the area.  I live at a house sometimes, where the water is rusty- and it really prevents me from doing much of anything with the water.  I can't cook with it, I can't shower in it, I can't drink it, I have to use bottled water to even brush my teeth because the simple rust content is so vile.  I cannot even imagine what the industrial acid- hydrochloric acid, as well as other contaminants in the water- would do to the water someone relies on...  I think of situations where neighbors trees are dangling over someone else's property, and how branches may be required to be cut down because of their interference with neighboring property, and I would hope that something can be done about protection of aquifers, along the same times... If there is something negative or unwanted affecting someone's water, something really should be done about it.  Knowing that there are negative consequences that come along with fracking, I really can't fathom why people do it!  I live in a protected watershed area in Scituate that does not allow development of any kind on one side of the road because of the Scituate Reservoir.  People are not allowed in the Reservoir Property at all, let alone not allowed to dump waste or cause any sort of harm to the environment, because a huge portion of the state of RI gets their water from that reservoir.  I am not an absolute tree-hugger, but I also don't think that such problematic activites should be 'stirred up' in areas that affect something that humans rely on and need to survive.  While I see that I am not affected by these shale fracking ops as are indicated on the map, I also DO care about the peope in those areas! Why should they be subjected to such putrification of their water resources?  I am once again perplexed by the darkness of humanity.

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Candy Copeland's curator insight, November 8, 2013 5:08 PM

Many communities are fighting fracking.  In Texas a man sued oil company and the oil company lost so they conter sued the man for defamation.  Parts of Colorado have recently passed laws to keep fracking out of their communities.  

Liam Michelsohn's curator insight, December 10, 2013 3:48 PM

This was a very interesting topic to read about,  its clear the issue of fracking has so many cracks to it(haha). While whats occuring is completly unnatural, the economic forces behind it are clear, this is a big way to help give amercans cheeper gas. However the effects it has locally are increadibly destuctive and will likely have futher consiquences as fracking continues. I noticed by looking at this map that policialy it seem like fracking is occuring in the red states, seems they want to use there land for the resouces even though it might destroy. While politicaly librals want to protect there enviorments of there blue states. This really adds anouther levle to it and how the placment of these new gas companys is panning out arcosss america.

Kyle Kampe's curator insight, May 28, 2014 11:06 PM

In AP Human Geo., this relates to the concept of the ecological perspective of geography because it describes the relationship between political geography and the ecological makeup of a region.

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China's reliance on coal reduces life expectancy by 5.5 years, says study

China's reliance on coal reduces life expectancy by 5.5 years, says study | Matt's Geography Portfolio | Scoop.it

........"Linking the Chinese pollution data to mortality statistics from 1991 to 2000, the researchers found a sharp difference in mortality rates on either side of the border formed by the Huai River. They also found the variation to be attributable to cardiorespiratory illness, and not to other causes of death."

 

High levels of air pollution in northern China – much of it caused by an over-reliance on burning coal for heat – will cause 500 million people to lose an aggregate 2.5 billion years from their lives, the authors predict in the study, published in the journal the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.


Via Seth Dixon
Matthew DiLuglio's insight:

We talked in class about how certain poor working conditions or pollution emissions are permissible in countries whose laws allow for such situations, and how countries like the US arrange for certain work to be done in those countries.  This 'work' stuff all centers around an ever-necessary "profit" that exists as a carrot being dangled in front of a horse as it runs all of its life, blinded to everything else.  It is almost cartoonish, that for a percentage increase in profit due to minimalized expenses, a moral businessman might yield and give in to the temptation of exposing workers to dangerous conditions... or that all businesses might do the same thing... It is socially dangerous; a hazard like bullying, or cheating, using others as human shields to collect the damage while someone else collects the benefits.  I don't think that any life form should be exposed to such unfairness, because it just does not resonate with my philosophical consciousness that any individual should have a better life than another (or worse).  And why make it worse for someone?  Why pollute their areas?  Why steal their natural resources?  Why... Capitalism at all?  I do not think greed is innate to human nature, because selflessness does occur, and is often leaned towards in conventional modern morality/ethics.  I think that the vicious cycle that capitalism puts us in causes us to self-servingly run around like angry rats trying to feed ourselves, which causes us to take out risks on other people, and polluting other people's living space.  It really is sad, because this planet is alive... there is so much life on this planet, assumedly and debateably from this planet, this planet that we consider our home.  To be killing ourselves by not keeping our home clean and healthy is like a very bad habit- it's like smoking.  And it is taking a toll on the planet, as well as its inhabitants

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Leoncio Lopez-Ocon's curator insight, July 23, 2013 2:34 PM

Estudios sobre los graves efectos de la polución en la salud pública china

Nathan Chasse's curator insight, April 12, 2014 11:20 AM

This article and the accompanying resources describe the damage the pollution problem China has in its cities. China's economic desire to do things as cheaply as possible for the best profit margins has done significant damage to the air and now to its own people. By burning cheap coal to meet energy needs China has created a fairly toxic atmosphere in its Northern cities. The pollution is causing high rates of cardiorespiratory illness and even the government-controlled news can't keep quiet about the issue.

Joseph Thacker 's curator insight, April 15, 2014 5:28 PM

This article explains how China is burning an abundance of coal for heating. The Chinese population is over 1 billion; image the amount of coal that must be burned in order to supply heat for the people of northern China. Unfortunately, the burning coal is polluting the air and causing the Chinese to have lower life expectancies. China, along with other countries should start to find other ways to heat their homes. 

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The Philippines' Geography Makes Aid Response Difficult

The Philippines' Geography Makes Aid Response Difficult | Matt's Geography Portfolio | Scoop.it

Via Seth Dixon
Matthew DiLuglio's insight:

Access to this area is inhibited due to massive devastation, and there was a LOT of damage done.  These people have needs, and it seems that due to the large geographic spread, it would be near impossible to get these people what they need.  I think if our world revolved less around mandated activity- school, work (specifically the low level jobs that we don't NEED in our society), etc.- that more people could be freed up to help proactively come up with solutions to potential devastation, and groups could be formed, equipped, and trained to deal with whatever Nature could throw at people.  If people didn't work at McDonalds, and they DID work at some sort of international rescue agency, doing all the research on all areas of the world ahead of time, the solutions to these problems (and even prevention) could be at hand within a month of a global task force's initiation into the activity.  I know some Americans think that they need workers at McDonalds, but really... They could be working for something larger than the government- the entire human race.  I'm sure people would be willing to fund such an agency (not just some limited range minimal UN task force, but rather a world-wide formally designated occupation), and I'm equally sure that people would rather work there than flipping burgers and changing french fry oil.  I don't think that the current relief programs are enough to help people in such situations of tragedy as those that were relied on to take care of the issue in the Phillipines, and I think a simple restructuring of society (our society) would yield a greater level of concern and involvement in the welfare of others, as well as greater aid to the species.  Who knows, perhaps one of the people that we could save in the Phillipines is a person who goes on to change the world- an inventor of something new, a holy or political leader, or the scientist that cures cancer?  All this could be made to matter to us more if society were tweaked, even slightly, just to allow people to want to help others.

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Kenny Dominguez's curator insight, November 30, 2013 10:59 PM

This is a devastating time for the people of the Philippines. All they have to worry about is staying alive and being close to there family members. Help is on the way. Everyone in the world should pitch in and try to help them in anyway they can. But what I would like to find out is why this has happen when it has not before in this country. This country I have not seen in the news before this big devastation had happened. I am also curious to find out how come the help aid is taking so long to arrive when people are dying because they have no food available for them because it has been destroyed or it is trapped under all the debris from all the buildings that have collapsed because they were not structured properly. this situation is a repeat of hurricane Katrina in the united states were all the house were not hurricane proof and were built in places known for disaster.

Joseph Thacker 's curator insight, April 19, 2014 10:37 PM

Due to the fact the Philippines is made up of over 7,000 islands, it makes aid response very difficult. When natural disasters such as typhoons occur in the Philippines it can negatively affect hundreds of islands, making it difficult to help the people on every island. It can takes days for supplies to arrive on some of the islands, and sometimes people do not even receive necessary supplies such as food and water. Countries, which are composed of numerous islands, face many challenges.  

Tracy Galvin's curator insight, May 3, 2014 7:09 PM

Fortunately, the Philippines has a relatively stable infrastructure so even though lots of areas were hit, the human fatalities and issues are not as bad as they could have been. Unfortunately, these are many islands and getting from one to the next is very difficult when all communications and landing areas are compromised.

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Venice sinking five times faster than thought?

Venice sinking five times faster than thought? | Matt's Geography Portfolio | Scoop.it

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


Via Seth Dixon, Justin Cardoso
Matthew DiLuglio's insight:

The famous city in Italy is sinking, and quickly.  It seems that the transient opportunities of a transient town are like that of other areas exposed to natural inclemence- such as New Orleans, and earthquake zones.  Sooner or later, places that are exposed to disaster will become inhabitable, and possibly abandoned.  When I hear of this city sinking, it makes me think of the Titanic, and how people should likely jump ship out of this situation, before the whole city 'goes under.'  I also think of marshy areas that would not be well-suited for development and inhabitance, and it seems that there is a history in the town that united people to live there in spite of the abundance of water.  Some of my ancestors were from Italy, and I wouldn't want harm to come to their homeland, but it really makes me wonder why they chose such a place to live...  It seems likely to me that the mere fact that it was sinking was not really considered much back then;  they were not as realistically concerned about the longevity of the city in the long run, than they were about the 'now' and the time at hand.  This reflects many facets of humanity and the hedonistic lifestyles that accompany many humans.  Humans that live for today and forget about tomorrow are doomed to live a life of sorry.  Humans that live for tomorrow and not today are out of touch and fail to seize the day.  Humans that live for today but remember tomorrow are the masons that build stairways to new lands for their descendents, and along with that, myriad new possibilities for positive opportunities.  I think some of the wisdom of Italy was put into its architecture and structural design, so that we might remember- we are dying in this life, just as Venice sinks, but we should live life as best as we can, and pave the way for future generations.  Like so, the dumping of wastes into the ocean seems tiny at first, but accumulates over many generations and will leave many ocean species dead, and harm the overall functionality of the Earth as a whole.  Let Venice be a reminder.

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Brett Sinica's curator insight, October 8, 2013 3:36 PM

Day to day, even looking into next year the rate of 2 millimeters per year may not seem drastic.  To a city that has been around for hundreds of years, it's assumed the city plans to stay standing for hundreds more.  Considering the age of the city, say in a couple hundred more years, some buildings could begin to take in water.  It is also possible that certain parts of the city could be sinking faster than others.  There is a similar situation in Mexico City where it was built on a lake and each year that source diminishes due to the demand of water by its residents.  Certain parts of the city are sinking and some buildings are slanted due to the results.  These cities are beautiful  but reality shows that as time passes, it will probably only get worse.  Hopefully preventions can be taken to at least reduce the speed of sinking so that people after us can appreciate the architecture and atmosphere the city has provided all these years.

Jacob Crowell's curator insight, December 8, 2014 12:11 PM

Venice is a city that capitalized on its geography and developed canals so the city could grow despite being so close to sea level. Now that sea levels are rising, Venice is in trouble because its survival is dependent on the water levels, as they become out of control Venice will not be able to withstand the change. There are similar circumstances like in the Maldives where global warming and rising sea levels will put entire countries under water.

Kendra King's curator insight, February 15, 6:58 PM

As you mentioned in class, we are living on constantly moving land features. In the case of Venice, the water is moving in on the city so it is actually sinking and has been for quite some time. What is new to the equation is that it might be sinking “five times more than” originally “calculated or “7.8 inches every hundred years.” I say might be because there are others who quibble about this new find, saying it is inaccurate. Also, there is a damn project in the works to try and combat the sinking. While I am happy that the city is working on slowing the process, I am curious to know what their solution is going to be when the city finally does go under. As I was reading this all I could think of was saving all the rich art and history that this Italian city is famous for. In some ways it is great that the city knows ahead of time that it is sinking because they have time to plan a way to save the important aspects of the city. On another hand though, the city is so below sea level that a natural disaster could cause far more damage than anyone could have foreseen. I just hope that doesn’t happen anytime soon because Venice is definitely on my bucket list.  

 

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The Scientific Guide to Global Warming Skepticism

The Scientific Guide to Global Warming Skepticism | Matt's Geography Portfolio | Scoop.it
Examines the science and arguments of global warming skepticism.

 

This is a very accessible (only 16 pages, and without technical jargon) overview as to why there is a consensus in the scientific community that there is human-induced climate change. 


Via Seth Dixon
Matthew DiLuglio's insight:

This is Global Warming, something I have heard about actively for over a decade.  I do not drive a car, and when I was able to walk everywhere as a primary method of travel, I frequently did so.  Some things that we've learned about are things that I can relate to or understand- like protection of water resources, or studying change in areas as is visible from space,- but Global Warming I don't entirely 'feel.'  Yes, I have noticed that it gets much warmer in summers than it used to, but I can't really see how I can directly have anything to do with it? I know it will affect my generation and future generations, but aside from activism, protesting, and carpooling, there doesn't seem to be a whole lot that it really has to do with anything that I could possibly do about it.  I also know that this pattern has occurred over every several thousand years, and that there used to be ice ages periodically.  We are on a flying orb being hurled through space at thousands of miles per hour, orbiting around a giant flame ball that will explode one day- so we have a species death clock that says that we will either die then or have followed Timothy Leary's SMILE recipe for survival-, in a galaxy in a universe in (an endless? set of larger entities, made up of equally endless?ly smaller entities... endlessly?)...

.... and a slight degree change over a hundred years really worries people?  I can't help but chuckle as I fully visualize that situation.  It's like a nuclear bomb is about to go off, and the guy in the immediate blast radius is afraid of common cold germs on his shoelaces... oh humans... I really am perplexed at what 'the human race' at large considers important...

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