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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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Portland: A Tale of Two Cities

Portland: A Tale of Two Cities | Matt's Geography Portfolio | Scoop.it

"Portland is a city that some residents praise as a kind of eden: full of bike paths, independently-owned small businesses, great public transportation and abundant microbreweries and coffeeshops. And then there’s a whole other city. It’s the city where whole stretches of busy road are missing sidewalks, and you can see folks in wheelchairs rolling themselves down the street right next to traffic. It’s the city where some longtime African-American residents feel as if decades of institutional racism still have not been fully addressed."


Via Seth Dixon
Matthew DiLuglio's insight:

I don't think that Earth offers everything for everyone.  Given the situation of predetermination about birthplace and essentially upbringing, social class, and outcomes, in an infinite universe (infinite until proven otherwise), a single small planet cannot possibly offer us everything we are destined to need in the universe, let alone the towns that we are limited to.  I do not believe in choice, I believe in destiny... I do not blame people for racism or crimes, as HORRIBLE as they may be. I think that people are made into what they are by the world around them, in existential and defining ways.  Yeah, there is plenty of room for improvement and change in Oregon, but realistically, there is also more room for improvement in other areas too.  I don't really see humans as the sort of people that will ever get better without some sort of divine intervention.  I am taking the perspective of separation of paradise and purgatory that was mentioned in this article, and applying it to a different scale, but I do believe that mankind is to be condemned by the universe, due to its faults and inability to play well with others.  The world freaks out when kidnapping victims are found after a decade of abuse and captivity, but this same world breeds animals for slaughter and consumption... Earthlings clearly have been taught to not care about those that are different, whether in looks or species... I think the kidnapping situation is vile and appalling, but I also think that breeding species for slaughter (which affects more living beings) is democratically more of an issue.

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Seth Dixon's curator insight, October 8, 2013 1:11 PM

Portland, Oregon is often discussed as a magnet for a young demographic that wants to be part of a sustainable city that supports local businesses and agriculture.  This podcast looks behind that image (which has a measure of truth to it) to see another story.  Relining, gentrification, poverty, governance and urban planning are all prominent topics in this 50 minute podcast that provides as fascinating glimpse into the poorer neighborhoods of this intriguing West Coast city.  When in cities, we often use the term sustainability to refer to the urban ecology, but here we see a strong concern for the social sustainability of their historic neighborhoods as well. 


Tags: neighborhood, gentrificationurban, place, culture, economic, racepovertyplace, socioeconomic.

Gregory S Sankey Jr.'s curator insight, November 19, 2013 1:21 PM

Recently I came across a craigslist post from a gentleman who was trying to rally individuals to Portland with him for a journey on the "Michigan Trail" to Detroit. He made promise that the intention was to perform rejuvinating work in  Detroit alongside it's current residents and that there would be "no gentrification." 

Not that I found these statements or intentions to be profound or useful in anyway, but this podcast really put a nail in the coffin for me. The effects of gentrification are well known for both their positive and negative aspects. But the bottom line is this, regardless of intention the poor and diverse populations will be displaced unless it is from them that this renaissance takes place. Not Portlandia hipsters looking for some sort of "promise land."  

Portland apparentely has it's own issues with gentrification and a class of social and cultural norms that make it difficult to make the case for cities on the rise to take the same path.  

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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, 2015 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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Geography of Aspiration

Geography of Aspiration | Matt's Geography Portfolio | Scoop.it
Try to replicate it with development schemes all you want, but you're overlooking what makes New York City—and other places of ambition—so great.

Via Seth Dixon
Matthew DiLuglio's insight:

I think that historical opportunity is what makes NYC so great... well, great as implied by the writers of this article.  Having a good history, it is only natural that it would become something so popular and draw the ambitious to it.  In contrast, a newly formed colony of humans on Mars would be potentially better- because in this hypothetical/planned colony, people would be able to benefit from the fact that they are building from the ground up, from scratch, and with the knowledge of other development schemes/trends that occurred elsewhere.  This could entirely circumvent all ill aspects of society... Sometimes to create, one must first destroy... perhaps NYC should be rebuilt to eliminate problems, before humans move on to other worlds?  I thought NY was a bit of a mess when I drove through with my cousin.  The graffiti was gorgeous, but the filth and traffic were quite triumphant, and it is not a place where my ambition would lead me.  I think true talent will be found, regardless of this subliminal advertisment brought about by the article endorsing NYC as a 'place of ambition.'  Not all of us can go to these 'meccas' of talent... but it doesn't mean we are any less extravagent as life forms.  I would ask if most people would want to make it big in places like that, or if they would rather be happier, elsewhere.

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Seth Dixon's curator insight, June 4, 2013 11:38 PM

Part of the economic success of a city can be an overriding cultural ethos of the metropolitan area.  This elusive spirit of the city is often referred to as a sense of place, which many sound 'fluffy' to some, but can have some very tangible impacts on the urban economic development.  This article answers the question, "How does a sense of place impact urban economic development?" by using various U.S. cities such as New York City, Portland and San Francisco.  


Tags: urban, economic, place, neighborhood.

Dean Haakenson's comment, June 6, 2013 11:30 AM
Very cool.
Steven Flis's curator insight, December 17, 2013 2:53 PM

This reminds me of the production method idea you taught us where even though you may be able to produce 2 products better than a third world country it is for the best if you have them do what they excel at while you do your thing. (You made a lebron james reference in class). the reason why im connecting this is because every city has its own thing to offer with San fran being the arts portland with the mom and pop shops and new york with the enterainment. if you can excel at what you do then your city can blossom.

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Ruling On NYC Disaster Plans For Disabled May Have Far Reach

Ruling On NYC Disaster Plans For Disabled May Have Far Reach | Matt's Geography Portfolio | Scoop.it

"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."


Via Seth Dixon
Matthew DiLuglio's insight:

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...

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Courtney Burns's curator insight, November 24, 2013 8:03 PM

It is really sad that there wasn't a plan in place already for diabled people in such a time. However I don't think that the city of New York should be fined for it. This poor planning most likely exists all around the U.S and this was an eye opening experience as to what needs to be done for the future. Any money they are fined should be used towards a relief program or for a plan for future crisis's. However instead of fining them I think the government should order a new plan of attack for the futre, and all of the money should be put into that plan. The city might be able to create a sort of transportation sytem for disabled people or even warn the city earlier next time. It is tough to accomodate everyone in a crisis because there is so much commotion goin on, but I do belive that there can be a better plan put in place to make sure everyone has a fair shot to evacuate. No person should be stranded because of a disability. New York needs to put their money into creating a plan of attack for the future and other states need to follow suit so that we can prevent something like this in the future. 

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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Mapping Rocky's Run

Mapping Rocky's Run | Matt's Geography Portfolio | Scoop.it

"As a kid, I grew up watching the Rocky movies, shadow boxing with my brothers and doing push-ups during the workout montages.  One on my favorite scenes was in Rocky II when Rocky runs through the whole city of Philadelphia, thronged by adoring fans as he runs to the top of the stairs to the Philadelphia Museum of Art (and yes, of course I re-enacted that scene when I was there)."


Via Seth Dixon
Matthew DiLuglio's insight:

My family and I have watched the Rocky series a handful of times, and a month or two ago, my grandmother called our house all frantically to let us know that "Rocky" was on TV, in case we wanted to watch it.  I used to be big into going for long walks across a few towns every night, and this article reminded me of some of the walks that I had been on, and have actually mapped out.  The expression "walking around in circles" does not fully apply to many places, because they have semi-straight roads and often have 90 degree intersections with other roads, which would make it walking in rectangular patterns.  I have walked well over 20 miles in a single night, and found myself exploring side roads and looking them up later on an online map of the area.  In this article, Rocky runs in a "circular" pattern, but from his house to the final steps that he runs up at a museum, rather than returning to his house.  In this map with the article, Rocky is shown as covering a large area on his run, without overlapping the same areas all that often.  "Rocky" is a series about achieving dreams and defying odds- actions that are different with different characters and different outcomes in every movie.  It makes sense that Rocky covers a little bit of the same ground twice, metaphorically in the movies, and literally on the map, but also that he achieves his destination after going the long and difficult distance rather than a bee-line to the destination, that would defeat the depth of the story.  Rocky's run is symbolic as a journey mentally, physically, and spiritually, and is enforced by the route that he was found to have run, as analyzed by this article and its links.  While I found myself walking 15 miles to a place, and back in the same night, I was merely part of a cycle.  Rocky is a hero because he went the distance.

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Expert's comment, September 25, 2013 10:08 PM
Good http://www.skoyun.com
Courtney Burns's curator insight, November 24, 2013 8:14 PM

I too loved this movie growing up. Everytime Rocky was brought up you always remebered the part when Rocky ran up the stairs to the statue after his long training run. Just from his run you see the type of community they lived in. His town was very rundown, but you still got a sense of community by the way people yelled and cheered for Rocky as he ran by. They may not have had much as a community, but they supported each other and took pride in their city. You were able to get all of this just from the different landmarks you saw Rocky pass by on his run. You may not think about it at the time, but the location and scenary really paints a picture of the type of lifestlye and culture Rocky grew up in, and what makes him the man that he is. That is all just from simply paying attention to the landmarks that he runs by. Location really effects a person and you can see that in this movie. Rocky was a fighter who never gave up. His community was the same way. And looking at the map I don't think I was would ever want to run that far. It appeared a lot shorter in the movie than it actually is!

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Urban Observatory

Urban Observatory | Matt's Geography Portfolio | Scoop.it

The Urban Observatory city comparison app enables you to explore the living fabric of great cities by browsing a variety of cities and themes.


Via Seth Dixon
Matthew DiLuglio's insight:

I have been using Google Earth to check out a few different areas that I have and have not been to, particularly Washington D.C./Maryland, which I visited last month for the first time.  I thought it was truly awesome and loved all the subtle differences as well as the larger and more obvious differences from RI.  This Observatory is pretty interesting, and doesn't limit your observations to strictly visual perceptions, unlike most Astrological Observatories.  It is a compendium of knowledge, information, and facts that define and characterize, categorize and redefine areas of the world.  This seems like something out of Minority Report or Deja Vu (two really good sci-fi movies with visual observation technology that looks through time), both because of its appearance, and because of its general function.  It also reminds me of some stuff that I've seen in the 1967 "The Prisoner" series, which really blew my mind about sociological portayals of the occasionally subversive human condition from entirely oppressing parties and circumstances.  Hopefully this information will, as comes with great power, be treated with great responsibility... For all our sakes.

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Seth Dixon's curator insight, July 9, 2013 2:14 PM

Yesterday at the ESRI User Conference, the Urban Observatory (CLICK THE PREVIOUS LINK) was unveiled.  The physical display contained images from cities around the world to compare and contrast diverse urban environments.  The online version of this was announced during in a 10 minute talk by Jack Dangermond and Hugh Keegan.  This interactive mapping platform let's users access 'big data' and have it rendered in thematic maps.  These maps cover population patterns, transportation networks, and weather systems.  This is a must see.  Read Forbes' article on the release of Urban Observatory here.

 

Tags: transportation, urban, GIS, geospatial, ESRI.

Utiya Chusna Sitapraptiwi's curator insight, July 15, 2013 5:44 AM

Easy to find a picture of the city in the world. 

David Week's curator insight, August 12, 2014 6:05 PM

Nice. I'm going to try it.

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The Ambiguous Triumph of the “Urban Age”

The Ambiguous Triumph of the “Urban Age” | Matt's Geography Portfolio | Scoop.it

"At the very moment when urban population has been reported to surpass the rural, this distinction has lost most of its significance, at least in many parts of the affluent world. Two hundred years ago, before automobiles, telephones, the internet and express package services, cities were much more compact and rural life was indeed very different from urban life. Most inhabitants of rural areas were tied to agriculture or industries devoted to the extraction of natural resources. Their lives were fundamentally different from those of urban dwellers."


Via Seth Dixon
Matthew DiLuglio's insight:

I have spent a lot of time in cities.  I think that urbanization as well as popularity of city-jobs will come to a halt once other planets are colonized.  People will be able to spread out and move towards equilibrium and equality, but right now, cities seem like an excuse to open up potential for danger.  In AVP II: Requiem, the people were ordered to the main area of city for an 'evacuation.'  This evacuation never happened; instead, the area was bombed.  It seems more strategically optimal for foreign or alien invasions to have people living closely in urban areas than it would for them to be spaced out in various country areas.  I know it is terrible to think about that sort of stuff, but the title of this article is "The Ambiguous Triumph of the 'Urban Age,'" and I don't think that cities and urbanization are triumphant at all.  I live in the sticks in Scituate, and I have had so many incredible spiritual experiences in the woods, and deep philosophical discussions with friends there, that I really condemn cities for what it takes away from the spirtual/animal part of being human.  I fear evolution will bring about mass dystopia- as it has done in some countries, and I also do not think that automobiles are a good thing.  I really disapprove of so many things in cities and urban societies, and I am unhappy when I see praise brought into the contexts of terrible achievements that damage the Earth.

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