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A change of scene in Europe's cities

A change of scene in Europe's cities | Sinica Geography 400 | Scoop.it
Maybe it's time to abandon the well-trodden tourist circuit on your next trip to Europe and head to the river.

Via Rebecca Farrea
Brett Sinica's insight:

Almost every city in the world has a direct source of water whether it be the ocean, lake, or rivers.  Water helps sustain life as well as be used for transportation and power to name a few.  Europe is very rich with rivers and watersheds which has led to many cities being able to flourish inland.  In many of the older cities it is good to see somewhat of a revitalization along the riverfronts.  These areas act as a magnet for economy and people to prosper and experience what the city truly has to offer.  The various rivers can act as a foundation for a city to thrive and rejuvenate itself as well as shape a new picture in the years to come.

Outside of Europe in the United States, a similar plan was conducted in Providence, Rhode Island.  The river running through the city was "reconstructed" and new bridges and parks were put in place to accomodate the new layout.  Waterplace park was completed in the mid-90's which paved the way to an opening of the large Providence Place Mall and other tourist attractions in the heart of downtown.  This single step to altering the waterways proved to turn the entire city into a progressive hub for tourism, architecture, and arts.  This American city is just an example of the possible outcomes that cities can experience with adjusting and/or enhancing the waterways provided to them.

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Rebecca Farrea's curator insight, October 17, 2013 2:10 PM

As discussed in our class session on Europe, rivers have always been and will always be very important to European nations for many reasons.  European rivers were pivotal in history in regards to allowing explorers and traders to travel and to reach particular destinations to form colonies and to trade with the native people in these places.  Rivers are also important for industry as they provide transportation of materials, resources, and goods.  They also serve as a natural resource in that they can provide hydroelectric power to run businesses.  Now, some of these rivers in European cities are becoming tourist attractions where visitors can learn about their important histories and enjoy the nature of them.

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Venice sinking five times faster than thought?

Venice sinking five times faster than thought? | Sinica Geography 400 | 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
Brett Sinica's insight:

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.

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Courtney Burns's curator insight, September 14, 2013 9:37 PM

This summer I visited Venice for the fist time. It was an amazing experience, and by far my favorite city in Italy. To think that one day the city will be completely under water is unfathomable. Thinking about it 1.5 inches every 100 years doesn't really seem that fast when we talk about it. 

Even though it will take a very long time for the city of Venice to be completely submerged under water, it is crazy to think that one day people will not be able to visit this city. Hopefully the city isn't sinking five times faster than we thought. The new study in the article suggests that Venice will sink 7.8 inches every 100 years. The two researchers should compare data to see how there can be that drastic of a difference in their findings. Hopefully someday we can come up with a solution to slow the process of submerge. 

Matthew DiLuglio's curator insight, September 30, 2013 8:47 PM

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.

Paige McClatchy's curator insight, October 6, 2013 9:27 PM

So not only is Mexico City sinking, but Venice is as well, and five times faster than we thought at that. If the heart of an urban, sprawling city becomes completely destroyed what changes will be made to the outlying areas? Will they break up into multiple, smaller districts each with a central area? Where will the rich who used to reside in the heart move to?

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Extreme Sports +Beautiful Landscapes

A few clips from flying in Switzerland the last two weeks, plus some old ones.. First shot is from Trond Teigen (http://www.youtube.com/JumpTeigen )

 

Beautiful physical geography and extreme sports with a video camera gives us a spectacular view of some glaciated valleys, cliff faces, fjords and mountainous terrain. 


Via Seth Dixon
Brett Sinica's insight:

These "GoPro" cameras are truly one of a kind.  I would never personally do this type of stunt, but the few people that are willing to share this perspective are greatly appreciated.  The scenic views in Scandinavia are unique considering their ancient land formations.  The glaciation which formed in this specific region are like no other, the colors and various land matter all in one shot with rivers, mountains, and green valleys.  Even some of the fjords give off an emerald color from the oceans which can be seen as they literally fly down the cliffs and mountainsides.  Pictures are one thing, but a video of a birds eye view is on another level.

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Sean Rooney's comment, October 3, 2012 9:04 AM
Great way to actually experience the physical geography of Switzerland. Nice close up view of the valleys and cliffs. I wonder how long the flight down is? Even though I don't like heights this looks tempting.
chris tobin's comment, March 22, 2013 1:59 PM
Great video ....pretty high up, makes you feel like a bird or something, and boy! does he sure come close to the sides of the cliffs! Wonder while he shut the camera off for the descent? that would have been pretty cool. The song was "don't stop my delerium" pretty cool thanks!
Lauren Stahowiak's curator insight, February 27, 5:48 PM

The extremity of wing-suiting over Switzerland embraces the natural beauty of its mountains and valleys. This sport is very dangerous and daring, but pays off in excitement and unbeatable views. 

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Decades After Siege, Sarajevo Still Divided

Decades After Siege, Sarajevo Still Divided | Sinica Geography 400 | Scoop.it
Twenty years ago this week, the Bosnian war began with the siege of Sarajevo, the longest in the history of modern warfare. The siege ended more than three years later, leaving 100,000 dead — the worst atrocities in Europe since World War II.

 

Ethnic and political conflict led to the disintegration of Yugoslavia in the 1990s.  This NPR podcast is a good recap that shows the devolutionary forces of ethnic, religious, cultural and political differences that led to tragic violence and ethnic cleansing. 


Via Seth Dixon
Brett Sinica's insight:

These stories are never pleasant.  It seems Europe after World War II and the fall of the Soviet Union were left in a strange middle ground.  With so many cultures, religions, languages all on one continent, its not hard to believe that Europe has been the stage of so much conflict all throughout history.  People are and always have been intermingling between countries.  Many of the countries in Europe are easy to travel throughout, such as a car or bus ride which may only take a few hours in some cases.  This gives easy access for immigration in which history shows that people try to flock to opportunity or to where there are people similar to them.  These patterns can sometimes be unwelcoming to current citizens and lead to violence and cleansing in extreme cases, all because of disagreements based on beliefs and traditions.

After all the wars fought, looking at Europe as a whole is tricky.  Though the countries all have political boundaries and jurisdictions, the lifestyle and what goes on within the borders can be very segregated.  Even in the 21st century, the divisions of people in the same country, holding the same citizenship, shows that things aren't always as good as they seem.

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Derek Ethier's comment, October 11, 2012 1:59 AM
It's unbelievable that ethnic crimes continue to be committed in the world today, even after the atrocities performed by Hitler. When Yugoslavia collapsed, the power vacuum left behind caused hundreds of thousands to lose their lives. In Africa even in the present day, these kinds of things continue. It makes you wonder what kind of a world we are really living in.
Devon marzo's curator insight, February 6, 12:37 PM

This article show political because the population is protesting against the government 

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NYTimes video: Sweden's Immigrant Identity

NYTimes video: Sweden's Immigrant Identity | Sinica Geography 400 | Scoop.it
One out of four Swedes are immigrants or have a parent with an immigrant background.

 

Demographic shifts leading to political and cultural tensions.   Europe, which historically has been a source of migrants, is relatively new to be a destination for migrants and that has heightened some of the conflicts. 


Via Seth Dixon
Brett Sinica's insight:

Sweden is currently one of the most prosperous countries in the world.  Being so close and accessible to many neighboring European countries makes it that much more appealing and even easier for people to travel there.  The birth rates have slowed in recent years, meaning people of working age are slowly decreasing; less workers and less jobs can lower the economy.  After the conflicts in Syria, Sweden has even volunteered to house refugees to start new and in turn can help put the demographic shift on the upswing.  With such an inviting atmosphere in the Scandinavian region, it's no wonder why there are so many citizens with immigrant backgrounds.

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Paige McClatchy's curator insight, October 6, 2013 9:39 PM

The Swedish identity is much different than the American identity. America is constantly being referred to and referring to itself as a melting pot; therefore, it is easier for non-whites to feel "American." I was very surprised to learn that 25% of Swedes have immigrant backgrounds. 

Nathan Chasse's curator insight, March 17, 6:29 PM

This video is shows the changing demographics of Sweden. Sweden and several other wealthier countries of Europe are now destinations for immigrants where they were once the origin of them. The change is difficult for these nations as they are somewhat unprepared economically and politically for significant immigration.

 

The immigrants end up feeling unwanted in their new country and their old. This feeling of being unwanted is possibly worse than it would be in the United States, a country more accustomed to immigration.

Gregory S Sankey Jr.'s curator insight, March 29, 8:07 PM

This growingly intense immigration situation parallels that of our own here in the U.S. and in many other countries throughout the world. World citizens, refugees, don't feel at home in their birth country nor do they feel welcomed in their current home or host country. This puts a lot of stress and pressure on these already punished populations. That's not to say that the host countries concerned citizens don't have a reason to be worried, but are their responses appropriate or productive?