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Historical Metropolitan Populations of the United States

Historical Metropolitan Populations of the United States | The wonderful world: regional geography |

"The graph and tables on this page attempt to show how the urban hierarchy of the United States has developed over time. The statistic used here is the population of the metropolitan area (contiguous urbanized area surrounding a central city), not the population of an individual city. Metropolitan area population is much more useful than city population as an indicator of the size and importance of a city, since the official boundaries of a city are usually arbitrary and often do not include vast suburban areas. For example, in 2000 San Antonio was the 10th largest city in the U.S., larger than Boston or San Francisco, but its Metro Area was only ranked about 30th. The same thing was happening even back in 1790: New York was the biggest single city, but Philadelphia plus its suburbs of Northern Liberties and Southwark made it the biggest metro area."

Via Seth Dixon
Paige Therien's insight:

This information is a helpful illustrator for someone who knows about the geography and history of the United States.  It is important to note the use of "metropolitan populations" rather than "city populations" within particular city borders; as the creator states, "boundaries of a city are usually arbitrary".  In other words, the information that can be given from a "city" do not tell the whole story.  Metropolitan areas, even if spanning out of city borders, share similar local culture dynamics, industry, and infrastructure as the core city.  If one was to just examine the cities and not the entire metropolitan areas of the Northeast Megalopolis, they would be missing a huge part of the puzzle. Depending on the time period, the demanded resources, and the available technologies heavily influence how metropoloitan areas work, grow, and interact with others.   This can be seen in the charts and tables.  For example, the availability of the automobile and other transportation methods deeply affected how people and industry move and how metropolitan areas influence and interact with one another.

ProHealthcareProducts's curator insight, January 29, 12:18 PM

It's fascinating to think about what causes people to migrate in and out of the various metro areas.

Albert Jordan's curator insight, January 30, 2:56 PM

While the Northeast has typically been the ringleader for population centers in America, rising costs of living and population density has been pushing people out into other parts of the country. Along with that, discoveries of natural resources westward help incentivize people to move. Evidenced by the rise of San Fransisco, the settling of Alaska, the oil rich fields of West Texas, and the fertile lands of the mid-west to name a few. While these are early examples from the beginnings of America, even today we find these same reasons for the push out of the Northeast. With the new discoveries of resources in the Dakotas and the cost of living being so much cheaper in the South and especially in the major cities of Texas, where a house with a yard can cost half of what it does here in Rhode Island minus the lawn. The usefulness of a city and region plays a role in its population rise or decline as well. Take for example, Newport, RI in 1810 was listed as #13 being that it was a major transportation and shipping hub. Today, I would be very surprised if it was in the top 150. As the country expanded and other ports of entry were established, economic forces adapted. Sometimes this was for the better, such as the port of Los Angeles or for the worse, such as Detroit’s decline. Advances in technology make communication and transportation incredibly efficient and what was at one a cultural identity for some places to be a hub of manufacturing or shipping or what have you now become a global enterprise with perhaps a call center in India, a factory in Mexico, and a global HQ in Delaware. Because of Globalization, no longer does one metropolis have to be king of all and instead, a small town can provide tax breaks for a technology company even though none of the real production gets done in that locale due to cheap labor being half way across the world. People will move according to their needs and accessibility to those needs, and if what they need to survive are no longer accessible in location A, then they will move to location B, C, or X - if need be.

Jess Deady's curator insight, April 17, 10:26 AM

Comparing and contrasting numbers is a huge part of todays world. Looking at this chart, it indicates the size of the population of the whole metropolitan area. The difference in size of cities and of areas differs greatly and the examples provided can show how the area of a city is different that its Metro Area ranking.

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Rescooped by Paige Therien from Geography Education!

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 | The wonderful world: regional geography |
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.

Via Seth Dixon
Paige Therien's insight:

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.

Alec Castagno's curator insight, December 5, 2:16 PM

Roads in the US are a congested mess, especially when compared with Europe. This article discusses the interesting historical, political, economic, and cultural factors that have led to the different directions taken. The US was quicker to adopt the automobile and to build the appropriate infrastructure to facilitate the rapid expansion of the car. Europe has made political efforts, like higher tax rates, to promote alternative transportation methods which allowed their public transportation methods to expand and develop more than they have in the US.

Kaitlin Young's curator insight, December 14, 4:36 PM

The United States developed to be much more car dependent that the cities of Western Europe. While many European cities were already tightly developed and sprawled, a lot of development in the United States occurred after the influx of automobiles. Cheap gas mixed with more and more people depended on automobiles allowed for infrastructure to develop more spread out. Because of cars, people could travel farther than they used to in a shorter time period. People no longer had to live in the city to work in the city, so suburban neighborhoods developed. European cities were mostly developed to their maximum area, therefore roads were built mostly to connect cities, not to intersect them. 

Wilmine Merlain's curator insight, December 18, 2:15 PM

Its easier for European countries to commit to cycling, walking and taking public transportation for the simple fact that their travel distance is shorter to that of the United States. A trip that can take Europeans 30 mins to travel can take Americans 45-60 mins of travel, depending where they are centrally located. I can agree with Europeans committing to using other alternatives to getting around their city versus using a car. They are more inclined to participate in physical activities, they are lowering their fuel emission, all in all, its a better decision for the environment.

Rescooped by Paige Therien from Geography Education!

World’s Muslim population more widespread than you might think

World’s Muslim population more widespread than you might think | The wonderful world: regional geography |
There are about 1.6 billion Muslims, or 23% of the world's population, making Islam the second-largest religion.

Via Seth Dixon
Paige Therien's insight:

The Muslim world is very misunderstood, especially in the United States.  When someone hears "Muslim" they might immediately think of Arabs in the Middle East.  However, Muslims are spread throughout the world and Islam is practiced by many types of ethnic groups (not all Arabs are Muslim either!)

Jess Deady's curator insight, May 4, 10:40 AM

Religion is a widely popular theme throughout the world. People participate in thousands of different religions and who know Islam could become the second largest in the world?

Jess Deady's curator insight, May 4, 9:09 PM

Islam is a huge widespread religion. There is no surprise that it could ever become so large. The majority of Islamic followers is in the Asia-Pacific part of the world where that is no shocker either.

Hector Alonzo's curator insight, December 15, 1:57 PM

Before seeing the number of Muslims represented within the countries they are mainly in, I believed that the majority of the world's Muslim population was in the Middle East and Northern Africa. I never thought of it being such a spreadout Religion, but because the portion of the Muslim population that is usually discussed in the media is from the Middle East, it is not hard to see why many believe that is where they are from.

Rescooped by Paige Therien from Geography Education!

Fields of Green Spring up in Saudi Arabia

Fields of Green Spring up in Saudi Arabia | The wonderful world: regional geography |
Saudi Arabia is drilling for a resource possibly more precious than oil by tapping hidden reserves of water in the Syrian Desert.

Via Seth Dixon
Paige Therien's insight:

In any society, survival trumps economy.  In this case water and oil are the respective area of focus in Saudi Arabia.  Saudi Arabia has been tapping into aquifers under the Arabian desert in order to grow food.  This is a move of independence;  as the NAFTA agreement may allow the Americas to be energy-independent, Saudi Arabia needs a backup plan to become  a little more independent itself as their oil money decreases.  However, this water source is limited and is ecologically very unsound since the desert climate is not good for water and plants.

Amanda Morgan's curator insight, October 23, 8:33 PM

The transformation of Saudi Arabia's greenery is a smart idea and I can imagine incredibly beneficial.  We always hear about not wanting to be oil dependent on a foreign countries.  What do oil rich countries say?  Well, Saudi Arabia found a solution for not wanting to be dependent on foreign countries for their agricultural needs.

Shanelle Zaino's curator insight, October 26, 9:37 PM

From 1987-2012 NASA has been recording some very strange topography from satellite imaging. Green patches have been presenting themselves as a result of deep oil drilling. In search of fossil fuels far below the desert's crust, water reserves have been located. These water reserves are believed to have been trapped from the last Ice Age. It is because of this discovery that these water reserves have been tapped and irrigation has taken place.Irrigation is being used to water fields with a sprinkler system. This process is known as center-pivot irrigation. Although experts do not know how much water could be below the surface, it is estimated it may only be enough to last for 50 years. With this estimation this may only be a temporary aid to this otherwise dry country.

Samuel D'Amore's curator insight, December 16, 1:52 AM

It's amazing to see how Saudi Arabia is able to transform an area once categorized by it's dryness and lack of vegetation is now being Terra-formed into a green area. This shows what huge amounts of money can do, physically alter the earth and landscapes. Because of the massive amounts of oil available to the Saudi's they are able to ship in a more valuable resource, water.

Rescooped by Paige Therien from Geography Education!

Kabul, A City Stretched Beyond Its Limits

Decades of war, migration and chaotic sprawl have turned the Afghan c

apital 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 insight:

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.

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).

John Nieuwendyk's curator insight, October 26, 9:06 PM

Kabul, a once thriving city is now the product of a war torn Afghanistan. During the fighting mass exodus left the city empty and uninhibited. However, after the war civilians fled back to the slums of Kabul in search of job opportunities. With little infrastructure, no electricity, no water due to evapotranspiration and deforestation and a serious overcrowding problem, residents lack the essential resources needed to survive. Due to the cities destabilized economy corruption runs rampant, in consequence it is unsafe to live in the city center. The advocation for city services is high upon the minds of the people. In response, compounds have been made in the foothills to house impoverished people. These compounds will help the overcrowding problem but the informal economy and dangerous shortcuts will further cause destabilization and create an unsafe city center. 



Samuel D'Amore's curator insight, December 16, 1:32 AM

This audio clip provided a detailed view of the capital of Afghanistan, Kabul. It doesn't speak of the city architecture instead it focuses on the failing logistics of the city. It talks about resource shortages and the sheer amount of people crammed within the city. These problems are largely caused by an influx of refugees from the war torn countryside flooding into the city for safety and work. This clip shows the Kabul of today, a ghost of its former prestigious self.

Rescooped by Paige Therien from Geography Education!

"Skateistan" The NYTimes video library

"Afghan youth have very limited options for sports and recreation. An Australian man is trying to change that."   This video really resonates with my students.  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
Paige Therien's insight:

The Skateistan organization has provided Afghan boys and girls with the opportunity for recreation.  Recreation is important for children to make friends, but more importantly in a tense country with many different ethnic backgrounds, it fosters community building and exposure to other people.  This organization has given kids freedom and job opportunities that are actually rewarding.  The blending of cultural interests illustrates how very similar people are; the Afghan kids are just as willing to participate in the unknown sport of skateboarding as any kid would be from a society where it is a popular sport.

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.

Jacob Crowell's curator insight, November 3, 2:03 PM

This is a good example of the use of soft power in areas where American culture is not popular. Instead of using military force to exert western Ideals on the people of Afghanistan. This Australian may have found a way to close the gap towards bringing our cultures  closer together.

Hector Alonzo's curator insight, December 14, 8:01 PM

In a society that is seen by most of the world as strict and rigid, it was interesting to see these children having fun and breaking the mold of traditional afghan kids. What makes this even more fascinating is that female children are doing some of the skating. With gender issues a hot topic in some Middle Eastern countries, letting kids have fun before being made to conform to tradition is a nice experience for them. While they still respect the culture to they belong to, it is a break from that and a breathe of fresh air for them. These youth are not seen primarily as men and woman, but as children.

Rescooped by Paige Therien from Geography Education!

Here are three of Russia's military options in Ukraine

Here are three of Russia's military options in Ukraine | The wonderful world: regional geography |
There have been a number of warnings from Kiev and Washington about the possibility of a direct and open Russian military intervention in Ukraine. But what could that look like?

Via Seth Dixon
Paige Therien's insight:

Everyone is awaiting Russia's next move in Ukraine.  Because of this, whatever Russia does next will be very important in shaping both local and foreign perceptions of the situation.  Although the first option seems theoretically unlikely, the current situation is spiraling downhill and is resembling full-out war on the surface, even though Russia believes they are completely in the right.

Seth Dixon's curator insight, April 27, 5:36 PM

I'm not saying any of these 3 scenarios are going to happen nor am I endorsing them either.  That said, this article/podcast provides a geopolitical analysis (with maps) of Russia's potential military options if they are planning on invading Ukraine. 

Tag: Ukraine, political, conflict.

Rescooped by Paige Therien from Geography Education!

Stray Dogs Master Moscow Subway

Stray Dogs Master Moscow Subway | The wonderful world: regional geography |

"Every so often, if you ride Moscow's crowded subways, you may notice that the commuters around you include a dog - a stray dog, on its own, just using the handy underground Metro to beat the traffic and get from A to B.  Yes, some of Moscow's stray dogs have figured out how to use the city's immense and complex subway system, getting on and off at their regular stops."

Via Seth Dixon
Paige Therien's insight:

Humans commonly think of themselves as separate from nature.  However, we very much are a part of it and animals, like these stray dogs, know it.  When dealing with something more powerful than yourself, you have to learn how to navigate the system in order to survive.  That is exactly what these dogs have done, literally and figuratively, by learning the complex subway systems in Moscow.  It is an example of how animals can adapt to their man-made surroundings and how persistent (the rest of) nature can be.

Joseph Thacker 's curator insight, February 18, 11:25 PM

This article shows how intelligent some dogs are. They are adapting to the environment around them and figuring out how to survive within the city. I give them credit, as I am sure they have their tactics to survive, whether its begging for food or traveling subways to look for food. 

Jess Deady's curator insight, April 30, 8:46 PM

Dogs are creatures of habit. They get on at one stop and off at another every day or every so often. This is because there is an abundance of stray dogs and since no one is taking them in, Moscow will continue to have interesting subway surfers among them.

Alyssa Dorr's curator insight, December 17, 5:51 PM

Every so often, if you ride Moscow's crowded subways, you notice that the commuters around you include a stray dog. Some of Moscow's stray dogs have figured out how to use the city's complicated subway system, getting on and off at their regular stops. The human commuters around them are so accustomed to it that they rarely seem to notice. As many as 35,000 stray dogs live in Russia's capital city. They can be found everywhere, from markets to construction sites to underground passageways, scrounging for food and trying to survive. Using the subway is just one of many strategies that they use to survive. Living in the streets in tough and these dogs know this better than some humans. What is most impressive about their dogs is their ability to deal with the Metro's loud noises and packed crowds, distractions that domesticated dogs often cannot handle.

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In Pictures: The 'rat eaters' of India

In Pictures: The 'rat eaters' of India | The wonderful world: regional geography |
Musahar community in Bihar's Darbhanga district still live in extreme poverty and face social stigma.
Paige Therien's insight:

This is an example of how pervasive the now outlawed caste system in India is.  These people are socially marginalized through stigmas and lack of basic infrastructure from the government.  Stigmatic marginalization discourages these people from participating in the wider community and the lack of infrastructure  fosters poor health.

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Rescooped by Paige Therien from Geography Education!

For the Muslims of CAR, it's 'leave or die'

For the Muslims of CAR, it's 'leave or die' | The wonderful world: regional geography |
Thousands of Muslims in the Central African Republic have fled as UN chief warns of 'ethno-religious cleansing'.


Leave or die.  It's come down to this for the Muslims of Bangui, the capital of the Central African Republic.  Muslims here once lived freely among the Christian majority, running businesses and praying in mosques. Now, many of the city's Muslims have fled, and on Sunday about 1,300 Muslims from Bangui's PK12 neighbourhood were evacuated to safety by peacekeeping forces.

Already one of the world's poorest countries, CAR has seen a wave of upheaval and violence in the past 15 months. The 10-month reign of the Muslim-dominated Seleka rebel group inflamed intercommunal tensions in the country, and spurred the rise of Christian militias called the anti-Balaka.  Once the Seleka was forced out of power in January, the anti-Balaka rampaged, targeting Muslims across the country for their perceived support of the Seleka and its bloody excesses.

Via Seth Dixon
Paige Therien's insight:

This is an example of how citizens are sometimes held accountable for the governments actions.  Central African Republic  has already been facing hardships and its recent governance by  a Muslim majority group known as the Seleka has only made things worse.  Anti-Muslim Christian groups have sprung up in the aftermath of the government.  They have been brutally killing and forcing Muslims to flee; they have no easy feelings towards Muslims.

Courtney Barrowman's curator insight, May 1, 12:36 PM

units 2-3-4


ALOT of connections here!!!

Seth Dixon's curator insight, May 5, 9:30 PM

Also this interactive feature is worth your won't make you feel all sunshine and rainbows, but the hard truth rarely does. 

Rescooped by Paige Therien from Geography Education!

Tunisia's street artist

Tunisia's street artist | The wonderful world: regional geography |

Following the uprising that toppled the government in 2011, he has become a well known graffiti artist hoping to revive and modernise the ancient art of Arabic calligraphy in Tunisia. He calls his style "calligraffiti".

Via Seth Dixon
Paige Therien's insight:

Following the Arab Spring, Karim Jabbari is hoping to help rebuild and recreate Tunisia through his own form of cultural expression which he calls "calligraffiti".  Calligraffiti is a blend of Western Street art and North African Arabic calligraphy.  This artistic expression works to spread messages pertaining to the recreating of the social and political environment of the country and by attracting and empowering Tunisia's youth in this endeavor.  

Courtney Barrowman's curator insight, May 1, 12:39 PM

unit 3

Albert Jordan's curator insight, May 1, 1:58 PM

Considering hip hop is a distinctly American born cultural phenomenon, this goes to show how something that was born of one nations deprived social class can leap to a nation that is very different and still put forth the same message, as well as be used in the same way. Just like in the Bronx when hip hop was just starting off it was used to get people together, in Tunisia it is being used in the same way. Graffiti itself, while seen by many as simple vandalism, can be a powerful symbol of social change. As this artist is doing, using themes from hip hop and taking old Arabic calligraphy, mixing these up and then applying them to the side of a prison which has personal as well as local symbolism - it goes to show that post Arab Spring some places are seeing real change.

Lauren Sellers's curator insight, May 28, 11:24 PM

The video shows how Karim Jabbari, is able to combine folk culture (ancient arabic writing) in with the western graffiti art. He is able to use his art to express political ideals and beliefs

Rescooped by Paige Therien from Geography Education!

Unusual ways to avoid Jakarta's traffic

Unusual ways to avoid Jakarta's traffic | The wonderful world: regional geography |
Jakarta's traffic is legendary and locals have now become experts at finding ways to get around the jams, with some even making money out of them.


The population of Indonesia is heavily concentrated on the island of Java, and the capital city of Jakarta faces a tremendous strain on it's transportation network.  This video show that resourceful people will find inventive ways to make an unworkable situation manageable. 

Via Seth Dixon
Paige Therien's insight:

Indonesia's capital city, Jakarta, is located on the country's most heavily populated island of Java.  The city has seen an intense population explosion, and with is came more and more vehicles.  The roads are overcrowded and there is not enough public transportation.  People in Jakarta have had to adapt to the social environment that has been created.  Jockeys charge drivers for giving them rides into the center of the  city (you need to have three of more people in your car to do so).  Even if they did not need to go into the city, it is a way to make many, albeit illegal.  Cities, like Jakarta, are places where infrastructure and public transportation is needed most heavily, but it is the most difficult and expensive place to do so.

Kaitlin Young's curator insight, December 12, 1:12 PM

As urban population growth rises, transportation systems will be put under greater strain. Jakarta's transportation crisis is one of the worst in the world, and people sit in traffic for hours traveling to work or to do errands. Due to incompetencies in the system, people are finding different ways to make travel easier. Motorbike cabs as well as people standing on street corners offering to be passengers in order for cars to travel in the car-pool lanes are two ways people are getting around. These underground transportation services are illegal, but their extent cannot be contained by law enforcement. 


Jakarta, as well as many other cities, are continuing to grow due to the global trend of people moving into urban areas. With more people than ever choosing to reside in cities instead of rural areas, new transportation systems will need to be developed in order to accommodate for growth.  

Jacob Crowell's curator insight, December 15, 2:35 PM

The amount of traffic in Jakarta is staggering and the traffic itself has built up a business of making commuting to work easier. What is troubling is that the government hasn't made enough of an effort to fix the problem of traffic in its largest and most economically viable city. If Jakarta wants to keep growing the government has to step in and find a way to make getting to work realistic for Indonesians.

Hector Alonzo's curator insight, December 15, 9:38 PM

The traffic in Jakarta is insane, to be in a constant standstill on your way to work is unreal. The reporter in the video says that if the city of Jakarta continues on its current path, it could be "in a state of Paralysis" which for an entire city is not good. The traffic has, for some, become a way to make money, illegally but money nonetheless.

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Chilling Letter From Chinese Factory Worker Found In Saks Fifth Avenue Bag

Chilling Letter From Chinese Factory Worker Found In Saks Fifth Avenue Bag | The wonderful world: regional geography |
Saks shopper finds chilling letter in her bag.
Paige Therien's insight:

While this story is terrifying, especially because the author of the letter will probably be killed for writing it, the subject matter is not particularly surprising.  Just because consumers do not find letters such as this one in their shopping bags and purchases everyday, does not mean that people have not been subjected to terrible working conditions and rights for very little money for many years now.  The commodity chain of our globalized world has created huge gaps between the harvesters of raw materials, manufacturers, and consumers.  These gaps are so big that not only do corporations loose track of some of their production information due to the huge amounts of people and goods they are working with, like in this story, but the consumers become very far removed, geographically and socially, from the people and places that provide and create the goods they consume.

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Rescooped by Paige Therien from AP Human Geography @ Hermitage High School - Ms. Anthony!

Stunning photos show Africa through African eyes

Stunning photos show Africa through African eyes | The wonderful world: regional geography |
An IBM photo competition looked at Africa's biggest challenges and opportunities -- and the results are spectacular.

Via Allison Anthony
Paige Therien's insight:

This project is not just a photo competition; it is part of an IBM initiative that will create and develop opportunities in Africa.  Therefore, these pictures taken by Africans themselves serve as a "suggestion outlet" that offers insight into what needs to be changed or addressed in Africa by those who have to deal with the issues everyday.  From the photography styles to the opinions they illustrate, Africans have been empowered and given back their voices, for once free from Western influence.  Africa is a geographically and socially HUGE and incredibly diverse place, which unfortunately is forgotten by most outsiders; these pictures show the extreme diversity of people and place.  They also show that African peoples are already quite innovative and IBM's initiative may give them a much-needed boost in improving their society.

Rescooped by Paige Therien from Geography Education!

How the Potato Changed the World

How the Potato Changed the World | The wonderful world: regional geography |
Brought to Europe from the New World by Spanish explorers, the lowly potato gave rise to modern industrial agriculture

Via Seth Dixon
Paige Therien's insight:

Potatoes were very important in the Colombian Exchange, which was the exchange of plants and animals to and from different lands where they are not native to.  Today, the potato is the fifth most important crop in the world.  Food is deeply routed in culture and this massive exchange changed societies.

Lauren Sellers's curator insight, May 28, 11:41 PM

Potatoes were brought to the New World through the Columbian Exchange. It does have a negative connotation but the trade route was used to diffuse cultures by trading food. 

Gina Panighetti's curator insight, August 4, 5:35 PM

Columbian Exchange Unit

Kaitlin Young's curator insight, December 13, 12:57 PM

Potatoes are one of the most widespread foods in the world, due to its resiliency to harsh weather conditions and its ability to grow to large sizes. Potatoes can also be traced to show the beginning forces of globalization. Before modern communication and transportation technology, globalization occurred at a much slower rate. Globalization spread through trade routes in the forms of foods, resources, and therefore cultures and people. 

Rescooped by Paige Therien from Geography Education!

Complexity in Syria

Complexity in Syria | The wonderful world: regional geography |
A color-coded map of the country's religious and ethnic groups helps explain why the fighting is so bad.

Via Seth Dixon
Paige Therien's insight:

Maps such as this one are very valuable when trying to understand conflict.  In Syria and the greater Levant area, unbalanced power and representation in politics is the result of many different religious and ethnic groups living in such close proximity each other, allowing conflict to become very invasive.

Nathan Chasse's curator insight, April 1, 11:04 AM

This map and flowchart show how complicated the situation is in the Middle East. Even in a relatively small nation like Syria, there are over a dozen religious, ethnic, and cultural groups. These divisions have caused conflicts all over the Middle East which has led to protest, war, and ethnic cleansing.


The flow chart is particularly confusing, and apparently, not even remotely complete. The alliances and rivalries create a tangled web, which is confusing making life difficult for the average person living in the Middle East.

Jessica Rieman's curator insight, April 2, 6:19 PM

This map shows tha tthere are an overwhelimg amount of Arabs especially in centeral Syria. And then on the coast lline it is mostly mixed with pink representing the overwhlming other majority.

Joseph Thacker 's curator insight, April 2, 8:11 PM

It appears from this article that Syria is a complicated country. The map shows the different ethnic and religious groups of Syria, along with other groups, all of which live within a small area. Syria, along with other countries within the Middle East have been faced with one serious issue or another. Many different people live within a very small area; those people practice different religions and are ethnically and culturally different. Unfortunately, being different in this part of the world may get you killed.   

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This year's Eurovision Song Contest has become a political and social minefield

This year's Eurovision Song Contest has become a political and social minefield | The wonderful world: regional geography |
Eurovision is supposed to be fun, family entertainment, though politics occasionally intrudes. This year, Russia and Ukraine may be fighting over who controls Crimea's vote. And then there's the issue of Austria's drag queen performer.
Paige Therien's insight:

Reminiscent of the Olympics, transnational competitions like Eurovision Song Contest illustrates the deeper workings of regional and global political and cultural issues.

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Human/Environmental Interactions

The collapse of the Aral Sea ecosystem is (arguably) the worst man-made environmental disaster of the 20th century.  Soviet mismanagement, water-intensive cotton production and population growth have all contributed the overtaxing of water resources in the Aral Sea basin, which has resulted in a the shrinking of the Aral Sea--it has lost more of the sea to an expanding desert than the territories of the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg combined.  The health problems arising from this issues are large for the entire Aral Sea basin, which encompasses 5 Central Asian countries and it has profoundly changed (for the worse) the local climates. 

Via Seth Dixon
Paige Therien's insight:

The Aral Sea, located in Central Asia is a very important water source for the entire region.  Unfortunately, the Soviet Union designated this water sources as one which would provide water to rice and cotton crops, which are both very water-intensive crops.  This has resulted in desertification of the area due to the cyclical shrinking volume of the lake.  Sands and chemicals are now free to blow around, affecting people's health.  This is one of the best examples on earth of environmental exploitation due to a lack of environmental planning.  When the lake dries up, the inhabitants of the surrounding countries will be in huge trouble.

Paige McClatchy's curator insight, October 17, 2013 8:49 PM

I've read about the disaster of the Aral Sea before when I was taking a class on Eurasian history, but being able to visualize it made it even more striking. It was especially striking when, at the end, the man was talking about the great paradox he sees between people who are being threatened with rising ocean levels and then his people who are threatened by the drying of the Aral. It really does show how humans impact the environment, and demonstrates that areas in which people are manual laborers, working resources, health and environmental conditions tend to be worse. 

Al Picozzi's curator insight, October 20, 2013 1:11 PM

This has to be one of the most telling video of an environmental disaster I have even seen.  A whole sea, 26,000 square miles, bigger than the state of West Virginia, is bascially gone due to Soviet mismanagement.  This is an environmental disaster now that the Russians do not have to deal with as it is now located in the independant country of Kazakhstan.  It effects them as well as the new countries that have come to be withthe collapse of the USSR.  Seems Russian dodged this just like Chernobyl.  This is something we need to lean from, on how not to use a natural resource until it literally has dried up.

Giselle Figueroa's curator insight, October 6, 10:38 PM

The Aral Sea was a source of food for the residents, as it was home to thousands of fish and water was used to irrigate crops.Also acted as a climate regulator. Therefore, its virtual disappearance has caused winters and summers are extreme.Today the drought is considered one of the greatest ecological disasters caused by man. scientists estimated that the Aral sea will disappear before 2020. A plan to expand the cultivation of cotton throughout Central Asia and thus a system of canals for irrigation that significantly decreased the amount of water reaching the Aral Sea. It angers me to see that the human has being causing many natural disasters.

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Troubles on Russia's Lake Baikal

Workers at an ailing paper mill in Siberia are clinging to their jobs in the face of financial pressure and criticism from environmentalists.


The environment, industry and politics play key roles in this story of an old style Soviet mono-town on Lake Baikal.  Monotowns had planned economies that revolved around one industry and today many of these are struggling in the post-Soviet era.  While the particulars of the political situation are a bit dated, the overall issue is still quite relevant to understanding Russia today.   


Tags: Russia, industry, labor, environment, economic, water, pollution, environment modify, unit 6 industry.

Via Seth Dixon
Paige Therien's insight:

The Soviet Union scattered "monotowns" around their territory; these monotowns consist of a job-creating industrial institutions like factories which then allow the formation of towns around them.  They are located all around the former Soviet Union and are very isolated.  After the collapse of the Soviet Union, these towns continued to run due to the privatization of the industrial center.  Today, Russia's Lake Baikal, which is the deepest lake in the world and contains 20 percent of the Earth's fresh water, is home to one of these monotowns.  This particular town's economy is based on their paper mill which uses and deposits tons of chemicals.  Environmentalists are very concerned for the future of the lake while the citizens are only concerned with feeding their families and this is creating social unrest.  Due to the isolation and distance from Moscow, people cannot just pick up and leave.  Also, working with "cleaner" alternatives is way out of this town's budget.  Today, many citizens in these monotowns miss the support that the Soviet Union offered and people are literally stuck in a place where their only income is dirty.

Al Picozzi's curator insight, October 16, 2013 8:14 PM

We never heard about this during the Soviet Union as the news was controlled.  Also during the Soviet time I do not believe environmentalists would have gotton the chance to investigate the area.  With the fall of the USSR the world can now see some of the environmental effects that communism had on Russia.  These towns are built around the factory.  Much like the old steele towns in PA, like Allentown.  However Allentown chnaged with the times and is able to support, although it is difficult, the population that was focused on the steele industry.  Here is this remote area of Russia, there is nothing else in the area.  There is no service economy in the area, just the paper factory.  It has been kept open because of Putin who basically said to ignore all environmental laws and regulations and he made sure the environmental groups are not an issue anymore.  Not surprising from a former KGB Lt. Colonel and the Director of the FSB, the sucessor of the KGB.  To solve the issue in these monotowns I think there needs to be government intervention to transition the economies in theses areas.  To keep these factories running in the long run will just hurt all the people in the towns with no end in sight.  However, I do not think this will happen unless there is a change in the leadership of Russia, something I do not think will happen anytime soon.

Brett Sinica's curator insight, October 20, 2013 2:43 PM

The story of this particular mono-town is very tough to "pick sides".  The factory undoubtedly pollutes the air and land like most other industrial areas, but being so close to Lake Baikal gives environmentalists a stronger reason to complain.  The lake is considered one of the purest and most unique in the world, yet the paper mill located on its banks raise controversy.  This is where the locals and workers are stuck between a rock and hard place.  Located in Siberia, such a vast and open region with little settlements compared to the western part of the country reminds the people living there that their resources are limited.  Closing down the factory would almost eliminate income and economy for the mono-town.  This is where the fine line is drawn; the workers surely aren't happy about the pollution and environmental hazards that go along with keeping the mill open, but at the same time the people could wither away if it wasn't up and running.

Ashley Raposo's curator insight, December 19, 2013 1:42 AM

THough the Soviet Union has been gone since the early 90s, it's hold on Russia is still creating problems. The creations of monotowns were already flawed. But to have this one monotown on Lake Baikal has gained the attention of enviromentalists. All odds are against that monotown. Without it's paper factory they have no jobs and no need for the town. It is a fight between enviromental geography and human geography in this area of the world. These people are stuck in a time where even the Soviet Union looked a little better than the constant wondering of your finacial stability in an up and coming capitalist nation.

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This Map Shows Why The Battle For 'Ukraine's Soul' Is So Pivotal

This Map Shows Why The Battle For 'Ukraine's Soul' Is So Pivotal | The wonderful world: regional geography |
The tug-of-war for Ukraine.

Via Seth Dixon
Paige Therien's insight:

Besides the very intense cultural and political split that exists in Ukraine and the conflict as a whole, one of the key factors in this situation is gas.  This infographic shows that both Ukraine and the EU gets their gas from Russia, and Ukraine is the area which the gas lines flow through.  As soon as many people in Ukraine showed interest in joining the EU, Russia reminded Ukrainians and the world of this fact

Adilson Camacho's curator insight, December 27, 2013 3:11 PM

O lugar da Ucrânia...

Lauren Stahowiak's curator insight, February 18, 3:04 PM

With gas being the key factor to the Russia-Eu tug of war over Ukraine, Russia fights hard to win this battle. Russia needs Ukraine as their own due to all the pipelines that transport the gas to Europe. Who will win this tug-of-war?

Nathan Chasse's curator insight, March 1, 12:26 AM

This infographic gives an idea of why Russia is so invested in Ukraine. The energy infrastructure built during the Soviet era runs almost entirely through Ukraine. A significant amount of gasoline consumed in Europe comes from Russia via Ukraine, while over 2/3rds of all the gas Russia exports to the EU goes through Ukraine. This puts Ukraine in a position of power, but the country itself is divided between the East and West making siding with the EU or Russia difficult. These are lasting effects of the Soviet era.

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Take Me Home, Mother Russia

Take Me Home, Mother Russia | The wonderful world: regional geography |
10 places that would welcome a Putin landgrab, and 10 parts of Russia that want the hell out.

Via Seth Dixon
Paige Therien's insight:

In the recent light of the Crimea annexation and following conflict, many are questioning what Russia's next move will be and how this region may change in the future.  The former USSR encomassed a huge amount of land, and therefore many different ethnic groups.  Of course this has always been a problem, and this article illustrates how it probably always will be a problem.  As politics and cultures in different countries change, people will favor either secession or affiliation due to these centripetal or centrifugal forces .  While some may be far-fetched (Siberia and Brooklyn), it is important to remember that as long as there are some people who are in favor, there may be conflict at same scale.

Seth Dixon's curator insight, March 21, 1:01 PM

One of the ideological weaknesses in the idea that Russia should annex Crimea because of the large number of ethnic Russians that want to join the Russian Federation, is that there are many places within the Russian Federation without a majority of ethnic Russians that would want out of the Russian Federation.  This list from Foreign Policy is pretty intriguing and they provide insight about the geographic context for each place on the list.

Top 10 looking for a way into Russia (abbreviated)

  1. Transnistria
  2. Donbass
  3. New Russia
  4. Abkhazia
  5. South Ossetia
  6. Belarus
  7. Northern Kazakhstan
  8. Russians in the Baltic
  9. Nagorno Karabakh
  10. Brighton Reach, Brooklyn

Top 10 look for a way out of Russia:

  1. Chechnya
  2. Tatarstan
  3. Idel-Ural
  4. Kalmykia
  5. Kaliningrad
  6. Karelia
  7. Komi Republic
  8. Circassia
  9. Karachay-Balkaria
  10. Birobizhan
Kevin Barker's curator insight, March 22, 10:03 AM

For every argument to aquire land based on ethnic boundaries, there is at least one that would argue land should be lost. This would apply to essentially any country in the world. 

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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 | The wonderful world: regional geography |

"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." 

Via Seth Dixon
Paige Therien's insight:

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.


Sean Goins's curator insight, November 13, 1:31 PM

in the global market, china has become the rising power in the exporting market with latin america which has risen more than 200 times since 1990 and is the fastest, but has also slowed down in more recent times but is still one of the largest exporters in the world

Alyssa Dorr's curator insight, December 16, 10:38 PM

A new Standard Chartered report by Madhur Jha and other Standard Chartered economists, titled "Global Trade Unbundled," highlights just how much of a trading giant China has become. "China is a true mega trader-- a position last held by colonial Britain, with trade significant not only as a share of world trade but also of its own GDP", according to Jha. "China will likely become a champion of free trade." In 2013, China topped the United States for the first time. China's imports and exports of goods amounted to $4.16 trillion dollars. The United States is China's top destination for exports. This is obvious because if we look on half the items we use daily, they probably say "Made in China". China's exports with Latin America and Africa are still continuing to grow rapidly. Jha and others believe that China will remain the top trader mostly because the economic recovery is a positive for China. Also because a lot of attention is paid towards exports from China rather than imports. China's trade rates are likely to keep growing at a steady pace.

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Desolate ghost towns of South Sudan

Desolate ghost towns of South Sudan | The wonderful world: regional geography |
US Secretary of State John Kerry is visiting South Sudan and has warned that more peacekeepers must be rapidly deployed to end the conflict.
Paige Therien's insight:

South Sudan has been engaged in a civil war for a few months now.  It was sparked by political means, but the real roots of this conflict are ethnic.  The only "safe" place for civilians  are flooded, disease-ridden towns while the other towns are uninhabited due to battling.  Especially because  this year marks 20 years for the Rwandan genocide,this issue raises some important questions such as when does civil war become genocide?  Also, although Secretary of State John Kerry has recently threatened sanctions if the South Sudanese cannot maintain a ceasefire, it will be interesting to see where the U.S. and other countries will stand if this situation continues to escalate.

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Break Dancing, Phnom Penh-Style

A former gang member from Long Beach, California, teaches break dancing to at-risk youth in Cambodia.


This video is a great example of cross-cultural interactions in the era of globalization.  Urban youth culture of the United States is spread to Cambodia through a former refugee (with a personally complex political geography).  What geographic themes are evident in this video? How is geography being reshaped and by what forces?

Via Seth Dixon
Paige Therien's insight:

Urban United States culture has been introduced to Cambodia's youth by K.K.  K.K., who lived in California his whole life as the child of Cambodian refugees, was deported to Cambodia, a place he had never even visited before, due to a felony charge.  K.K created an organization which taught Cambodia's youth about HIV protection, computers, and drugs.  He made his organization attractive to Cambodian youth by introducing them break-dancing and rapping.  In the U.S. these activities are often viewed in a negative light, but K.K. used them positively by introducing them to a population with no prior knowledge of them.  He also recreated his own identity by mixing his new, vastly unknown Cambodian experience with his life experiences from the U.S.   He is an example of the many people who struggle with forming a more global identity in our global world.  This organization targets at-risk kids and K.K. is probably trying to direct their lives the way he may wish someone had done for him. 

James Hobson's curator insight, December 4, 8:34 PM

(Southeast Asia topic 7)

A gang member who gets deported and ends up being a positive role model for kids? I didn't see that coming!

This video is similar to the Scoop of the introduction of skateboarding to the Afghanistan. Both offer something foreign as a tool for both betterment and enjoyment, and this seems to be exactly what kids in these regions need. Though perhaps on a micro-scale, this can be argued as an example of globalization. And in this case, it seems pretty obvious that its impacts are for the better.

Jacob Crowell's curator insight, December 15, 4:10 PM

In Cambodia, this previous gang member has found a way of taking kids off the street and teaching them how to break dance. This is interesting because it is a cultural solution to crime. This man was deported to Cambodia and with him brought break dancing. In doing so this cultural mixing is used as a way to teach at risk youth a hobby that keeps them away from crime and drugs.

Samuel D'Amore's curator insight, December 17, 4:40 PM

Very similar to the previous cricket article this video shows another way those in areas of poverty and crime are pulled together and united. In this case instead of a sport it is break dancing. This dancing amongst former gang members helps to relieve tension form the area and also hopefully lead them to achieve better and loftier things. By shifting the priorities of people away from harm to themselves and others and replacing it with an activity which focuses on self improvement and community.

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South Asian Languages: Evolving Roles in a Globalized World

South Asian Languages: Evolving Roles in a Globalized World | The wonderful world: regional geography |

South Asia’s native languages are essential for understanding the contemporary region. Background

Via Charles Tiayon
Paige Therien's insight:

Native languages, in South Asia and the rest of the world, illustrate the histories and worldviews of their speakers; language and culture are nearly synonymous.  This synonymity carries over when dealing with the extinction an re-creation of languages (through creole languages).  Today, our globalized world is introducing more global languages, especially English, to many societies.  Speaking English, whether partially or fully, means that English-speaking society values and norms will also be introduced and adopted into these new-to English cultures.  This can create societal issues as new, forgein ideals may clash with traditional ideals.  Also, the United States is a country that primarily speaks English and which lives very unsustainably; if other societies are adopting our values and way of life through language, what will happen to our world?

Charles Tiayon's curator insight, March 5, 1:27 PM
South Asia’s native languages are essential for understanding the contemporary region. Background
Nicole Kearsch's curator insight, November 20, 2:22 PM

The loss of south Asian languages is happening at an alarming rate.  250 languages lost in the last 50 years due to people dying and people not carrying on the languages of their ancestors.  With English being the key to globalization, as well as trade with higher markets it is also taking over as people's day to day language, causing the extinction of native languages.  It mentions that south Asia is filled with many different tribes of people along with their very diverse languages.  With the loss of language not only are people loosing their native tongue but also their culture and identity.  Language is a lot more than what people talk, but it has a history behind it.  Even now a great deal of these languages are being intermixed with other languages.  This can cause a number of problems when people begin not to understand their own native language because of the other influences that have been intermixed with their own.

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Sherpas: The Invisible Men of Everest

Sherpas: The Invisible Men of Everest | The wonderful world: regional geography |
After the avalanche that killed 16 Sherpas, the human cost of Everest peak fever has become inescapably clear.

Via dilaycock
Paige Therien's insight:

Similar to many other industries that exploit those on the lowest rungs of the supply chain, the local inhabitants of the Khumbu Valley, Sherpas and Nepalis, face huge risks just to make a decent paycheck while trying to fill the demands of Westerners- including trying to fit Westerners preconceived notions of their own identity.  These people are not producing goods, but instead they are providing services; they are the "tour guides" aka mountaineers that guide people to the summits of Earth's tallest mountains.  Over the past few decades, Sherpa deaths have accounted for 40 percent of all deaths on Mount Everest.  Westerners would assume that since Sherpas are the "experts", nothing can really happen to them, or, if something does happen, it isn't an overly common occurrence.  Sometimes, this mindset, along with lack of oxygen at higher elevations, fosters abuse from tourists towards the guides.  Tourism creates new realities and identities; Westerners have come to believe that today's mountaineering which they experience has always been a part of Sherpa culture, when in fact their expeditions have drastically changed it.  Westerners have also brought things like schools and medical clinics but this is still at the cost of brave Sherpa men.  Unfortunately, it took the most recent avalanche which killed 16, for Sherpas to demand more rights and benefits.

dilaycock's curator insight, April 27, 8:27 PM

The recent disaster on Everest has sparked considerable discussion as to "where to next?" for the Sherpas.