Geography Education
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Geography Education
Supporting geography educators everywhere with current digital resources.
Curated by Seth Dixon
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The Geography of AC

The Geography of AC | Geography Education |

"The modern built environment in the United States is now totally dependent on air conditioning. A lot of our buildings would be uninhabitable in the summer without AC, and all of the electricity needed to keep it running."

Seth Dixon's insight:

Like so many 99 percent invisible podcasts, this blends urban design, social geography, local history in a way that deepens our understanding of place. Air conditioning has powerfully reshaped so many geographic patterns that many of ways.  Some mentioned in this podcast include: a) the rapid expansion of the Sun Belt, b) less climatically and regionally distinctive architecture can now be found in the cultural landscape, and c) an enormous amount of energy is consumed to maintain our hyper-cooled buildings (the U.S. now uses as much electricity for air conditioning as it did for all purposes in 1955). 


Tagspodcast, architecturehousing, landscape, place planning.

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Why 80% of Singaporeans live in government-built flats

Why 80% of Singaporeans live in government-built flats | Geography Education |
Lots of countries show off their public-housing projects, but few are quite as devoted to them as Singapore, where four-fifths of the permanent population live in subsidised units built by the government, most of them as owner-occupiers. The city-state’s suburbs bristle with HDB towers, painted calming pastel hues. This vast national housing system surprises visitors who think of Singapore as a low-tax hub for expatriate bankers and big multinationals. But HDB is a linchpin of economic and social policy and an anchor for the ruling People’s Action Party (PAP), which has led Singapore since independence. It is also a tantalising but tricky model for Singapore’s fast-urbanising neighbours to follow.
Seth Dixon's insight:

Singapore is such a fascinating case study.  Over 90% of the Singapore’s land is owned by the government and the American ideal of independent home ownership is seen as antithetical to cultural norms.  The government heavily subsidies young couples to live near their parents and create tight-knit communities with homelessness was eradicated (that’s the optimists’ perspective).  This is all well and good for young, straight couples that choose to support the ruling political party, but critics often point out that the housing focus has also created a paternalistic component to the government that is much stronger in Singapore than in other countries.  This article nicely goes with the 2017 APHG reading professional development talk entitled “The Geographies of Home” that focused on Singaporean and Japanese examples.    


Tag: Singapore, urban, neighborhood, economicplanning, housing, cultural norms.

Mr Mac's curator insight, July 24, 2017 9:26 AM
Unit 4 - Political, Government; Unit 7 - Urban Spaces, housing, Urban Planning
Cherise Chng's comment, August 27, 2017 9:50 AM
As a young Singaporean, I am really proud of such an unique architecture that is representable of Singapore. These flats, or what we call HDB, provides us with many Singaporeans with a roof over their head despite land scarcity in Singapore. Some HDB flats has a sky garden while majority of the others has a gathering area on the ground floor to provide an opportunity to mingle with our neighbours. It is truly a Singaporean memory to be living in a HDB flat.
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For First Time In 130 Years, More Young Adults Live With Parents Than With Partners

For First Time In 130 Years, More Young Adults Live With Parents Than With Partners | Geography Education |

"For the first time in more than 130 years, Americans ages 18-34 are more likely to live with their parents than in any other living situation, according to a new analysis by the Pew Research Center.  Less educated young adults are also more likely to live with their parents than are their college-educated counterparts — no surprise, Pew notes, given the financial prospects in today's economy.  Black and Hispanic young people, compared with white people, are in the same situation.  But the overall trend is the same for every demographic group — living with parents is increasingly common.  Still, young Americans are still less likely to live with their parents than their European counterparts, Pew says.

Seth Dixon's insight:

I find that the best statistics have great explanatory power, make sense when placed in the right context, and STILL manage to leave you amazed.  These stats fit that bill for me and as the school year is ending, it's a milestone that doesn't mean what it did for generations past.  32.1% of young adults in the U.S live with parents, and 48.1% of young adults in the European Union Union live with parents.   


Questions to Ponder: What are some contributing factors to this trend in the United States and Europe?  What does this say about housing costs, economic, and cultural conditions? 


Tags: socioeconomic, housingstatisticspopulation, cultural norms, culture.

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Why don't black and white Americans live together?

Why don't black and white Americans live together? | Geography Education |
In many parts of the US, Americans of different races aren't neighbours - they don't go to the same schools, they don't always have access to the same services.
Seth Dixon's insight:

This article is filled with good geography (and more specifically AP Human Geography) vocabulary.  Redlining, blockbusting, and racial covenants are all discussed as spatial process that have shaped socioeconomic and racial characteristics in American cities. 


Tags: neighborhood, urban, socioeconomic, racepoverty, spatialhousing.

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Lawn Order

Lawn Order | Geography Education |

"In communities across America, lawns that are brown or overgrown are considered especially heinous. Elite squads of dedicated individuals have been deputized by their local governments or homeowners’ associations to take action against those whose lawns fail to meet community standards."

Seth Dixon's insight:

This is a great podcast from 99 Percent Invisible that shows not only the environmental aspects of America’s obsession with well-manicured lawns, it also nicely explored the cultural norms that police our behavior to create the stereotypical suburban landscape.  This is my favorite quote from the podcast: “There’s a paradox to the lawn. On the one hand, it is the pedestal on which sits the greatest symbol of the American Dream: the home, which people can ostensibly govern however they wish. And yet—homeowners often have almost no control over how they should maintain their lawn. Grass may be a plant, but a lawn is a designed object.”

Tags: housingneighborhood, cultural norms, consumption, water, environmenturban ecology, culture.

"When the well's dry, we know the worth of water." ~Benjamin Franklin

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Children and Space

"In just a few generations, we have tightly restricted American kids' freedom to roam, play, and become self-sufficient. The percentage of children walking and bicycling to school has plummeted from almost 50 percent in 1969 to about 13 percent today. Although distance from school is often cited as the main barrier to walking and bicycling, many families still drive when schools are close to home. According to the Safe Routes to School National Partnership, driving accounts for about half of school trips between 1/4- and 1/2-mile long — which in most cases shouldn't take kids much more than 10 minutes to walk."

Seth Dixon's insight:

This is a controversial topic and I certainly don't have all the answers. The free range parenting is a new to to our cultural conversations about parenting, but the ideas are anything but new. Most free range advocates want their children to have the rights to roam about their neighborhoods that others today would see as parental neglect. Many argue that as automobiles have become more prominent in urban design, it has come at the expense of children's ability to be in public unsupervised (yes, children used to be encouraged to go out to play in the streets). Children don't know their own neighborhoods as well anymore and this isn't just about architecture and design. Culturally our communal notions of proper parenting and child safety have shifted in the United States, but they are also very different around the world.  


Questions to Ponder: How is parenting shaped by cultural norms? What are the spatial implications of changing parenting strategies? What are the factors that shape your opinion about the 'proper' range for kids to roam unsupervised?  

Tags: housing, placeneighborhood, perspective, cultural norms, culture, transportation, planningspatial.

asli telli's curator insight, August 15, 2015 1:34 AM

Also applies to unfortunate Turkey w/her recent urban transformation wave...

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How Suburban Are Big American Cities?

How Suburban Are Big American Cities? | Geography Education |

"What, exactly, is a city? Technically, cities are legal designations that, under state laws, have specific public powers and functions. But many of the largest American cities — especially in the South and West — don’t feel like cities, at least not in the high-rise-and-subways, 'Sesame Street' sense. Large swaths of many big cities are residential neighborhoods of single-family homes, as car-dependent as any suburb.

Cities like Austin and Fort Worth in Texas and Charlotte, North Carolina, are big and growing quickly, but largely suburban. According to Census Bureau data released Thursday, the population of the country’s biggest cities (the 34 with at least 500,000 residents) grew 0.99 percent in 2014 — versus 0.88 percent for all metropolitan areas and 0.75 percent for the U.S. overall. But city growth isn’t the same as urban growth. Three cities of the largest 10 are more suburban than urban, based on our analysis of how people describe the neighborhoods where they live."

Tagsurban, suburbs, housingsprawlplanning, density.

Sammie Bryant's curator insight, May 27, 2015 12:07 AM

This article accurately depicts the difference between a normal city 50 years ago and a city today, as well as the continuing spread of suburbanization. For example, Austin, the capital of texas, a hustling, bustling always busy area, is predominantly suburban. As cities and countries continue to advance and develop and its citizens become more successful and family oriented, suburban homes for families will become more needed than something smaller, like condos or studio apartments. As the needs of the cities change, the structure of the city changes as well. This applies to our final unit of APHUG: Cities and Urban Land Use.

MsPerry's curator insight, May 27, 2015 9:29 AM


Courtney Barrowman's curator insight, May 27, 2015 10:43 AM

unit 7

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An Atlas of Upward Mobility Shows Paths Out of Poverty

An Atlas of Upward Mobility Shows Paths Out of Poverty | Geography Education |

"A decades-old effort found that moving poor families to better neighborhoods did little to help them.  A large new study is about to overturn the findings of Moving to Opportunity. Based on the earnings records of millions of families that moved with children, it finds that poor children who grow up in some cities and towns have sharply better odds of escaping poverty than similar poor children elsewhere."

Tags: housing, economic, povertyplace, socioeconomic, neighborhood.

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With Porches And Parks, A Texas Community Aims For Urban Utopia

With Porches And Parks, A Texas Community Aims For Urban Utopia | Geography Education |
Austin's Mueller neighborhood is a new-urbanist dream, designed to be convivial, walkable and energy-efficient. Every house has a porch or stoop, and all the cars are hidden away.

After moving here, respondents said, they spend an average of 90 fewer minutes a week in the car, and most reported higher levels of physical activity.  The poll results seem to validate new-urbanist gospel: good design, like sidewalks, street lighting, extensive trails and parkland, can improve social and physical health.  Part II: A Texas Community Takes on Racial Tensions Once Hidden Under The Surface.

Tagshousing, urban, planning, urbanism, unit 7 cities, neighborhoodpodcast.

zane alan berger's curator insight, March 24, 2015 4:37 PM

This article focuses on an Austin community with a Utopian atmosphere. Beginning the construction in 2007, Mueller neighborhoods are very uniform; two story, two car garage in the back, and a porch in the front. This article refers to Urbanization

Sreya Ayinala's curator insight, May 26, 2015 7:54 PM

Unit 7 Urban

      The article describes the master planned community of Mueller. Mueller is filled with parks and green spaces. In addition, every house has a porch and a garage in the back of the house to encourage communication between people and neighbors. Also everything is located close together so it is very easy to walk to the store instead of driving. Many houses employ solar panels for their energy and use fuel efficient hybrid cars.

       Located centrally near downtown Austin this community was based on the concepts of new urbanism and uses effective and efficient methods to create a healthy and fresh neighborhood for both the people and the environment.  New Urbanism is a concept which counters urban sprawl with urban revitalizations, sustainable development, and suburban reforms. The communities following the principles of New Urbanism are often designed compactly to promote a sense of community and place. 

Shane C Cook's curator insight, May 27, 2015 6:24 AM

The Mueller community was developed from an old airport. I had the chance to visit this community on an APHUG field trip because it was so close. We were able to see the reasons why the community was developed and learned about innovated communities.

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5 Key Themes Emerging From the 'New Science of Cities'

5 Key Themes Emerging From the 'New Science of Cities' | Geography Education |
In the most innovative incubators of urban research, the lessons of Jane Jacobs are more vital than ever.

In the past few years, a remarkable body of scientific research has begun to shed new light on the dynamic behavior of cities, carrying important implications for city-makers. Researchers at cutting-edge hubs of urban theory like the University College London and the Santa Fe Institute have been homing in on some key properties of urban systems—and contradicting much of today's orthodoxy. Their findings have begun to feed into recent and upcoming gatherings on the future of cities—including lead-in events for the U.N.'s big 2016 Habitat III conference on sustainable development—and arming leaders in the field with new ammunition in the global battle against sprawl.

Tags: density, urbanism, housing, urban, planning, unit 7 cities, labor.

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Developing World Cities and Population Density

Developing World Cities and Population Density | Geography Education |
Without a question, we are living in an urban era. More people now live in cities than anywhere else on the planet and I’ve repeatedly argued that cities are our most important economic engine. As a result of these shifts, we’re seeing megacities at a scale the world has never seen before.
Seth Dixon's insight:

As our cities have massively expanded in the last 70 years, so has the ecological footprint of these metropolitan areas.  This article discusses some of the challenges confronting megacities and their functions within the global urban network. 

Tags: sustainabilitydensity, megacities, housing, urban, planning, unit 7 cities. 

Fathie Kundie's curator insight, June 27, 2014 12:05 PM
المدن الأعلى كثافة بالسكان على مستوى العالم
Sally Egan's curator insight, June 29, 2014 9:31 PM

Mega cities and the challenges they face for the future is focus in this article. Great statistics on populations and urban densities are also included.

MsPerry's curator insight, August 12, 2014 7:47 PM


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The U.S. Cities That Sprawled the Most (and Least) Between 2000 and 2010

The U.S. Cities That Sprawled the Most (and Least) Between 2000 and 2010 | Geography Education |
Two maps and six charts take sprawl rankings to another level.
Seth Dixon's insight:

One of the great results of the decennial census is that geographers, demographers, sociologists, urbanists and countless others, can track the same population or spatial pattern and note historical changes over a 10 year span.  This series of maps and charts highlights some of the major changes.  You shouldn't be surprised that Atlanta is the United States' most sprawling major city and that San Francisco is the most compact, but this article dives beneath surface in a way that is still very accessible.   

Tagsurban, unit 7 cities, housing, sprawlneighborhoodplanning, densityplanning

François Arnal's curator insight, June 7, 2014 2:18 AM

L'étalement urbain aux Etats Unis.


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Comparing Urban Footprints Around the World

Comparing Urban Footprints Around the World | Geography Education |

"In the above poster the cities are arranged (roughly, in order to maximize space) by population. Clearly, size and population are not directly correlated. Some cities take up a lot more space for a smaller population. The relationship between the two, of course, is known as density (population density, urban density)."

Seth Dixon's insight:

I shared this a while back, but the creator has since revised the data and updated the layout for the main infographic. The entire set of infographics are tremendous visual tools to compare urbanization patterns around the world. 

Jason Wilhelm's curator insight, May 22, 2014 12:21 PM

Urban sprawl is a rising problem in the world due to the lack of control and its massive impact on the surrounding environment. These footprints show how unique each city's sprawl is. The surrounding environment is playing a huge role in where and how far each city extends. Chicago, for example, is limited on its eastern side due to Lake Erie's close proximity, and Cleveland is in a similar situation but on its north side where Lake Erie is. 

Sid McIntyre-DeLaMelena's curator insight, May 29, 2014 12:35 PM

The cities are organized (approximately) to population and shows the size of cities accordingly. The different sizes of cities and their correlating populations is thus revealed from urban places around the world. 

Urban regions stay rather functional and could be seem similar across the board, focusing on major economic activity and transportation.

Mrs. Karnowski's curator insight, August 27, 2014 7:17 AM

1G Theme 2: 6 Billion people and me

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Hong Kong's 'coffin homes' reveal a housing crisis

Hong Kong's 'coffin homes' reveal a housing crisis | Geography Education |
A shortage of developable land have pushed Hong Kong's housing prices skyward, leading some to live in spaces the size of closets.
Seth Dixon's insight:

Overpopulation doesn't feel like a serious issue when you live in a land characterized by wide open spaces, but in some densely settled urban centers, the issues become quite personal.  Hong Kong is currently facing a housing shortage. This article nicely explains the difficulties that living in the so-called coffin homes makes for the residents.  This photo gallery humanizes this difficult living condition.


Tags: housingurban, place, neighborhoodspatialdensity, planning, density, urbanism.

Matt Manish's curator insight, February 16, 8:35 PM
The photo gallery in this article helps to give an accurate depiction of the housing crisis in Hong Kong with many people living in units that are 4 by 6 feet. Many families have to live in separate units because they are so small and can't usually fit more than one person. The bright side of the housing crisis in Hong Kong is that these "coffin homes" allow people to live in the major city at a cheaper cost, although it definitely comes with a hefty price with such tiny living quarters. The future looks positive though, as Hong Kong promises to build over 400,000 new homes over the next decade. This will help improve the housing crisis and hopefully phase these "coffin homes" out of existence once and for all.
Richard Aitchison's curator insight, March 29, 9:31 AM
Now this is a major housing crisis. I thought apartments in NYC were small, but nothing like this. In Hong Kong they have what is called "coffin homes" they are stacked on top of each other to try to fit as many in as possible. With increasing population and just 7% of the land properly zoned for housing it caused a major crunch in the housing market. Currently prices are going for $1,350 per square foot. Obviously this is a major problem and causes living conditions to be brutal especially for the elderly or for families that have to split up due to space. So what to do to fix this problem? Well one would say just make more land available for housing, well that comes with problems as well. There probably is a reason that there is limited land for housing due to geographical issues. So yes we can build more homes, but would we run into new problems such as natural disasters that cause more debt for the people in the country. There definitely needs to be a solution for these people, but it might not be so simple. I will never go back to NYC now and say how small the apartments are, because well you could be in Hong Kong.
Zavier Lineberger's curator insight, May 2, 9:17 PM
(East Asia) Unlike Singapore's regimented government housing, Hong Kong faces a severe housing crisis, forcing hundreds of thousands of people to live in tiny 4 by 6 foot homes. Hong Kong has a population of 7.3 million but only 7% of the city is cleared for housing. Therefore, landlords have to get creative. Stacking these "coffin homes" one on top of another is a great way to save space while providing the bare minimum housing. The coffin homes, little more than closets, have no windows or room to move around. Skyrocketing housing prices have caused extremely dense buildings as the elderly, disabled, young, and poor are forced to move in.
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More young adults are living with their parents

More young adults are living with their parents | Geography Education |
Across much of the developed world, researchers have found that more young adults are living at their parents' home for longer periods of time.


Across the European Union’s 28 member nations, nearly half (48.1%) of 18- to 34-year-olds were living with their parents in 2014, according to the EU statistical agency Eurostat.  The Scandinavian countries have the lowest rates, with Denmark coming in at 18.6%. Southern and eastern European countries tend to have higher rates, led by the former Yugoslav republic of Macedonia: 72.5% of 18- to 34-year-olds reportedly were living with their parents.

Seth Dixon's insight:

This isn't news because this trend gradually became a new part of the economic and cultural norms of the developed world--but the impact is enormous.  In the United States, more young adults live with parents than partners (for the first time in the 130 years that the statistic has been collected).  The world isn't what it was in 1880.  

32.1% of young adults in the U.S live with parents, and 48.1% of young adults in the European Union Union live with parents.   


Questions to Ponder: What are some contributing factors to this trend in the United States and Europe?  What does this say about housing costs, economic, and cultural conditions? 


Tags: socioeconomic, housingstatisticspopulation, cultural norms, culture.

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Photos capture hermits who have escaped society to live peacefully in the wild

Photos capture hermits who have escaped society to live peacefully in the wild | Geography Education |
At certain moments we all feel the desire to escape from it all. Even if it’s only a brief walk or a long drive through the countryside, there is truly no greater companion than ourselves.
Seth Dixon's insight:

In the past, those that didn't 'fit' the normative regulations of society or didn't want to fit them could withdraw from society to the margins. Modern society (taxation requirements, documentation, increased population density, private land ownership, urbanization, etc.) makes retreat from society much more difficult today. Some retreat while among us; homelessness has a great distance from social networks, even if not a spatial distance from city centers. I’m not trying to romanticize the past, because I am sure that retreating from society hundreds of years ago would certainly be fraught with peril and layered with tremendous difficulties. 

Collectively, we have especially demonized women that pull back for societal connections (the idea of the lone ‘witch’ is loaded with negative cultural connotations). Many of these individuals seek a different human and environmental interaction, and feel a stronger connection to the land and animals than they do human society.  Some with mental health issues find that societal interactions exacerbate their problems while can solitude and a more physical landscape can offer peace of mind and happiness.  I don’t have any answers, but wanted to think about individualistic and isolationist geographies of those that don’t feel at odds in large groups and contemporary society.  


Tags: mobility, housing, cultural normsenvironment, culture.

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Mariana Trench Once Again Named Worst Place To Raise Child

Mariana Trench Once Again Named Worst Place To Raise Child | Geography Education |

"Parenting magazine released its annual list of the best and worst places to raise a child this week, once again naming the Mariana Trench—an undersea chasm located 36,000 feet beneath the western Pacific Ocean—as the least desirable location for rearing children. The periodical’s staff reportedly selected amongst thousands of locations, weighing a diverse range of criteria such living costs, air quality, and local amenities, categories for which the pitch-black, silt-covered abyss unanimously received an 'F' rating."

Seth Dixon's insight:

Now this is funny.  True to form, the Onion is mocking how obsessed our society is about ranking neighborhoods and valuing social prestige.  Underlying this satirical humor are some real, social and spatial issues.  Buying a house or renting a place is in part an analysis of the structure itself, but value is ascribed to the geographic context of the home (as real estate agents say the three most import factors are: location, location, location).  Many parents are especially concerned about choosing the ‘right’ neighborhood and that drives the housing market.  Local amenities, schools, shopping, demographic profiles, income, crime rates, land use mix…a play a role in shaping the context in how people perceive the neighborhood’s desirability.   

Tags: housingneighborhood, cultural norms, culture.

Scott Langston's curator insight, October 21, 2015 8:49 PM

Read Prof. Dixon's insight....

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How one German millennial chose to live on trains rather than pay rent

How one German millennial chose to live on trains rather than pay rent | Geography Education |

"When others get off the train to finally go home, Leonie Müller stays behind. That's because she already is home: The train is her apartment, and she says she likes it that way. She bought a subscription that allows her to board every train in the country free. Now, Müller washes her hair in the train bathroom and writes her college papers while traveling at a speed of up to 190 mph. She says that she enjoys the liberty she has experienced since she gave up her apartment."

Tags: mobility, transportationhousing, popular culture, Europe, Germany

Mark Hathaway's curator insight, October 9, 2015 9:46 AM

This is no question that living on a train is a radical decision to make. It is a direct challenge to the idea that you are suppose to settle into one particular area. While I doubt that this specific phenomenon will catch on, our society is becoming more mobile.  People are becoming less tied down to one specific area. The Millennial generation is changing many of the previous social norms. The Millennial generation is waiting longer than any previous generation to marry and start a family. Many are even questioning the institution of marriage itself.  Members of the older generations, will decry these changes. This is a familiar cycle that occurs through out history. The Older generation always decries the changes instituted by the Younger generation.

Richard Aitchison's curator insight, February 6, 11:31 AM
A pretty fascinating article that shows someone that pushes her boundaries everyday. A German student, Leonine Mueller, got into a dispute with her landlord and made a decision that would shock many.  She would leave the apartment (not shocking) and go live on trains (very shocking). How is this possible? Well she bought a subscription that allows her to board every train in the country for free (which was cheaper than living in her apartment) and she carries just a backup and needed materials. As a college student she does her work on the trains. As they interviewed her she says how it was more than an economical decision and she wanted people to look at the "normal" and question it, why do we do what we do? She gets to travel the country and meet many new people and see things see never would have expected to get out of a college education. First off for this to work you have to have great public transportation which Germany does, in a country with no transportation or infrastructure this would have been next to impossible. She also does not have children and is young enough to be able to live day to day with this life style. It is a very cool idea and would seem like an awesome experience and at least a great social experiment, but her location for sure plays a key role in this ability to accomplish this. I will look for more stories on her and to see what her outcome was in this situation. 
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Why are we so reliant on air conditioning? (It's not just climate change, it's bad design)

Why are we so reliant on air conditioning? (It's not just climate change, it's bad design) | Geography Education |
Air conditioners have made architects lazy, and we've forgotten how to design houses that might work without it.

A hundred years ago, a house in Florida looked different than a house in New England. The northern house might be boxy, have relatively small windows, almost always two stories with low ceilings, and a big fireplace in the middle. 

In Florida, the house might have high ceilings, tall double-hung windows, and deep porches. Trees would be planted around the house to block the sun. 

Today, houses pretty much look the same wherever you go in North America, and one thing made this possible: central air conditioning. Now, the United States uses more energy for air conditioning than 1 billion people in Africa use for everything.

Tags: planning, architecture, housingurban, place, environment adaptenergyconsumption.

Seth Dixon's insight:

The recent demographic shift to the "Sun Belt" in the U.S.  coincides with the mass availability of air conditioning (among other factors).  Our homes are less regionally distinct and in terms of the human/environmental interactions, our answer is greater modifications as opposed to regional adaptations...this article is a call for more architectural improvements instead of more energy consumption to beat the heat.  In Europe however, they see the United States as "over air-conditioned" in the summer.

Stephen Zimmett's curator insight, July 23, 2015 1:12 PM


James Piccolino's curator insight, February 8, 7:04 AM
This intrigues me as both a former student of Architecture at CACTC and as a lover of the comforts of air conditioning. This argument is similar to the argument of most technology. We have adapted to become more dependent on air conditioning, and thus it has had an effect on the way we operate. This leads to uniformity in designs where simplicity can overtake the dwindling need for variation due to climate. The more that technology can change the climate to what we desire (at least in our homes) the less variation we will need over time. Whether this is good or bad depends on what side of the argument you fall to.
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Vertical villages are changing the concept of neighborhood

Vertical villages are changing the concept of neighborhood | Geography Education |
Multifamily dwellings in high-density areas are changing the concept of neighborhood.

Tags: housingurban, place, neighborhoodspatialdensity.

Sreya Ayinala's curator insight, May 26, 2015 10:13 PM

Unit 7 Urban

       The article describes a vertical neighborhood which is similar to an apartment, but instead has multiple family residences stacked on top of each other. This type of a community helps decrease land use and increases communication between people and creates a sense of community. The residents often interact, see each other, and form deep bonds that would be difficult to do in a street of single family homes.

        As land prices skyrocket and living in a city becomes more expensive the main solution used by architects is to build up. The sky is the limit and there is plenty of space in the sky providing an ideal space for people to live and expand into. However, with the increase of skyscrapers and multi storied buildings, air pollution increases due to the height of the building and any smoke or waste released from the building. 

Shane C Cook's curator insight, May 27, 2015 5:16 AM

How cool is it that our world is changing every second? Some would say that it sucks and that we need to slow down. But why slow down, so much innovation is happening and we are at the front seat of it. People live differently now rather than sticking with old traditions and it is neat to see how they adjust to high-density areas.

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These two maps show the shocking inequality in Baltimore

These two maps show the shocking inequality in Baltimore | Geography Education |
How vacant houses trace the boundaries of Baltimore's black neighborhoods.

The map on the left shows one very tiny dot for each person living in Baltimore. White people are blue dots, blacks are green, Asians are red and Hispanics yellow.The map on the right shows the locations of Baltimore City's 15,928 vacant buildings. Slide between the two maps and you'll immediately notice that the wedge of white Baltimore, jutting down from the Northwest to the city center, is largely free of vacant buildings. But in the black neighborhoods on either side, empty buildings are endemic.

Tags: neighborhood, gentrificationurban, place, economicracepoverty, spatialhousing.

Courtney Barrowman's curator insight, May 1, 2015 9:37 AM

Unit 7

Lauren Quincy's curator insight, May 24, 2015 9:14 PM

Unit 7: Cities and Urban Land Use


This article is about Sandtown, Baltimore and its shift into a disamenity sector. It explains how this neighborhood, mainly housed by blacks, had a high percentage of vacant houses. The article says that this neighborhood is overrun with poverty, war on drugs and gangs and has the more residents in jail than any other neighborhood. This shows the changing demographics of the city of Baltimore.


This relates to unit 7 because it covers the topic of disamenity sectors and changing demographics. It shows reasons for the high levels of poverty and abandoned housing. It also shows the racial spatial distribution of the neighborhood and its correlation to housing and development.  

Lydia Tsao's curator insight, May 26, 2015 1:46 AM

This article left me heart broken. The African American community in Baltimore is stuck in a deep poverty cycle, and it cannot seem to escape its impoverished past. Even now, the poverty in the area seems to just be getting worse. The problems of income disparity lead to more problems than just economic; they lead to social and political problems. Social unrest and injustice occurs as a result of the modern white flight. This article arose as a result of the death of Freddie Gray, whose death demonstrates a significant social issue that needs to be addressed: police brutality and the criminal targeting of the African American community. His death stems from the tremendously amounts of disparity in the city. Promoting investment in the inner city would definitely help alleviate the poverty in the area. The problem is getting people to invest.

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Spatial Design

"How much does size really matter? Judging by this tiny home in France, not a whole lot -- as long as the space is functional.

On the seventh floor of an apartment building in Paris, there's an 86-square-foot apartment complete with a bed, kitchen, bathroom, table and chairs, closet, bathroom and storage space." --HPost

Seth Dixon's insight:

Space in a home matters, but the functionality of that space is critical.  Geography is about spatial thinking, and this video promotes a different type of spatial thinking, but one that still will help geographic thought.  As our metropolitan areas get more and more crowded, planning of this type might become increasingly common.  What advantages to you see in interior design that seek s to maximize space?  What are some drawbacks to a design such as this?

Tags: spatialdensity, urbanism, housing.

John Nieuwendyk's curator insight, November 23, 2014 10:16 PM

With an ever-growing urban population spatial design is important in maintaining functionality, efficiency and orderliness. The apartment building in Paris is especially interesting. It is practical and functions well enough to where a person can live comfortably in a markedly small but efficient space.   

Ryann Pinnegar's curator insight, July 6, 2015 3:02 AM

This tiny home is amazing! It is like the setting for a futuristic story.

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America is rapidly aging in a country built for the young

America is rapidly aging in a country built for the young | Geography Education |

"Although we seldom think about them this way, most American communities as they exist today were built for the spry and mobile. We've constructed millions of multi-story, single-family homes where the master bedroom is on the second floor, where the lawn outside requires weekly upkeep, where the mailbox is a stroll away. We've designed neighborhoods where everyday errands require a driver's license. We've planned whole cities where, if you don't have a car, it's not particularly easy to walk anywhere — especially not if you move gingerly.

This reality has been a fine one for a younger country. Those multi-story, single-family homes with broad lawns were great for Baby Boomers when they had young families. And car-dependent suburbs have been fine for residents with the means and mobility to drive everywhere. But as the Baby Boomers whose preferences drove a lot of these trends continue to age, it's becoming increasingly clear that the housing and communities we've built won't work very well for the old."

Seth Dixon's insight:

Population change is frequently a concern of city planners at the local level.  This article shows that major demographic shifts are going to mean major changes in our patterns in our cities as we become a 'greying' society. 

Tagsurban, unit 7 cities, housing, sprawlneighborhood, planning, densityplanning, declining populations, population, demographic transition model, USA.

Alexandra Piggott's curator insight, October 18, 2014 6:48 PM

This is also an issue in Australia where the overwhelming majority of people live in single story dwellings and are very car reliant.

Joshua Mason's curator insight, January 28, 2015 8:59 PM

I can definitely see this as a real problem. Both my Uncle and my Great Uncle moved their condos from ones that had numerous steps to climb to the second floor to more elder-friendly options. My Great Uncle even went a step further to move him and his wife to a senior living community, where there food, entertainment, etc. is all provided within an enclosed neighbourhood with other people of their age group. More of these communities that act like oversized retirement homes could be the answer. They give the illusion of suburban living, something the baby boomers liked, while providing the accessibility they need.

Dawn Haas Tache's curator insight, April 8, 2015 12:27 PM

APHG- HW Option 1

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The Rise of Innovative Districts

"Today, innovation is taking place where people can come together, not in isolated spaces. Innovation districts are this century's productive geography, they are both competitive places and 'cool spaces' and they will transform your city and metropolis."

Seth Dixon's insight:

As described by the Brookings Institution in their exploration regarding innovation districts, they are geographic areas where leading-edge companies, research institutions, start-ups, and business incubators are located in dense proximity. These districts are created to facilitate new connections and ideas, speed up the commercialization of those ideas, and support urban economies by growing jobs in ways that leverage their distinct economic position.

Tags: density, sustainability, housing, urban, planning, unit 7 cities, labor.

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Aerial housing photographs show stark division between rich and poor in Mexico

Aerial housing photographs show stark division between rich and poor in Mexico | Geography Education |
A new advertising campaign is seeking to draw attention to the gap between the wealthy and the poverty-stricken in Mexico by showing how they co-exist in disturbingly close proximity.
Seth Dixon's insight:

There is a wide economic gap between the rich and the poor and in the spatial layout of urban settlements. Often an accompanying  tangible separation exists between the communities where these groups live.  These images (captured by a helicopter pilot with a keen eye for iconic and cultural landscapes in Mexico City) show neighborhoods in Mexico where this separation does not exist.   Collectively they are reminiscent of this famous photograph in Brazil that shows the uneasy juxtaposition of favelas and luxurious housing. 

Questions to Ponder: What are these neighborhoods like?  How are these two communities linked and separated?  Compare and contrast life on both sides of the fence.    

Tags:  housingeconomic, socioeconomicBrazil, urban, squatter, neighborhood, Mexico

Ms. Harrington's curator insight, June 17, 2014 8:35 AM

And again in Brazil

Alec Castagno's curator insight, October 3, 2014 1:21 PM

The pictures show the deep divide between rich and poor in Mexico. These settlements are built to the point where luxurious condos share a wall with decaying slum housing. The roads do not connect the areas, showing how these places were constructed separately by to distinctly different communities. While the proximity between sections shows that sights, sounds, and smells most likely carry across the two sections, the rich area looks as if it has no idea what lies directly beyond their walls. The fact that the rich areas are literally walled off from the rest of the surrounding area says a lot about the deep economic divides found around the world today.

Alyssa Dorr's curator insight, December 16, 2014 9:02 AM

Right away from looking at this picture, you can tell which side is which. I didn't even have to read the article yet to find out where the wealthier people lived and where the not so wealthy lived. The colors stood out the most to me. In the picture on the left, it is clear that this is the not so wealthy part in Mexico. The color is just filled with dark and gloominess, mostly shown in gray. The houses are also pushed very closely together. On the right side, it appears that this is the richer side of Mexico. Although the houses are closer together like the picture on the left, they are colorful. They have firm built roofs and appear to be built and taken care of much better. Something else that gives you the sense of which community is more rich is the cars. There is a whole line of cars in the right picture while in the left picture we see a few here and there. The right picture also illustrates lawns. We slightly see some grass in the left, but it is clearly not as well taken care of as the lawns in the right picture. This picture was done as an advertisement to draw attention to the gap between the two different communities. The campaign goes by the name "Erase the Differences" and hopes to get people to realize the differences in poverty that are right in front of them.