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Mixing Past And Present In Papua New Guinea

Papua New Guinea, once home to cannibals, still has an exotic aura. The local tourist economy caters to those notions, and visitors may see a hybrid of the traditional and the modern.

 

This story is an intriguing blend--we see traditional cultures engaging in the global economy. They have created two villages: a traditional one designed for tourism filled with emblems of their folk cultures, and another one where people work, live eat and play with various markers of outside cultural and technological influence.

 

"Tourists are taking pictures. They don't want to take pictures of those who are in Western clothes.  People who are in Western clothes are not allowed to get close to people who are dressed up in the local dressings."

 

Questions to Ponder: Which village do you see as the more "authentic" one? How can culture also be a commodity?

 

Tags: folk culture, tourism, indigenous, culture, economic, rural, historical, unit 3 culture, Oceania.


Via Seth Dixon
James Hobson's insight:

(Oceania topic 3)

This illustrates some of the negative effects of tourism. Although tribes are making an income, they in turn must beware of 'selling out themselves'. Hiding one's own culture and way of life behind another (even if it is more attractive to business) creates lies and disrupts one's own identity. If these tribes 'came forward' and showed that they are more westernized than many may think, I actually believe tourism would benefit not only morally, but also economically. Those who might otherwise be too afraid of the 'other' could be more willing to visit knowing that such a place is indeed slightly more modernized, thus increasing tourism appeal. The ways of the past should by no means be completely abandoned, however; they are a part of one's heritage and speak truth of the past. Perhaps, just as some Native American tribes convey today, these people of Papua New Guinea can keep and acknowledge their past culture through museums, reenactments, and other admittedly-for-show means. This wouldn't cause the sense of rugged jungle ways to be lost, but rather expressed in a more straightforward and educating/enlightening manner.

more...
Kendra King's curator insight, May 3, 2015 1:40 AM

The title of this article seemed to be a little bit of a misnomer given how the geographic forces impact Papua New Guinea. Part of the population caters to the tourist desire to see the "exotic." However, this Papaua New Guinea is in the past. While the rest of the population lives in the present where the citizens live without the tourist dictating how they live.   

 

Given the impact of the forces, the split makes figuring out which Papa New Guinea is actually the most "authentic" is tricky. There are elements of Papa New Guinea in each place. The perfect way to obtain authenticity is blending them as the title suggest, but that is not that case. Under the circumstances, I think the village in which tourist are not present are the most "authentic." It is because of the tourist that the past village exits and while some members of the population like that this helps preserve their past culture, Papa New Guinea has clearly started to move on.  It reminds me of the Plymouth plantation field trips in which the tourist view america during the times of the pilgrims. Clearly, America has moved on, but continues to honor their roots. Due to this idea of moving on, I think the other village that shows the present is more authentic because it is a closer measure of what the village realistically acts like without interference from the outside world.  


While, I realize Papa New Guinea is more than the past, a fair amount of the world doesn't. As a few tourist mentioned, they were eager to hear about cannibalism despite the practice stopping years ago. Yet, from an outsiders perspective, they don't see this other Papa New Guinea and because the country plays into this idea of a village stuck in the past, it gives the world the wrong impression. As such, I wonder how how much catering to the rest of the world holds Papa New Guinea back economically. Being perceived as less developed won't generate lenders and living up to that expectation curbs other modern economic sectors. So it seems the overall affect might actually be more detrimental then helpful from an economic stance.   

Kristin Mandsager San Bento's curator insight, May 4, 2015 12:38 PM

I believe these indigenous people found a way to survive.  They were smart!  Globalization and tourism were gonna happen with or without them.  Now they found away to keep on existing.  Authentic?  How do they live their lives now, thats authentic.  The past history is just that, the past.  Its a commodity because they've found a way to exploit their culture to benefit them.  

Matt Ramsdell's curator insight, December 14, 2015 8:47 PM

This podcast talks about two different areas of the same area. One section living in the past and one living in the present. I believe that the section that is living in the past is more authentic. This is a group of people who have had to learn their way of life. The present would have had to learn to adapt to new ways in life and this new way would be truly authentic to their religion.

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Welcome!

Welcome! | James Hobson's Geography 200 | Scoop.it

^  The best way to experience the world's regional geographies is to go there yourself! :-)
(Dante's Peak, Death Valley National Park, CA)

James Hobson's insight:

Welcome to my  online portfolio page for Dr. Dixon's GEOG 200 World Regional Geography class! Scoops are labeled and grouped by region, with 5 or 10 per each region.

The most recent group of posts constitutes my final project, which focuses on the issue of transportation in Dhaka, one of the world's emerging megacities. Scoops for my final project can be isolated by searching with the keyword "Dhaka".

 

Enjoy!

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Gridlock - What is it and how does it form?

Gridlock

Gridlock is a type of traffic jam where "continuous queues of vehicles block an entire network of intersecting streets, bringing traffic in all directions to a complete standstill". The term originates from a situation possible in a grid plan where intersections are blocked, preventing vehicles from either moving forwards through the intersection or backing up to an upstream intersection.

James Hobson's insight:

Though this is admittedly a Wikipedia article, this offers a quick overview of the nature of traffic gridlock. This will help with understanding the situation in Dhaka which I discuss. Though thee is much at play, a key component to gridlock is vehicles blocking an intersection; since Dhaka isn't exactly a hot spot for traffic signals or "Do Not Block Intersection" signs, you can start to see the cause.

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Geography - Bangladesh Tourism Board

Geography - Bangladesh Tourism Board | James Hobson's Geography 200 | Scoop.it
Bangladesh is a low-lying, riverine country located in South Asia with a largely marshy jungle coastline of 710 km on the northern littoral of the Bay of Bengal. Formed by a delta plain at the confluence of the Padma, Jamuna, and Meghna Rivers.
James Hobson's insight:

I include this link for two reasons. First, it is Bangladesh's own official webpage which describes its own geography. It's interesting to see how a country views and portrays itself.

   Secondly, I was surprised at how brief and undetailed their official Tourism Board's website is! Barely any information is given at all, whereas other countries have thousands of pages describing why you should visit. Though not necessarily a relevant topic, this goes to show that Bangladesh, at least from what they are conveying to the world, is not too interested in attracting tourists. Perhaps they fear more visitors would spread the word and even contribute to the congestion, creating a negative connotation. Perhaps this decision not only stops further traffic headaches, but also shows that Bangladesh knows it is not ready for a tourism boom. Waiting may turn out to be an investment; once infrastructure is improved, then perhaps tourism will have a strong support to grow on, as opposed to choking that support now.

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Incredible traffic in Dhaka, Bangladesh in HD, 2014, part 1 - YouTube

Recorded on 3 March 2014 in Dhaka. I love the traffic, noise, honking, shouting and yet smiling people !
James Hobson's insight:

Of this video which shows more of 'the same', I found one thing which particularly caught my eye. It begins at about 1:25... see it?  Yes, the barrier of rocks is used to designate the rickshaw-only turn lane!! Though primitive, I guess this is an effective method of lane control and reducing last-minute cut-offs and lane changes. Perhaps this unique idea should be introduced at some notorious Rhode Island intersections... ;-)

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2 killed in Dhaka traffic accident

2 killed in Dhaka traffic accident | James Hobson's Geography 200 | Scoop.it
Two people were killed in Dhaka's Paltan and Mirpur areas early Friday.
The deceased, who was killed at Paltan, is Shariful Islam, 30, a resident of Mughdhapara area.
The identity of the deceased, who was found at Mirpur, could not be known.
Dhaka Medical College and Hospital sources...
James Hobson's insight:

Though dangerous for drivers, the streets of Dhaka are also a threat to pedestrians. This article briefly touches upon two of the many deaths caused by vehicle accidents in the city. In a place where travel is quite frankly so chaotic, sadly this does not come as a major surprise. But hopefully it still serves as a reminder of the importance of safety. I recommend reading the Scoop of jaywalking to go along with this one, if you haven't already.

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Devices to combat Dhaka gridlock work well | 24 News | Financial Express :: Financial Newspaper of Bangladesh

Traffic police and city corporation officials have expressed satisfaction at the ‘effectiveness’ of signal timing countdown system installed in Dhaka
James Hobson's insight:

Though arguable little progress, if any, has been made to alleviate Dhaka's problem, I was able to find at least one example in which some progress has been made. In portions of the city, special timing devices have been installed and activated during the afternoon rush hours with the goal of prioritizing traffic flow. For example, if N number of vehicles are traveling northbound and southbound while 2N vehicles travel east- and westbound, then approximately twice the priority should be given to the eastbound and westbound travelers.

   Though I was unable to determine more specifics about these devices, they have supposedly been proven successful at reducing backlogged gridlock. This result has prompted government officials to plan on expanding this system (which currently consists of 65 devices) to the entire city, though this is by no means set in stone.

 

Ironically, this initiative comes from a political initiative entitled The "Clean and Sustainable Environment". Talk about putting a bandage on a broken bone! This hints at further political strife.

 

   Lastly, political geography was an additional factor into the decision to implement these devices. As the article states, these devices can be used to hold up traffic and clear certain throughways when dignitaries need to pass through. Sounds similar, doesn't' it? This relates to the other article which mentions the impacts on residents of the delays caused by such diplomatic priority. I also would like to mention the connection to how dignitaries and travelers alike tend to be shown the 'better side' of a city and kept away from the less prominent -- whether this be Federal Hill vs. South Providence, or North Korea's capital compound vs. most rest of the country, or the White House vs. surrounding neighborhoods, or you-name-it. In the same way, priority for dignitaries not only is a politically-based cause of additional inconvenience for Dhaka residents, but also constitutes a form of lying. Yes, safety is important, but a complete monopoly on such an infrastructure, be it only for a brief time, is still concealing the full story and definitely unfair.

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Traffic snarl hits Dhaka during Bhutan PM's visit

Traffic snarl hits Dhaka during Bhutan PM's visit | James Hobson's Geography 200 | Scoop.it
Grade-VII student Sabiha Akter Sumi was about 20 minutes late to school for her final exam on Saturday.
James Hobson's insight:

With a transportation infrastructure already above its limits, any additional disruption would surely be felt. This was the case in Dhaka when a min route was shut down to accommodate a visit from Bhutan's Prime Minister.

   Though the route was closed for 30 minutes, the resulting travel time delays were around 2 hours for many people. Some were not able to move at all for more than an hour. This phenomenon is that of gridlock, which is explained in another Scoop.

   Political geography was definitely at play here. Though diplomatic visits can be seen as important enough to disrupt travel plans, doing so in a place where the impact would be felt the strongest seems counterintuitive. And though this example may not be the best (since the goal of the PM's visit was to go to a war memorial within the city limits), a message can still be derived that certain factors are ignored to accommodate special interests and persons. Perhaps, in this way, countries all around the world (including the United States) can be argued to still possess class and caste striations.

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Dhaka-Tongi commuter train service flagged off

Dhaka-Tongi commuter train service flagged off | James Hobson's Geography 200 | Scoop.it
Railway Minister Mojibul Haque has said that when the present government is augmenting railways by introducing new trains and services, the BNP and Jamaat-e-Islami are on to destroy it.
James Hobson's insight:

The crazy congestion on the streets of Dhaka has recently been eased, even if just by an iota. With support of Bangladesh's current government, a new railway system linking the city to Tongi and a regional airport. The train is scheduled to run 6 days a week and carry up to 600 passengers at a time. The cost to ride is the equivalent of just $0.19 USD!

Surprisingly, this more efficient mode of transportation is not currying favor with everyone. Strong opposition exists from the political group known as the Bangladesh National Party (BNP), which has in the past been known to dismantle railroad tracks in protest. Though the BNP claims this was done to garner attention, there exists a possible connection that the BNP may want to keep the congestion problem and exploit the situation for their own gain. I'll leave the deep political conclusions for readers to draw for themselves. Nonetheless, political geography plays into Dhaka's growing problem.

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Australia Adds New Colors to Weather Forecasting Chart as Temperatures Skyrocket

Australia Adds New Colors to Weather Forecasting Chart as Temperatures Skyrocket | James Hobson's Geography 200 | Scoop.it
As heat records continue to be shattered with every passing day, Australia's Bureau of Meteorology has updated its weather forecasting chart to reflect rising temperatures.

Via Seth Dixon
James Hobson's insight:

(Oceania topic 5 [independent topic 1])

Those who argue that climate change / global warming is not occurring should just look at a map! Australia's addition of 2 temperature deviation ranges isn't just a random decision. Off-the-charts temperatures on a scale never experienced before in the area are the culprit. This seems to echo the decisions of many newspapers and television networks I've seen, which have added more colors to their temperature maps to compensate for the recent southwest heat wave and (you guessed it) the infamous polar vortex. after all, what good does a visualization map do if it's all just one or two colors? (Not to play devil's advocate, but it does go to show that changes are in fact happening.)

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Stacey Jackson's curator insight, May 8, 2013 8:55 PM

It's unfortunate to see that climate change has become so bad that scientists are now re-working maps to reflect the increasing temperatures. As a geography student, I'd be interested to see this heat map side-by-side with a map on wildfires in Australia. My guess is there would be parallels. 

Cam E's curator insight, April 8, 2014 1:08 PM

They should just skip the middle-man and make "Hell" a color. Dry land, low rainfall, and the flows of El Nino all contribute to the intense heat found in Australia.

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Mixing Past And Present In Papua New Guinea

Papua New Guinea, once home to cannibals, still has an exotic aura. The local tourist economy caters to those notions, and visitors may see a hybrid of the traditional and the modern.

 

This story is an intriguing blend--we see traditional cultures engaging in the global economy. They have created two villages: a traditional one designed for tourism filled with emblems of their folk cultures, and another one where people work, live eat and play with various markers of outside cultural and technological influence.

 

"Tourists are taking pictures. They don't want to take pictures of those who are in Western clothes.  People who are in Western clothes are not allowed to get close to people who are dressed up in the local dressings."

 

Questions to Ponder: Which village do you see as the more "authentic" one? How can culture also be a commodity?

 

Tags: folk culture, tourism, indigenous, culture, economic, rural, historical, unit 3 culture, Oceania.


Via Seth Dixon
James Hobson's insight:

(Oceania topic 3)

This illustrates some of the negative effects of tourism. Although tribes are making an income, they in turn must beware of 'selling out themselves'. Hiding one's own culture and way of life behind another (even if it is more attractive to business) creates lies and disrupts one's own identity. If these tribes 'came forward' and showed that they are more westernized than many may think, I actually believe tourism would benefit not only morally, but also economically. Those who might otherwise be too afraid of the 'other' could be more willing to visit knowing that such a place is indeed slightly more modernized, thus increasing tourism appeal. The ways of the past should by no means be completely abandoned, however; they are a part of one's heritage and speak truth of the past. Perhaps, just as some Native American tribes convey today, these people of Papua New Guinea can keep and acknowledge their past culture through museums, reenactments, and other admittedly-for-show means. This wouldn't cause the sense of rugged jungle ways to be lost, but rather expressed in a more straightforward and educating/enlightening manner.

more...
Kendra King's curator insight, May 3, 2015 1:40 AM

The title of this article seemed to be a little bit of a misnomer given how the geographic forces impact Papua New Guinea. Part of the population caters to the tourist desire to see the "exotic." However, this Papaua New Guinea is in the past. While the rest of the population lives in the present where the citizens live without the tourist dictating how they live.   

 

Given the impact of the forces, the split makes figuring out which Papa New Guinea is actually the most "authentic" is tricky. There are elements of Papa New Guinea in each place. The perfect way to obtain authenticity is blending them as the title suggest, but that is not that case. Under the circumstances, I think the village in which tourist are not present are the most "authentic." It is because of the tourist that the past village exits and while some members of the population like that this helps preserve their past culture, Papa New Guinea has clearly started to move on.  It reminds me of the Plymouth plantation field trips in which the tourist view america during the times of the pilgrims. Clearly, America has moved on, but continues to honor their roots. Due to this idea of moving on, I think the other village that shows the present is more authentic because it is a closer measure of what the village realistically acts like without interference from the outside world.  


While, I realize Papa New Guinea is more than the past, a fair amount of the world doesn't. As a few tourist mentioned, they were eager to hear about cannibalism despite the practice stopping years ago. Yet, from an outsiders perspective, they don't see this other Papa New Guinea and because the country plays into this idea of a village stuck in the past, it gives the world the wrong impression. As such, I wonder how how much catering to the rest of the world holds Papa New Guinea back economically. Being perceived as less developed won't generate lenders and living up to that expectation curbs other modern economic sectors. So it seems the overall affect might actually be more detrimental then helpful from an economic stance.   

Kristin Mandsager San Bento's curator insight, May 4, 2015 12:38 PM

I believe these indigenous people found a way to survive.  They were smart!  Globalization and tourism were gonna happen with or without them.  Now they found away to keep on existing.  Authentic?  How do they live their lives now, thats authentic.  The past history is just that, the past.  Its a commodity because they've found a way to exploit their culture to benefit them.  

Matt Ramsdell's curator insight, December 14, 2015 8:47 PM

This podcast talks about two different areas of the same area. One section living in the past and one living in the present. I believe that the section that is living in the past is more authentic. This is a group of people who have had to learn their way of life. The present would have had to learn to adapt to new ways in life and this new way would be truly authentic to their religion.

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The Southern Ocean

The Southern Ocean | James Hobson's Geography 200 | Scoop.it
Did you know that in 2000 the IHO created a new ocean called the Southern Ocean? Here, learn about where and what the Southern Ocean is.
James Hobson's insight:

(Oceania topic 1)

[This topic area includes Australia and Antarctica]

I think this video conveys two clear messages. First, geography has a subjective factor to it; where you live and the regions you frequently reference determine how you think about other places: how much you think about them, why you think about them, how different they are from your own norms, etc. I agree that this is why so few people from the Northern Hemisphere regard the Southern Ocean as its own entity. I also believe a subconscious factor in involved, in which human though has a natural inclination to ignore that which is referenced as at the bottom or low (in this example applying to a latitude).

   Secondly, and perhaps more importantly, is that there is more than what meets the eye. Yes, even I agree that from a purely physical sense of geography, the Southern Ocean can just be absorbed into the southern extents of 3 others. However, the visualization of the currents and biosphere are spot-on evidence to support the contrary.

   I hope that this example will lead future geographic definitions to be based not solely on physical reference, but on other factors (including these mentioned) as well.

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Jess Deady's curator insight, May 4, 2014 10:19 PM

The southern ocean is a collection of oceans near Australia…. in the southern part of the world… interesting.

Samuel D'Amore's curator insight, December 17, 2014 4:36 PM

While many typically assume that maps and even geography itself is rather static and able to change or be altered this video shows the opposite. As the way the earth is seen changes so are maps and they way geography is taught. In some cases the shifting borders aren't only from political shifts as one might imagine but also from the discovery and deciding of things such as this. Like history, geography is a ever changing and shifting field of work.

 

Jared Medeiros's curator insight, April 28, 2015 5:53 PM

This was a very interesting video about this body of water.  It is true that if you do not learn about something in school, than it must not be important.  I am suprised that this massive body of water has not always been considered an Ocean.  I understand that explorers were not blazing paths through these waters as much as the others during the time of exploration, but the size and differece of this large body of water cant be ignored.  There is probably so much going on on these ocean floors that we will never know about, at least not any time soon.

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Myanmar's Isolation Gives Way To A Flood Of Visitors

The rapid pace of political change in Myanmar in the past year — capped by the recent election of Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi to Parliament — has tourists and foreign investors rushing to the country.

 

So many tourists want to see the change come to the democratic institutions of Myanmar to become a politically just Burma.  And yet, they also nostalgically want to keep Myanmar in a non-globalized state.  In what can be called the paradox of progress, many westerners want an idealized pre-modern state. 


Via Seth Dixon
James Hobson's insight:

(Southeast Asia topic 9 [independent topic 1])

Myanmar (aka Burma) might end up being the next 'hidden gem' that ends up being scratched by over-visitation and over-westernization. However, this is by no means set in stone (no pun intended...).  Just as locals don't want to spread word about their favorite swimming hole, many past visitors and some locals hope that they can maintain that which keeps Myanmar unique. On the other hand, the welcoming of change offers the lure of increased tourism revenue and further globalization to an area recovering from isolationism. In my opinion a balance should be reached, in which local culture is properly maintained while modest introduction of foreign culturals is done in an as-necessary, beneficial-majority-proven basis.

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Elizabeth Allen's comment, December 7, 2012 1:05 AM
What a transition. Burma is now free. After suffocating under military rule, Myanmar now has the chance of progressing politically and economically.
Stacey Jackson's curator insight, May 8, 2013 8:40 PM

This article touches on something I've always thought about when considering tourism and development. Many of the cities and places I like to visit I go to because of there charm and lack of robust tourism culture. This is a bit of a dual edged sword. Cities and countries stand to gain considerable wealth from the expansion of their tourism industry. But, part of me wonders if something else is also lost. 

Meagan Harpin's curator insight, October 10, 2013 8:03 PM

Due to rapid pace of political change in the last year tourists and foriegn investors are flooding into Myanmar. The country went through 50 years of brutal military rule and isolation that has left them stuck in time. What has been so heartbreaking for the people of Myanmar has is they same thing that makes it attractive and appealing to tourists and brings them now pouring in. Many of the tourists like it there because it hasnt been "ruined" by corporations and fast food chains yet.  

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Break Dancing, Phnom Penh-Style

Break Dancing, Phnom Penh-Style | James Hobson's Geography 200 | Scoop.it
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
James Hobson's insight:

(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.

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Gene Gagne's curator insight, December 1, 2015 9:15 PM

I thought this was a good video because it talks about a person who was probably living in the u.s. all his life and got hooked on the wrong side of the track and now forced to leave the u.s. The good news is he is seeing a country he was probably born in and never saw. he is able to bring with him some American culture such as breakdancing, music, his tattoos his English language. At the same time he is going to learn his culture.

Benjamin Jackson's curator insight, December 14, 2015 12:08 PM

this is a wonderful example of someone giving back to their adoptive [if ancestral] home. this is a good way to keep kids out of trouble while also introducing them to a new culture and style of dance.

Martin Kemp's curator insight, December 17, 2015 4:03 PM

this is great, making the best of a bad situation and working with kids to make sure that they do not make the same mistakes as you did is a great thing. also the examples of cultural diffusion or great as well. everyone knows that there is nothign better for kids growing up than to be a part of after school programs where they can continue to learn different things.

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This Is the Traffic Capital of the World

This Is the Traffic Capital of the World | James Hobson's Geography 200 | Scoop.it
There are only 650 major intersections here—but somehow only 60 traffic lights.

Via Seth Dixon
James Hobson's insight:

I recommend reading this as an introduction to this topic. It offers first-hand descriptive commentary. I won't say much about this Scoop because the author of the article did quite a fine job already. All I'll say is that it's not exactly a 'norm' anywhere else!

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Sarah Cannon's curator insight, December 14, 2015 9:50 AM

Its amazing how much traffic can affect air pollution, especially in such a small place. Dhaka is heavily populated, traffic in this small but heavily populated community is very stressful, even to look at in the photo provided above. I can't imagine living in such a heavily populated area. I guess you can compare it to downtown New York City. However the pollution is more intense in Dhaka than it is in NYC.

Matt Ramsdell's curator insight, December 14, 2015 3:35 PM

This is a prime example of a megacity and the population that it cohabits the city. The huge populaiton that is se densley populated in such a small area creates for a large traffic and pedestrian issues. After watching the video you would think that there would be more accidents but living in a city like this you would get use to the population ways and learn the ways of life.

Alex Vielman's curator insight, December 15, 2015 12:28 AM

Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh, suffers from overpopulation. As funny and nerve-wrecking this video was, it shows an instability on how important technology is in order for safety. In the video we can see cars just passing by fast and furociuosly within centimeters of crashing in the car in front of it. There is no one guiding traffic and nonetheless, any stop and traffic lights on the streets. It is a free for all in the middle of the capital when it comes to driving and this is a lack of safety for the people in Bangladesh. It is almost impossible for people to cross the road without a high risk of getting driven over. We can also see how there are so many cars in the are was well. The region is very overpopulated and to think how worse it would be if everyone in the area owned a car. 

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CNG-run auto-rickshaws become bane for passengers in city | Dhaka Tribune

CNG-run auto-rickshaws become bane for passengers in city | Dhaka Tribune | James Hobson's Geography 200 | Scoop.it
The government has decided to increase the number of CNG-run auto-rickshaws in Dhaka and Chittagong, without adopting any strict or effective measure to ensure hassle-free travel for passengers.

Although the four-stroke three-wheelers are a major cause of traffic congestion in Dhaka city, Commun
James Hobson's insight:

The expansion of Dhaka's 'green fleet' of natural-gas powered rickshaws is a hot topic for the city's residents. In a city that faces air pollution and smog from countless traffic-jammed vehicles, why do some not favor this more -eco-friendly adaptation?

   The answer plays into economic geography. Megacities such as Dhaka generally have faster-growing populations of poorer, low-income residents when compared to the upper-middle class and the more wealthy. Obviously this means that penny-pinching is important.   The addition of CNG-powered rickshaws comes as an increased cost; those who drive them must pay more for their use, who in turn are apt to charging more for fares. Keep in mind that many rickshaws don't have precise rate clocks like taxis do, which leaves the exact charge of a fare up to the drivers, which many passengers accuse of overestimating the time and distance. So in this way, a unique insight is offered into the universal struggle between environmental and economic interests.

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Dhaka city traffic jam deadlock situation - YouTube

just in front of japan garden city
James Hobson's insight:

This video offers a quick glance at the actual traffic problem Dhaka faces. I chose this video to show that the problem isn't confined to a small area, or is just a place where you have to slow down to get through. As you can see, here the problem stretches across entire sections of the city, and traffic comes to a halt, not just a bottleneck. I clarify this because when someone says they're "stuck in traffic", it can be hard to determine whether they're in slow-moving traffic or, quite frankly, literally stuck! So another purpose of this video is to provide some clarity to the terminology.

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331 jaywalkers fined Tk24,095 for violating traffic rules | Dhaka Tribune

331 jaywalkers fined Tk24,095 for violating traffic rules | Dhaka Tribune | James Hobson's Geography 200 | Scoop.it
The Dhaka Metropolitan Police  yesterday charged 331 people with Tk24,095 in fines for violating traffic rules at three busy intersections of Kazi Nazrul Islam Avenue in the capital, on the first day of a week-long drive against jaywalkers, confirmed DMP Joint Commissioner (traffic) Moslem Uddi
James Hobson's insight:

The mass-crackdown on jaywalking in Dhaka seems to be a very controversial issues. This articles highlights views which both approve and disapprove of this previously less-enforced offense.

   Some people agree that stricter enforcement will lead to fewer pedestrian injuries and deaths on the city's dangerous streets. Traffic flow would also be aided by restricting crossings to designated sidewalks and pedestrian bridges.

   Contrarily, others say the move is no more than a major, ineffective inconvenience. With such a large number of pedestrians and relatively few legal points at which to cross, it becomes unfeasible for some to go all the way down to the nearest crossing and back. For grade-separated crossings, those with disabilities complain that they are unable to climb up and down. Additionally, it seems as if vehicles are being given the priority. This is counterintuitive to the actions of many other cities worldwide that are fighting traffic and environmental problems. These other cities are ensuring pedestrian right-of-way and creating special walking and biking lanes, to name just a couple.

   In this sense, it seems that Dhaka is being both responsible for its pedestrians' safety, while also ironically complicating their ease of travel. This seems to me to possibly be aimed at encouraging more vehicular/ rickshaw use (does a political and monetary interest exist here?? Hmmm...), which would ultimately worsen the already critical congestion problem.

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Traffic constable killed in Feni road accident | Dhaka Tribune

Traffic constable killed in Feni road accident | Dhaka Tribune | James Hobson's Geography 200 | Scoop.it
A traffic constable has been killed as a speedy truck ran him over in Mohipal on Dhaka-Chittagong highway of the district.
The deceased is Moinul Islam, 48.
Traffic Sergeant Shawkat Ali said a Dhaka-bound truck ran Moinul over as soon as he got off a rickshaw around 6:30am on Thursday. " He die
James Hobson's insight:

This is yet another account of dangerousness of Dhaka's congested and ill-controlled streets. Also see the previous Scoop on the same topic.

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155 CC cameras in Dhaka closed for 4 years

155 CC cameras in Dhaka closed for 4 years | James Hobson's Geography 200 | Scoop.it
As many as 155 closed circuit (CC) cameras, set up at 59 key points of the capital, have been remaining closed for the past four years.There are two CC cameras at the SAARC fountain intersection, where journalist Zaglul Ahmed Chowdhury was killed in a road accident on 29 November.It was...
James Hobson's insight:

Dhaka's officials seem to be talking-the-talk more than walking-the-walk. What good are travel surveillance cameras, whose aim is to catch and discourage violations, if they are not used? Sadly this was the case in yet another roadway death; when attempts were made to identify the vehicle that killed a journalist, investigators found the closest camera to be offline.

   The cameras were originally meant to be part of a much wider-reaching project, in which traffic conditions could be easily obtained by commuters. Police would also monitor cameras for resource allocation and security.

   Why did this project seemingly fall through? Though arguably political and economic geographies played a roll, physical geography has as well in an unusual way. To avoid the installation and maintenance of wiring the cameras, they were installed with wireless broadcasting technology (like WiFi). However, the increasing number of tall buildings prevented the signals from being broadcast far enough. Technology hurting technology: ironic, isn't it?

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Dense fog shuts river route, snaps Dhaka’s road links with 21 districts

Dense fog shuts river route, snaps Dhaka’s road links with 21 districts | James Hobson's Geography 200 | Scoop.it
A spell of dense fog, leading to poor visibility, lingering over the Padma has forced suspension of all traffic on the key Shimulia-Kewrakandi waterway route.
James Hobson's insight:

Physical geography is a key component of Dhaka's traffic problem. One specific way in which this is true is its weather. Dhaka is located on a riverfront, barely above sea level, near the coastline, and in a region prone to the effects of the seasonal monsoon. All of those factors come together to make Dhaka an especially difficult place to navigate.

   This article shows what happened when fog - which formed due to the aforementioned physical traits of the region - rolled in and caused a white-out. Visibility dropped to such bad levels that a cease-movement order was issued to all boats. This left thousands of people stranded mid-river. Due to the lack of adequate bridges, regions to the south and west were cut off from the rest of the city.

   Though this certainly isn't the case every day, this definitely serves as a dissuasion away from the use of ferry transportation. Though driving may take longer most of the time and be more expensive, why risk not being able to make it to work when getting there late is still a better option?

   On another note, perhaps this article gives an example of how the region's political geography actually contributed in a positive way. Had the governmental order to stay in place not been issued, many boat captains would likely have continued traveling blind to appease and earn the payment of their customers. (We all know what happened with the Titanic and why it failed to slow down in icy waters, right?) Injury and death would otherwise likely have resulted on a large scale, which would have, among other things, given an even worse connotation to the idea of utilizing ferry transportation.

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Traffic Congestion in Bangladesh- Causes and Solutions: study of Chittagong Metropolitan City

James Hobson's insight:

For those wishing to expand their knowledge about this issue, its causes, and its effects, I was able to find a scholarly publication which delves even deeper into this topic than my own final project does. I find it very well structured and personally interesting. You may also find it insightful as to why your own local commute is challenging.

   Though this issue is relatively ignored by the Bangladeshi government (as you have probably discerned for yourself by now), it is good to know that word is still getting out and studies are still being conducted about the issue. And thanks to the semester-long theme of globalization, the Internet has enabled such efforts to be reached and spread, just as has been done through my Scooping.

   Though it wouldn't hurt, you don't have to compose your own multi-page report on this (or ANY) issue to keep it 'alive' and circulating. Simply mentioning the topic briefly in relevant conversation or Googling in your spare time works. After all, that's where this project started!

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The Border That Stole 500 Birthdays

The Border That Stole 500 Birthdays | James Hobson's Geography 200 | Scoop.it
The story behind the the International Date Line.

 

Not too long ago (Jan. 2012), the arbitrary International Date Line (roughly opposite the Prime Meridian) was moved to better accommodate the regional networks and economic geography of the area straddling the line.  American Samoa, although politically aligned with the United States, was functionally more integrated on the Asian side of the Pacific Rim when it came to their trade partners and their tourism base.  Dynamic economic networks, political allegiances and cultural commonalities create a beautifully complex situation near this 'border.'    


Via Seth Dixon
James Hobson's insight:

(Oceania topic 4)

A convenience for some is a headache for others. Ironically, a region known for its early historical maritime travelers has been divided to accord with the desires of a power half a world away, and whose maritime exploration becomes prevalent over a thousand years later.

In defense of the International Date Line, however, I can relate to how, in today's globalized world, the choosing of the Pacific is perhaps the 'lesser of the evils'. The only other place where relatively few land features exist in a north-south line would be the middle of the Atlantic.

   On the bright side, however, I applaud the decision to not make the I.D.L. and longitude 180` one in the same. At least by making small variations, a somewhat-existent sense of regional-relations geography can still exist more clearly.

   P.S. The Samoans weren't the only people to lose their birthdays. My grandfather has make frequent mentions of how he is one year younger than we think he is, since he crossed the I.D.L. on his way to an American military base in Japan.

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WILBERT DE JESUS's curator insight, April 27, 2015 1:06 PM

This is to me the coolest geographic location in the World... A group of islands nation located in both the south and north hemispheres and also to both the east and west of the international time line zone.

Edgar Manasseh Jr.'s curator insight, May 1, 2015 8:06 PM

500 birthdays were taken away due to an international date line. In Samoa is in a confused state between the united states and the Asian pacific side of the timeline which would cause time and dates to be confusing.Dynamic economic networks and political allegiances have created a very difficult situation for the people near the border in Samoa.  The International Date line in Samoa is something that is needed to be watched and paid attention because it can affect people in ways that can be very significant even at a small tiny rate.

brielle blais's curator insight, April 26, 1:33 PM
This post shows the importance of trade to each country, so much so that Samoa was able to get the International Dateline changed to accommodate their trade needs, skipping a day and allowing easier economic networks with China and Australia, who are important trading partners. 
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Vanuatu: Meet The Natives

"Five men from the remote Pacific island of Tanna arrive in America to experience western culture for the first time, and force us to look at ourselves through brand new eyes..."

 

This cross-cultural experiment reinforces numerous stereotypes, but also seeks to get viewers to look at issues from a variety of perspectives.  Folk cultures, modernization and globalization are all major themes of this show.     


Via Seth Dixon
James Hobson's insight:

(Oceania topic 2)

   Though the actual experience of these culture-shocked individuals has more thank likely been 'Hollywood-ized', the point it originally sets out to make is still relevant, and one that I can personally relate to. Experiencing a new part of the world can virtually be like going to a different planet. Language, cultural norms, scenery, and environment all can converge into a massive flipping of one's own concept of 'the other' places in the world.

   Personally, this held true for me when I visited southern Quebec, and again in the American Southwest. I couldn't even leave my own country (the SW) or go more than a couple hundred miles from my own home (QC) without feeling that eerie sense of displacement! If I were to head to, say, Russia or Fiji or Zimbabwe, I might as well be on Pluto at first! I applaud those who took the cold-turkey approach, both in this TV show and those who have done so themselves. I could barely remember that speed limits were in KPH (QC), or that a place where the temperature was over 120` and I would literally die in hours if the car broke down (Death Valley, to be precise) actually existed. Knowing that a place exists somewhere out there is one thing, but experiencing it is something entirely different, and one that I feel cannot be summed up only in words. From this, I believe that personal experience is priceless, and encourage everyone to find this out for themselves. :-)

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Gene Gagne's curator insight, December 10, 2015 7:14 PM

This reminds me of what we learned in class about American people or white folks in general go to a native island and want to see the natives uncivilized and not up with the times of technology, clothes, homes made of up to date material. They want to see grass skirts, old tools, tribal living. The white folks see modern times already they want to see old things.

Martin Kemp's curator insight, December 14, 2015 12:19 PM

I think exercises like this are really cool, there are a lot of these experiments that go on with culture swaps and I always find the reactions when returning home to be probably the most interesting, just like in this video it is a large celebrations and it helps to put things in perspective

Matt Ramsdell's curator insight, December 14, 2015 8:42 PM

This is a show that is based on how we see and view daily life of native people as compared to our own. How ever I feel as though this show is more based on the how these people actually live rather then adapting and learning to the area that they are in. It does show how globalization plays an important role in the show.

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Drought led to demise of ancient city of Angkor

Drought led to demise of ancient city of Angkor | James Hobson's Geography 200 | Scoop.it
The ancient city of Angkor — the most famous monument of which is the breathtaking ruined temple of Angkor Wat — might have collapsed due to valiant but ultimately failed efforts to battle drought, scientists find.

 

Why do societies collapse?  Often they are overextended, consume too many resources for their hinterland network to supply or they aren't able to adapt to changes to the system.  Angkor Wat, the largest urban complex of the pre-industrial world, collapsed primarily due to drought conditions and a changing ecology.  Without sufficient water resources, the network collapsed.  What other environment 'collapses' can you think of?   


Via Seth Dixon
James Hobson's insight:

(Southeast Asia topic 10 [independent topic 2])

Naturally, that which fails to adapt to its environment will not survive. Such was the likely fate of Angkor. But was this early industrial area the cause of its own drought demise? I'll answer this question with another modern one: Are booming metropolises of today having an impact on their environment? Look at the American Southwest, where the booming populations of Las Vegas and Phoenix, and the water use that goes along with it, are slowly sucking dry Lake Mead. Though in both cases the climate is becoming drier itself, adaptations could be the remedy. Just as the inhabitants of Easter Island caused their own demise as well, it truly pays to learn from the past and take proactive precautions to prevent such worse-case scenarios. Luckily today there is knowledge to do such that, and now the issue goes to getting that message acknowledged and acted upon.

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Paige McClatchy's curator insight, December 14, 2013 5:38 PM

This new study shows that even back in time people struggled with environmental challenges. We normally think of people in the past as being much more adaptive to their environments and that only in the modern age nature and humans have come into conflict. The surrender of Angkor Wat to drought shows that even though we have amazing technology today, water is still a staple of life. 

Cam E's curator insight, April 8, 2014 12:29 PM

It's easy to forget that for most of history, even the greatest of empires were subject to the whims of the climate. The ability to survive in places where humans really shouldn't thrive is only a recent development thanks to technology, but a drought is something the mightiest army can't fight, and all the wealth in the world will not stop, without the right technology.

Jacob Crowell's curator insight, December 15, 2014 2:37 PM

This reminds me of the theories as to why Easter Island fell. Although what many people know of Easter Island is the giant heads, there was once a flourishing civilization in the area but many scholars theorize that they deforested the island to a point that they ran out of resources and had to flee to survive.

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Unusual ways to avoid Jakarta's traffic

Unusual ways to avoid Jakarta's traffic | James Hobson's Geography 200 | Scoop.it
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
James Hobson's insight:

(Southeast Asia topic 8)

(And I complain about Killingly Street at rush hour... ;-} )

Is the traffic problem more of a cause or an effect? This is the main question I ask myself after viewing this video. It's an effect of inadequate infrastructure, but it's also a cause of pollution, wasted time, and wasted money. Though effects can sometimes not be avoided, the causes can sometimes be remedied. Why not build better highway and mass-transit systems? Well, it seems to be a mix of lack of planning (just as cities like Boston and the East Side of Providence originally weren't meant to handle automobiles) and lack of desire to change it / becoming used to this mess and accepted it as part of everyday life.

 The most convenient action to take, such as turning a blind eye to the transportation problem, isn't always the best action to take. Though it undoubtedly would be burdensome at the onset and take some getting used to, a redefined transportation system would ultimately prove to be the better choice in the long run. This can be summed up in one word: investment.

Just as tissue dies when cut off from blood circulation, Jakarta may end up 'choking' its transportation infrastructure to its own demise.

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Kendra King's curator insight, April 13, 2015 9:01 PM

Humans instinctively look to profit when the situation arises, this is one of those situations. The government implemented regulations that barely seem to manage the traffic jams, i.e. having 3 people per car. Since people do have to work and may not always be able to meet the requirements, others have started making a living as a “jockey,” an individual who offers to ride in a car so the 3 people limit is met. Doing this is considered illegal. Yet, there aren’t good enough jobs for people to work (otherwise they won’t be a jockey) and those who do work can’t seem to always follow the rule without it harming there work life.  Plus, more police now turn their attention towards these people thereby deterring them away from their other duties. I realize that the state probably never intended these consequences to happen, but now that it is I really wonder just how useful this law really is. One thing is certain though, without better planning or economic innovation by the government, the jams will continue to happen.

 

I find it odd that the people keep staying despite the major traffic problem. As one interviewee mentioned. I guess as long as you can find ways to stay productive and still receive enough compensation, the time spend in traffic isn't enough of a hassle for them. As someone who has enough economic opportunity with far less wait time in traffic though, I would find this situation unbearable. Clearly, this isn't that case though. So, I am not sure of the immediate solution. As we learned in class, the government tried transmigration. This just lead to more problems. It was then suggested that the type of opportunity. If that is the case though, what should the government do now? Waiting for a more natural economic opportunity to get the people out of Jakarta won't happen quick enough to curb the increasing population growth. Therefore the strain on the infrastructure will continue because the population's carrying capacity is exceeded. Whatever the answers, I think this would be a great case study for urban planning and the impact raising car dependency has on a society as this driving nightmare shows just how important planning is with more cars. 

Matt Chapman's curator insight, April 26, 12:42 PM
Traffic is a show of heavy urbanization.  This shows just how urbanized Jakarta is and how many people are working and moving around the city.
Taylor Doonan's curator insight, May 3, 12:42 PM
Jakarta makes rush hour in America look like a walk in the park, it is almost constantly busy and there are strict rules about who can be on the roads, such as there must be a certain number of passengers in a car and taxis are monitored. These rules cause residents to go to extreme measures, people often stand and get paid to be passengers in peoples cars so they meet the passenger requirement and that is how some of the residents of Jakarta afford to live. There are also many unregistered taxis that take the risk because registering them is difficult to do.