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Environmental Influences of Skating

"Dogtown and Z-Boys: A documentary about the pioneering 1970s Zephyr skating team."

 

Popular culture is shaped by taste-makers, counter-cultural movements, and the blending of cultural practices in new ways creating a distinct aesthetic. Often, the physical geography of a region plays a crucial role in shaping the cultural practices particular to their environment. All of that can be seen quite vividly in the colorful skating revolution of the 1970s that took shape in the Southern California. Kids who grew up idolizing surfers branched out their recreational habits into the modern form of skating that we see today at the X Games. Made legendary through a series of Skateboarder magazine articles (accessible online here: http://www.angelfire.com/ca2/dtown/articles.html ), these kids shaped the cultural ethos of skateboarding for over a generation. With the coastal influence of surfing, the socioeconomics of a seaside slum, it’s abandoned piers, the ubiquity of cement and asphalt in the urban landscape, the run-down neighborhood of “Dogtown” was home to cultural movement. The fierce droughts of the 1970 meant abandoned swimming pools; that drought led surfers to the technological infrastructure for modern skating ramps and half pipes as they skated in emptied swimming pools. As stated in those Skaterboarder articles, "two hundred years of American technology has unwittingly created a massive cement playground of unlimited potential. But it was the minds of 11 year olds that could see that potential." The documentary “Dogtown and Z-Boys” and the fictionalized “Lords of Dogtown,” both produced by skater turned filmmaker Stacy Peralta, chronicle the age (“Lords of Dogtown” is probably not appropriate for the classroom).

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URBAN EARTH

URBAN EARTH is a project to (re)present our habitat by walking across some of the largest urban areas on Earth. This video was shot by SUSO* and introduces t...

 

This is the introductory video to the Urban Earth youtube channel.  The goal of this "guerrilla geography" is to see and understand the city beyond the tourism guidebook.   Daniel Raven-Ellison, the creator of the project is one of National Geographic's "Emerging Explorers" and in this video, demonstrates the methods behind his urban explorations.  You can see his influence in helping found http://www.missionexplore.net/ as a portal for alternative geographies to engage students.  For more about his projects, see http://ravenellison.com/ for more details. 


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Urban Visions in Music Videos

Music video by Counting Crows performing Big Yellow Taxi. (C) 2002 Interscope Geffen (A&M) Records A Division of UMG Recordings Inc.

 

This music video is a vivid portrayal of the cultural power of place and the deep emotional connection many people have to their neighborhoods.  What types of urban geographies are being critiqued by the original lyrics (orginally performed and written my Joni Mitchell) of this song?  What do the images portrayed in the video say to further this critique?  What type of urbanism are these performers advocating?  Given the context of this video, what priorities do you think city planners should consider when building and reshaping cities? 


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Roland Trudeau Jr.'s comment, July 30, 2012 11:52 AM
They are very much concerned with losing their history. Everything they knew when they were growing up is going to be transformed into a slab of concrete. I can certainly empathise with them, it must be extremely sad to see your childhood disapear. I forget the name of the comedian, but his routine involved a rant on parking lots being the most useless construct we could have ever come up with. An area you travel to just to go somewhere else.
Don Brown Jr's comment, July 30, 2012 11:17 PM
I never though about a parking space like that before. However when it comes to gentrification, how can you find a balance between the values of a local community and the needs of the larger society?
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This is Our Planet

The best thing about the space program is all the satellite imagery we receive to better understand our home planet. 


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Roland Trudeau Jr.'s comment, July 9, 2012 11:06 AM
The view seemed almost surreal. Beautiful.
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Why We Travel...

Why We Travel... | WhatsUp?! | Scoop.it

So go 'read' some more (Extra credit for identifying the location)!


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Debra Sharkey's comment, July 29, 2012 12:55 PM
The location is Point Reyes National Scenic Seashore (more specifically, the Drakes Bay area and Point Reyes headland).
Seth Dixon's comment, July 30, 2012 9:53 AM
Bravo Dirk! What are perfect place to use as the the backdrop for such a great quote.
Seth Dixon's curator insight, April 3, 2015 11:09 AM

For the wanderlust in all of us. 


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World's Biggest Power Blackout in Human History Hits India

The second day of India's power grid failures were worse than the first. Nearly 1900 miles of India went dark, an area that is home to nearly half of India's...

 

How is this issue geographic?  What themes are present in this issue and how are they interrelated? 

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