Geography Education
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Geography Education
Supporting geography educators everywhere with current digital resources.
Curated by Seth Dixon
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Paris mayor unveils plan ​to restrict traffic and pedestrianize city center

Paris mayor unveils plan ​to restrict traffic and pedestrianize city center | Geography Education |
Anne Hidalgo says she wants to cut the number of cars in French capital by half as part of campaign to tackle pollution
Seth Dixon's insight:

The world's biggest cities are struggling to maintain access to congested downtown areas and still ensure that the downtown maintains it's historic sense of place that generate so much tourism and concentration of cultural amenities.  Pollution is driving cities to change as the private automobile as the default mode of transportation becomes less feasible and unsustainable as cities expand to be far larger than they ever have been before.  


Tags: urban, environmentpollution, urban ecology, France, place, tourism, Paris, megacities, transportation.

Richard Aitchison's curator insight, 6 February 2018, 15:02
Traffic, nobody likes to hear that word, but we are always unable to avoid it. In any major city traffic is a way of life, but how can we control it. The Mayor or Paris Anne Hidalgo has been looking for a way to limit the amount of the cars in the city or find a way to diverge traffic to some areas. Some of the reasons behind it are to address pollution issues in a city that has seen incredible increase in population and a rise in cars, which obviously gives way pollution. However, it will take time to improve public transportation and they can divert traffic as much as possible, however people still need to be able to get to work and from place to place. Also for foreigners  on vacation in Paris, obviously a popular place to go, how do you deal with population problems and vacationers?  Tourism is very important for Paris and there is a few concerns with cars, first off if the city becomes overtaken by smog that is never a good thing. Second, if you divert traffic to areas it may confuse travelers, and thirdly if you make major changes to roads or buildings do you change the beautiful landscape of Paris? These issues will be challenges for many Mayors or government officials all over the world, sadly there is not an easy answer. 
Kelsey McIntosh's curator insight, 31 March 2018, 19:05
In an effort to clear some of the traffic in Paris, the mayor has created plans that will prevent some of the traffic in the country’s capital city. She is making these plans because of the pollution that covers the city. By getting rid of half of the traffic, having an electric tram, and introducing more bike lanes, mayor Anne Hidalgo is planning to make the city “green”.
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The threat to France’s Jews

The threat to France’s Jews | Geography Education |
Official figures indicate that over the last two decades the number of antisemitic acts has tripled. Between January and July 2014 official figures show that there were 527 violent antisemitic acts in France as opposed to 276 for the same period in 2013. Meanwhile half of all racist attacks in France take Jews as their target, even though they number less than 1% of the population.
Seth Dixon's insight:

This great, but sobering article was written in January 2015, and unfortunately, the situation has not improved.  There is a lot of demographic changes and migration happening in the Western World right now, and this is but one component to larger forces reshaping the Europe.  Today many in the French Jewish community are now asking the uncomfortable question: is it time to leave France for good?  Antisemitism is not a thing of the past relegated to the World War II chapter of our history textbooks; many French Jewish families were originally from North Africa before they fled in the 1950s and 60s.  Now, France is Israel's largest source of migrants and Europe as a whole has a rapidly declining Jewish population (UPDATE: here is a video showing the French Prime Minister vowing to stop the rise of anti-Semitism in in France).    


Tags: Judaism, religion, Europe, migration, Israel,  France, racism, conflict.

Chris Costa's curator insight, 5 October 2015, 19:44

It's saddening to see the persistence of such antiquated hatred in the 21st century; for a self-proclaimed age of enlightenment, we continue to act very ignorantly. France has long since prided itself on the ideas of equality and freedom that it put forward to the world during their tumultuous revolution, but that is not being reflected in both its treatment of Muslims and, particularly, its Jewish minority. The fact that 1% of the nation's population accounts for over half of its racist attacks is a jaw-dropping statistic, and indictment of a lack of tolerance as a whole in French society. I often read of the frustration of French Muslims- many of whom are of Algerian descent- who feel ostracized in the nation they call home. A Franco-muslim soccer player, Karim Benzema, summed up this sentiment when he said, "When I am playing well, I am French. When I'm playing poorly, I'm "just" a Muslim." I must imagine that the Jewish population feels much the same way; to feel such open discrimination must make one feel like an outsider in your own home. I hope that the current French Prime Minister, who has said that they plan to take a much firmer stand against this anti-semitism, stays true to their word and takes the necessary measures to insure the safety of ALL French citizens.

Mark Hathaway's curator insight, 9 October 2015, 11:18

The mass migration of Jews from Europe is an underreported story in the United States. Many people wrongly assume that Anti-Semitism  ended when the allies emerged victorious over Hitler and his Third Reich. However, the recent rash of religiously motivated attacks against Jews is demonstrating that the historical strand of Anti-Semitism still exists in Europe.  The number of attacks on Jews in France over the past few years is staggering and shocking. The people of France should feel ashamed that such acts are occurring in a nation that prides itself on the rights of man. The problem is much broader than just the tragic events in France. Anti-Semitism is on the rise in many European nations. I would shutter to think that the Western World is entering another period of violence and hatred directed and aimed at the Jewish community. Europe must act fast, or we may end up with an entire continent without a Jewish population.

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France to redraw nation's map to save money

France to redraw nation's map to save money | Geography Education |

"France's administrative regions — Normandy, Alsace, Burgundy, etc. — have long been part of the identity of citizens of this diverse country. Now, merging some of them is seen as a logical way to save money on bureaucracy, and the French support it — as long as it's someone else's turf."

Seth Dixon's insight:

This is an interesting concept that shows the divergence between national and regional identities.  68% of French citizens recognize that consolidating regional administration will be economically more efficient at the national level; however 77% don't want to see the elimination of their own local region.   The formation of place-based identities operate an multiple scales.  How would you feel if your state was absorbed by a neighboring state?  How come? 

Tags: communityplacegovernance, France.

Jordan Schemmel's curator insight, 21 May 2014, 18:04

How countries identify smaller administrative regions is crucial to understanding both how they are governed, and how these regions impact cultural differences.

Joy Kinley's curator insight, 16 June 2014, 20:28

It is amazing that people are all for redrawing and redistricting until it impacts them.  This is a touchy subject in the United States with some small towns and communities merging even though they only have decades of identity not centuries.  If these merges happen in France I see that there will be many strikes and protests and when it is over everyone still would maintain what they would call their "real identity" not what France gave them.  

Suggested by Mike Busarello's Digital Storybooks!

France bans popular English expressions

France bans popular English expressions | Geography Education |
France declares war on the English language. Erin Burnett reports....
Seth Dixon's insight:

France is famous for trying to slow the linguistic diffusion of globalization's most powerful online language (which also happens to belong to their age-old cultural and political rival).  France has a commission dedicated to removing new words that have English origins since 1996 with the goal of introducing words with have linguistic roots in French. Recently then have done away with the Twitter term #hashtag to #mot-dièses.  This video criticizes this cultural practice and it is also derided in this NPR article.   However this does not mean that France is immune to cultural pressure to change linguistic traditions.  There was been a movement to alter the term Mademoiselle on official documents with a new title that allows women the freedom to choose the form of address that they prefer (and not to force them to reveal their marital status--think Ms. vs Miss).

Questions to Ponder: Why (and how) do languages change over time?  Is it possible to keep a language 'pure?'

Tags: language, culture, globalization, unit 3 culture, France, gender.

Courtney Barrowman's curator insight, 6 November 2014, 01:21

unit 3

Joshua Mason's curator insight, 16 March 2015, 18:52

I can't say I was a fan of Ms. Burnett's reporting style. First of all, implying that America is the only country that speaks English was a little blind. Second, the little chuckles and smirks she gives is a bit condescending. She came off rather harsh and confronting of the French. And I'm sure France isn't "declaring war on English" as they are probably doing this to other languages. Finally, her last remark referencing the song "Voulez vous coucher avec moi" was a tad inappropriate in my opinion. That being said, it's understandable for a country to try and protect its language. It's part of its culture and its heritage.


Languages change overtime through interaction with other people. Like Ms. Burnett pointed out, there are some French words that have become common use in the everyday American conversation like a la carte and bon voyage. It is impossible to keep a language "pure" or rid of other language influences in today's society. With all the interaction happening via the web and other media outlets, people are bound to pick up words from other languages to use in their lives. 

Mark Hathaway's curator insight, 9 October 2015, 15:45

Frances attempts at keeping the French language pure are futile. It is impossible to stop the spread of information in a society. In the age of the internet, information is going to spread. If the internet can take down middle eastern dictators, it is going to expose French children to English words. This entire policy is a bad public relations move for the nation of France.  It makes the nation and its government seem as if they are intolerant of other cultures and views. France prides itself on being an open democratic society. An open society can not ban a language. France should reverse this policy immediately.

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Born in the USA, Made in France

Born in the USA, Made in France | Geography Education |
Born in the USA, Made in France: How McDonald's Succeeds in the Land of Michelin Stars by Knowledge@Wharton, the online business journal of the Wharton School.


While many portray McDonald's as the embodiment of all that is wrong with globalization, the diffusion of McDonald's is not a simple replication of the American fast food chain and exporting it elsewhere...a lot of local adaptations on a global model is part of McDonald's successful economic model.   Although I'm not a fan of the word "glocalization" to describe how local flavor adds spice to globalized phenomenon, it most certainly fits here.   

Amy in ATL's curator insight, 17 February 2015, 01:04

This is a quick and easy way to understand the difference between glocalization and globalization using the basic needs...FOOD!

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Paris from above by Yann Arthus Bertrand

Paris from above by Yann Arthus Bertrand | Geography Education |

Beautiful cultural landscapes primed for analysis and admiration.

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A Medieval Abbey Trapped by Tides and Time

"Mont Saint-Michel emerges from the tides in Normandy, France, like an ancient village from a fairytale. The coastal town built on a massive granite rock cuts a dramatic silhouette against the sky, rising from disappearing marshes to a Gothic Abbey at its height. With a permanent population of around 50, this popular tourist destination has a history dating back to at least the Roman era. Fancy a tour before the tides roll in?"

Seth Dixon's insight:

Coastal physical geography produces some beautiful landforms such as tombolos.  A tombolo is created when sand deposits attach an island to a larger piece of land--think of it as special type of isthmus.  Mont St. Michel is the world’s most famous example because of the iconic walled city with crowned with a striking medieval abbey.  This is one of those fascinating places for both the human and physical geographer.   


Tags: water, physical, coastal, geomorphology, landformsFrance, historical, tourism.

Lauren Wilson's comment, 8 November 2016, 18:53
This is a great addition to our lessons regarding erosion of cliffsides, in that it represents structures in place of an ever-evolving coastal environment. That such a feature can remain relatively unchanged by time and tides is a fascinating foothold in this study.
ROCAFORT's curator insight, 18 November 2016, 08:06
A Medieval Abbey Trapped by Tides and Time
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Tide Makes Tombolo an Island

Tide Makes Tombolo an Island | Geography Education |
The historic abbey of Mont Saint-Michel became an island on March 21 after a rare “supertide” flooded a causeway.
Seth Dixon's insight:

Coastal physical geography produces some beautiful landforms such as tombolos.  A tombolo is created when sand deposits attach an island to a larger piece of land--think of it as special type of isthmus.  Mont St. Michel (picture above) is the world’s most famous example because of the iconic walled city with crowned with a striking medieval abbey.  As the tides fluctuated, the city and abbey were alternately connected or disconnected from the mainland.  However, a ‘super-tide’ that occurs once every 18.6 years wiped out the artificial causeway stranding motorists on France's most visited tourist destination (I wouldn't mind be stranded there right about now).  

Tags: water, physical, coastal, geomorphology, landformsFrance, tourism.

West Sound Tech Assn's curator insight, 26 March 2015, 00:32

Not techy but very cool!

Jacob McCullough's curator insight, 26 May 2015, 22:24

this was interesting mother nature shows us once again that she is in control by showing us how easily our seemingly strong structures can be swept away    

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An Insider's View Of 19th-Century Paris

An Insider's View Of 19th-Century Paris | Geography Education |

"Charles Marville photographed Paris' transition from medieval hodgepodge to modern metropolis.  Marville made more than 425 photographs of the narrow streets and crumbling buildings of premodern Paris, including this view from the top of Rue Champlain in 1877-1878."

Seth Dixon's insight:

This NPR podcast adds some great insight into Charles Marville's 19th century photography currently on display at the National Gallery of Art in Washington D.C.  The urban transformations designed by Haussmann made Paris the global capital of modernity and the many cities around the world copied the principles of Haussmannization.  A photographic glimpse into Paris before and during these changes that brought about social upheaval is a marvelous tool for an historical geographic analysis of urbanization.  


Tags: urban, historical, Paris, placeFrancepodcastimages.

Kevin Barker's comment, 6 October 2013, 16:38
Little blurb at the top of the link for the gallery :) "Notice: During the federal government shutdown, the offices and all premises of the National Gallery of Art and its Sculpture Garden are closed to the public, and all public programs are canceled. Employees will not have access to their e-mail or voicemail accounts during the shutdown."
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Pere Lachaise: Cemetery's virtual tour

Pere Lachaise: Cemetery's virtual tour | Geography Education |

Looking for Jim Morrison's grave?  There are countless famous people buried in Paris' most famous cemetery.  This virtual tour is as close as most of us will get to exploring it this school year.

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Interactive panoramic view of Paris

Interactive panoramic view of Paris | Geography Education |

From the Eiffel Tower, you can pan and zoom to see the whole city.  This could be a fantastic 'hook' for an urban geography class.  Paris has been the model for so many urban restructuring projects, that this would work nicely as grist for discuss centering on ideas of urbanism (and it's just stunningly gorgeous).  Enjoy playing with this as it is very easy to manipulate and control.   

elsa hunziker's comment, 30 January 2012, 19:19
Feels like you're there! Love this!