The Census reports that a record-low share of Americans are moving. A recent paper suggests government policies might be curbing mobility.
In the past, when I’ve taught world regional geography, I’ve often discussed a major regional characteristic of North America is the high degree of internal mobility…that appears to be changing and it brings up more questions than answers.
Questions to Ponder: Are there regions in the United States where people are less likely to move? How does mobility impact economic, cultural, and political patterns in the United States? Why are less people moving now than before?
“The [importance of this study is that it] examines the dynamic between geography and area studies through their distinct understandings of space. As I argue, the dominance of the regional concept in geography, which took the multiple ways of bounding space as its central problematic, was reduced in area studies rendering of global space. This study assesses the transformation of geography during the two decades before and after the Second World War. This era was one of contrasts. On the one hand, geography was central to the war effort and in the creation of post-war programs, most notably area studies. On the other, this era also marked the relative marginalization of geography as a discipline in higher education.”
“The United Nations Development Programme started to advocate against the practice of female genital mutilation (FGM) back in 2003 when it was taboo even to speak about it. In 2008, the practice was banned. The government of Egypt has institutionalized the adoption of FGM abandonment; while prevalence rates remain high (namely among older women), the response of younger girls and mothers of new generations to FGM abandonment campaigns is much higher.”
This is always a difficult topic for me to talk about in my college classes since it is such a sensitive topic. However, because it touches on so many taboo topics, that is the very reason that that practice of FGM has continued in many African and Middle Eastern countries. See the map embedded in this article to know which countries have the highest prevalency rates. Some are concerned that through relocation diffusion, international migrants can bring this practice to areas such as Europe. Western efforts to eradicate FGM are usually ineffective and sometimes backfire (the author in the linked articles feels that the term mutilation, while accurate, is counterproductive).
“It is estimated that 97 per cent of all trade – the things we buy in shops – will have been transported in containers by ships at sea. The container vessel, stacked high with uniformly-sized metal boxes, has become a symbol of our globalized world. This is a world of imports and exports, a world where moving things across huge distances keeps the price of daily commodities low as items are manufactured in one place, then packaged in another, before arriving on the shores where they will eventually be sold. In recent geographical literature, attention has turned to the world at sea – a space traditionally overlooked. Geography means ‘Earth-writing’ and geographers have taken the origins of the term very seriously. They have written primarily about the Earth: the ground, the soil, the land. The sea is something ‘out there’ – seemingly disconnected from our everyday lives. However, an appreciation of the world as made from flows and connections has enabled geography to recognize that the sea is essential to our landed life.” http://wp.me/p2Ij6x-5DS
Fort Bourtange remains perfectly preserved, with historic structures strewn across the 11-acre pentagon.
Star forts, five-sided forts designed to give guards a panoramic view of any potential attackers, originated in Italy in the 15th century. Providing the optimal structure for protection from threats, star forts were used in Italian warfare for years and eventually diffused to the Groningen region of the Netherlands, where the Bourtange star fort was constructed in 1593.
This is just one of my favorite “start of the year” videos. I’ve compiled them for when you need to show the importance of geography, spatial thinking and geo-literacy. Collectively, they show why taking geography courses is so important, useful and interesting.
A costly plan to build floating islands shows how climate change is pushing the search for innovative solutions, but some critics ask who will ultimately benefit.
As coastal communities are considering what the tangible impacts of climate change might be, things that were once considered science fiction could be a part of how people adapt to the modifications we’ve collectively made to our global environment that we depend on to sustain life.
Smarty Pins is a Google Maps based geography and trivia game.
As stated in a review of Smarty Pins on Mashable, “Google unveiled a fun new game this week that tests players’ geography and trivia skills. Called ‘Smarty Pins’ the game starts players off with 1,000 miles (or 1,609 kilometers if they’re not based in the United States), and asks them to drop a pin on the city that corresponds with the correct answer to a given question.”
This game is wonderfully addictive…I haven’t enjoyed a mapping trivia platform this much since I discovered GeoGuessr. How far can you get before you run out of miles?
A Democratic state senator in South Carolina wants to end the practice of lawmakers choosing who votes for them. The senator introduced a bill Wednesday that would create an independent commission to draw the state’s political districts. Lawmakers in the GOP-controlled Legislature now control that process. South Carolina voters would approve or reject the boundaries of new political districts in a statewide referendum if the bill becomes law. The state redraws its political boundaries for South Carolina House, state Senate and U.S. House seats after each 10-year U.S. Census [the next Census is in 2020].”
While it may be laudable to try eliminate partisan gerrymandering, this bill is going nowhere. Still, it is an important issue to discuss.
Questions to Ponder: What is the difference between the terms redistricting and gerrymandering? Why won’t this bill pass?
What is the fairest way to divide districts?