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GEOGRAPHY EDUCATION

Supporting geography educators everywhere with current digital resources.

Author

sethdixon

I am a geography professor at Rhode Island College.

With only one left, iconic yellow road sign showing running immigrants now borders on the extinct

Only one of the 10 iconic Caltrans caution signs emblazoned with the image of an immigrant father, mother and daughter running for their lives remains. They once dotted Interstate 5.

Source: www.latimes.com

As a child of the border (I grew up 8 miles from the U.S.-Mexican border with family on both sides of the line), the cultural, political and economic impacts of this line were very tangible in my life, but to mention family.  This sign was a symbol of mass migration and cultural change in Southern California and I would pass one on the way to my grandmother’s house.  As a fixture of the cultural landscape, it also became a visual talking point that served as a lightning rod in the political landscape.  During the 80’s and 90’s, immigrants from Mexico were coming in to the United States is large numbers, but since the 2000, that dominant stream has dried up, rendering this sign no longer necessary near freeways crossings.  Mexican migration to and from the United States is a contentious topic where political ideology can be louder than the actual statistics.  Since 2009, more Mexicans have been leaving the United States than entering it (PEW Research Center).  Economic and demographic shifts in both countries have led to this reversal.    

 

Tags: Mexico, migration, political, landscape, California, borders.   

Same again: Turkey’s emergency rule

​The state of emergency in place since last summer’s coup attempt against President Recep Tayyip Erdogan resumes today for another three months, following a decision by the country’s security council. Emergency rule has now been extended four times. Over its course, more than 50,000 people have been arrested, and twice as many sacked from government jobs, including over 7,000 dismissals over the past week. On the anniversary of the coup Mr Erdogan said emergency rule would lapse only when “we no longer need to fight terrorism”, and vowed to reinstate the death penalty and “rip off” the coup plotters’ heads. Using the crisis as cover, the government has already locked up leading Kurdish politicians; the secular opposition may be next. Mr Erdogan accuses its leader, who recently led the biggest protest in years, of siding with Turkey’s enemies. The failed coup increasingly resembles a successful one—for the other side.

 

Tags: politicalMiddleEast, Turkey.

Source: espresso.economist.com

In the Same Ballpark

“In 1992, the Baltimore Orioles opened their baseball season at a brand new stadium called Oriole Park at Camden Yards, right along the downtown harbor. The stadium was small and intimate, built with brick and iron trusses—a throwback to the classic ballparks from the early 20th century. It was popular right from the start.

These new Populous ballparks are small and old fashioned-looking but they also feature modern amenities—comfortable seats and fancy foods. And while designed to be different, they tend to follow a similar aesthetic format, featuring a lot red brick and green-painted iron. These new parks also feature asymmetrical playing fields, which are in many cases dictated by the surrounding cityscape.”

Source: 99percentinvisible.org

This podcast is filled with important urban geographic issues: downtown revitalization, landscape aesthetics, sense of place, planning, public/private revitalization, etc.  And to boot, this podcast uses America’s pasttime to discuss these topics. I typically really enjoy the thoughtful exploration of the untold stories that make up our world found in the 99 Percent Invisible podcast.

How Does it Grow? Avocados

How Does it Grow? Avocados from How Does it Grow? on Vimeo.

Avocados have become a super trendy food, but few of us know how they’re even grown or harvested. We visit a California farm to uncover the amazing story of the avocado — and share the secrets to choosing, ripening and cutting the fruit.

Source: vimeo.com

My childhood house in the Los Angeles area had an avocado tree in the backyard; I now realize that the climatic demands of avocado production means this is a rarity in the United States, but as a kid I thought guacamole was as ubiquitous as peanut butter.  This 5-minute video is a good introduction to the avocado, it’s production, environmental requirements, nutritional profile and diffusion.  The geography of food goes far beyond the kitchen and there are more episodes in the “How Does it Grow?” series to show that. WARNING: the video does mention the Nahuatl origin of the word (‘testicle-fruit’) in the video so as you manage your own classroom…just so you know. 

Tags: foodeconomic, agribusiness, video, agriculture.

As U.S. Life Expectancies Climb, People In A Few Places Are Dying Younger

“The wealthiest country, which spends the most money on care for the sick, has far from the best health outcomes. Babies born in eastern Kentucky, along the Mississippi Delta and on Native American reservations in the Dakotas have the lowest life expectancies in the country. If current health trends continue, they aren’t expected to live much beyond an average of 70 years. Meanwhile, a baby born along the wealthy coast of California can be expected to live as long as 85 years, the authors found.

Source: fivethirtyeight.com

Questions to Ponder: What geographic and socioeconomic factors shape mortality rates?  What is better about society today then before?  Has anything worsened?  How come?

 

Tagsmortality, medical, developmentregions, USA, population, statistics.

Five gentrification myths debunked

‘Gentrification’ is a messy bogeyman of a term deserving more critical analysis. If ‘gentrification’ is ‘exclusive economic development’, what we want is INCLUSIVE economic development.

Source: www.youtube.com

This post will need many disclaimers, but I think that it is a valuable addition to our gentrification materials since the key take-home point is that gentrification doesn’t happen the same way in all places (geographic context matters!). Some of the generalizations about gentrification around the country might not apply to some specific examples.  Are these generalizations true in some (and possibly most) contexts?  Sure, but unfortunately once people hear the word gentrification, they assume a base set of assumptions about the situation which may or may not be true.  The 5 myths outlined in this video (more detail in this Washington Post article) are:

  1. Gentrification leads to lower crime.
  2. Gentrification causes widespread displacement.
  3. Longtime residents hate gentrification.
  4. Gentrifiers are white.
  5. Gentrification happens naturally.

Tags: neighborhood, gentrificationurban, place, culture, economic   

Enclaves & Exclaves

A tour of the world’s engulfed and orphaned places.

Source: storymaps.esri.com

This storymap is a full length article about all the intricacies about enclaves and exclaves, but the interactive format, visuals and maps really make this much more than another article on the topic.    

 

Tags: borders, political, mappingESRIStoryMap.

Pro Wrestling and Economic Restructuring

“For decades, professional wrestling in North America operated under a system of informally defined ‘territories.’ Each territory represented an individual promotion with its own stable of talent that drew crowds to local arenas and broadcast the product on regional television stations. In 1982, Vince McMahon purchased his father’s company, the World Wrestling Federation. For almost two decades, he endured an epic conquest of the pro wrestling world that led to where he is today: standing tall as the undisputed king of the industry.”

Source: www.youtube.com

This may seem like a strange video for geography educators and students.  In one sense, the history of a wrestling entertainment business is trivial, but this provides a great example of how using economies of scale can overcome regional advantages as new technologies enter the market.  Maybe is not a ‘real’ sport, but the example of wrestling might pique a few students’ interest as the economic principles are made manifest. 

 

Questions to Ponder: How do emerging technologies lead to economic disruption?  Why was regional systems so prevalent in the 1950s and1960s?  If Vince McMahon didn’t pursue this plan, would there still be smaller, regional wrestling organizations?  Why or why not? 

 

Tags: regions, economic, diffusiontechnologysport, industry

How the 1967 war changed the shape of Israel

THE SIX-DAY WAR increased Israel’s territory threefold. The “borders of Auschwitz” were gone; the vulnerable nine-mile narrow waist acquired a thick cuirass with the mountains of the West Bank. Israel soon annexed East Jerusalem with some surrounding land; it did the same with the Golan Heights in 1981.

 

Tags: Israel, Palestine, borders, political, Middle East.

Source: www.economist.com

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