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GEOGRAPHY EDUCATION

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Scoop.it

Will the Supreme Court End Gerrymandering?

"Justices will be reviewing the case of North Carolina, where Republicans drew a map to maximize their power in the House. Plaintiffs challenging the map say it’s unconstitutional. A companion case centers on Maryland’s 6th Congressional District, which Democrats admit they redrew in 2011 to make it harder for the Republican incumbent there to win re-election. The two cases hold the potential to set the course of American politics for generations."

Source: www.nytimes.com

Questions to Ponder: Do you trust the politicians that are in charge of your state to create better districts than a computer-generated set of districts that are optimized for compactness?  What are some of the potential limitations of compact districts?  Would an independent committee/bipartisan group do a better job?

GeoEd Tags: gerrymandering, political, mapping, cartography, unit 4 political.

Tags: gerrymandering, politicalmapping, cartography, unit 4 political.

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The demographic time bomb that could hit America

"Japan’s demographic crisis provides some lessons for where America might be headed."

Source: www.washingtonpost.com

This op-ed looks at the demographic trends of Japan’s declining population and tries to see what this might mean for the United States. 

Questions to Ponder: What are the cultural and economic forces that lead to a declining population? What are some of the difficulties that confront countries with declining populations? 

 

GeoEd Tags: declining population, population, USA, Japan.

Scoop.it Tags: declining populations, population, USA, Japan.

China’s hidden camps

What’s happened to the vanished Uighurs of Xinjiang?

Source: www.bbc.co.uk

A few years ago, I wrote an article for National Geographic’s education blog about Eastern Turkestan, and the policies of cultural assimilation that the China is using to more fully make this place become Xinjiang.  This BBC interactive (as well as this NY Times article) is the update to understand how extensive the human rights violations are as re-education camps/detention centers have been used in the last few years to hide away political dissidents and those practicing tradition Uyghur (Uighur) customs.  This video from the Economist highlights how the Uyghurs and other ethnic minorities have not been able to participate in China’s recent economic growth as fully because of governmental policies. According to U.S. State Department, the number of people forced into these camps is at least 800,000, but potentially over 2 million.        

GeoEd Tags: Central Asia, culture, China, East Asia.

Scoop.it TagsCentral Asia, culture, China, East Asia.

   

‘Seattle-ization’? American cities fear what’s happened here

"In so many ways, Seattle is an amazing success story, thriving and economically vibrant, drawing thousands of people from around the country and the world. But we’ve also paid a hefty price for our success. The sudden injection of tech wealth has made Seattle a more exclusive place. It’s exacerbated inequalities, pushing people out of the city or even into homelessness. Rapid growth has taxed our infrastructure, and the debate over where to house all these new people has divided the city."

Source: www.seattletimes.com

Here are three articles from West Coast cities  (Seattle, San Francisco, and San Diego) all bemoaning the troubles/difficulties associated with the increasingly expensive housing markets that are negatively impacting the quality of life and the communities.  The three cities in question are all perceived as highly desirable places to live and many creative industries and businesses are flourishing in these areas. 

Rapid economic success will change a city–and reconfigure the spatial networks and the sense of place in many neighborhoods. As demand for new housing in exclusive neighborhoods grows, gentrification is but one of the processes that will impact the city. These are some of the most economically successful cities on the West Coast; but economic success for a region will also present new difficulties and challenges as many domestic and international migrants are attracted to these comes the areas. Virtually all of the cities that migrants are being pulled to for economic opportunities and cultural amenities are going to be experiencing some similar struggles.  

 

GeoEd Tags: neighborhood, gentrification, urban, place, economic, architecture.

Scoop.it Tags: neighborhood, gentrificationurban, place, economichousing, architecture.

 

The changing face of Japan: labour shortage opens doors to immigrant workers

Japan – once one of the world’s most homogenous societies – is starting to unwind its traditional opposition to large-scale immigration

Source: www.theguardian.com

Japan is one of the closest examples of a nation-state.  And like Iceland, that is in part because the ocean historically has acted as a massive barrier to cultural diffusion and migration. Today though, modern transportation makes that barrier negligible.  Cultural attitudes have continued to not favor international immigration but their declining population has forced a change towards the end of 2018 (see any of theses five articles from Washington Post, Japanese Times, Nippon.com, the Guardian, and the Diplomat).

Japan has traditionally been one on the countries most opposed to allowing large number of migrants into their country.  The administration is still presenting themselves as tough on immigration; the 2018 policy change will allow semi-skilled workers to enter Japan for 5 years, but they cannot bring their family members with them, and they still must pass a Japanese-language exam.  These shifts are not an abandonment of policies that seek to preserve cultural homogeneity, but they are also an acknowledgement of the demographic realities and struggles of a declining population.     

Until 2018, Japanese policy only highly-skilled migrants were allowed in to Japan, with advantages given to those with Japanese ancestry.  However, these stringent migration policies coupled with Japan’s declining birth rates meant that Japan’s population was declining substantially enough to negatively impact their economy.  There were foreign workers filling in the gaps, but only 20% of those workers had functioning work visas under the old prohibitive system. This new policy is primarily aimed at replacing workers in sectors that are facing severe labor shortages, that are being classified as “semi-skilled workers.”  The law is trying to walk a fine line, trying to bring in more workers to Japan while simultaneously making it very difficult still trying to make it very tough for these workers to settle permanently in Japan. This will have a significant impact on Japanese society, and in the near future, it’s cultural institutions.   

 

GeoEd Tags: Japan, East Asia, declining population, migration.

‘Ethnoburbs’: The New Face of Immigrant Cities

"Old settlement patterns have reversed, but old problems of adaptation remain. Immigrants still like to settle where immigrants have already settled (chain migration). Once word of the new ethnoburbs got around, they grew fast. Letters, phone calls, and then emails back to the old country, enticed others. In Richmond, one group held an extended debate with city hall over there being ‘too much’ Chinese writing on business signs. Residents of a condo building complained when the strata council held its meetings only in Mandarin. And just as in other parts of gateway cities, as wealthy Chinese buy properties in ethnoburbs, they have been blamed for driving prices out of local reach."

Source: thetyee.ca

Residents of ethnoburbs often have transnational lives that fit into their countries of origin as well as their new homes.  Ethnoburbs are common in North America as well as Australia and New Zealand. 

Questions to Ponder: What similarities and differences do ethnoburbs have from other ethnic communities?  What similarities and differences do ethnoburbs have with other urban processes such as gentrification?

 

GeoEd TAGS: culture, historical, North America, ethnicity, USA, neighborhood, gentrification, urban, place.

Scoop.it Tagsculture, historicalNorth America, ethnicityUSA, neighborhood, gentrificationurban, place.

Kazakhstan renames capital of Astana to Nur-Sultan

"Astana has been renamed as Nur-Sultan, as a tribute to former leader Nursultan Nazarbayev, who recently resigned. Astana replaced Almaty as the capital in 1997 and boomed from a minor provincial steppe town into a futuristic city. The name Astana literally means ‘capital’ in Kazakh and there has long been speculation it could, at some point, be renamed after the leader who shaped it."

Source: www.aljazeera.com

St. Petersburg was the classic example of a forward capital that was renamed after the visionary leader responsible for that change.  The world now has another example of this phenomenon. 

 

GeoEd Tags: political, Central Asia, Kazakhstan.

Scoop.it Tags: political, Central Asia, Kazakhstan.

Healthy Nation Rankings: These Are the Healthiest Countries

"Maybe it’s something in the gazpacho or paella, as Spain just surpassed Italy to become the world’s healthiest country."

Source: www.bloomberg.com

This data offers excellent insight into regional developmental patterns around the world–it is very much worth exploring.  However I’m sharing this also for it’s mapping project potential; the data behind this map is available in the article and students can make their own maps with it.  

 

GeoEd Tags: mortality, medical, development, food, mapping.

Scoop.it Tagsmortality, medicaldevelopmentfood, mapping.

 

Trump: Time to recognise Golan Heights as Israeli territory

“Israel has occupied the strategic plateau since capturing it from Syria in the 1967 Middle East war. There are more than 30 Jewish settlements on the heights, with an estimated 20,000 settlers.

There are some 20,000 Syrians in the area, most of them members of the Druze sect.”

Source: www.bbc.com

I had my class all ready to go, and then this happened. The Golan Heights is a small chunk of land, 3 times larger than Rhode Island, is far more important geopolitically than its size would indicate. This land is Israeli controlled, but internationally still considered a part of Syria, much like Russia controls Crimea, but it is still internationally recognized as a part of Ukraine.   Not surprisingly, Syria has condemned these statements from the President of the United States as have many members of the international community

GeoEd Tags: Syria, Israel, political, MiddleEast, geopolitics.

Scoop.it TagsSyria, Israel, political, Middle East, geopolitics.

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