Search

GEOGRAPHY EDUCATION

Supporting geography educators everywhere with current digital resources.

Indonesia ‘discards’ its capital Jakarta for a new one, but we can’t just dispose of cities

Jakarta1

Indonesia’s government is advancing plans to relocate the country’s capital more than 1,000 kilometres away, from Jakarta on densely populated Java island to Borneo. At a time when modern consumer societies are awash in disposable products, the relocation plan seems to exemplify global society’s tendency to throw things away once they can no longer be used. In other words, Jakarta is a ‘disposable city.’ The situation with Jakarta is only the latest case of a country shifting its capital from an unmanageable urban context.”   Source:  The Conversation

This article, while on the surface is about forward capitals, and Jakarta’s plan to change it’s capital city,  is truly about unsustainable urban land use practices.  Relocating a capital is a part a a fix to alleviate the pressures on the government, but it does not solve the ecological problems of the city itself.  This article is a plea to push for more sustainable urban initiatives.

GeoEd Tags: Indonesia, megacities, urban ecology, SouthEast Asia.

 

The Perfect French Baguette

Baguette2

While there are few symbols as quintessentially French as the baguette, its status – and quality – have been uncertain in recent years. Beginning in the 1950s, bakers began looking for shortcuts to make baguettes more quickly: relying on frozen, pre-made dough. ‘Those bakers at that time were happy,’ said Bouattour, as he led me past the fresh loaves at his Arlette & Colette in Paris’ 17th arrondissement. ‘But it killed our profession.’ In an attempt to save traditional French baguettes from widespread industrialisation, France passed Le Décret Pain (‘The Bread Decree’) in 1993, establishing that, by law, an authentic baguette de tradition must be made by hand, sold in the same place it’s baked and only made with water, wheat flour, yeast and salt.”  Source: BBC

Technological advancements and economic practices would have altered French baking practices, but to halt the change cultural purists took political steps to preserve the old cultural traditions.  The running of bakeries, and the winners of the prize for the best Parisian baguette have been bakers who come from immigrant families. Bakers with Middle Eastern, North African, and West African backgrounds are now key participants of shaping the most French of cultural goods.

Questions to Ponder: Why have bread-making practices become politicized in Paris?  How have immigrants changed French cultural practices?  How have French cultural practices changed immigrants?

GeoEd Tags: culture, food production, France, food, technology, migration, diffusion.

The Displaced: Venezuela

The country of Trinidad and Tobago is only 7 miles away from Venezuela, which is currently in the midst of a political, agricultural, and economic collapse.  As 10% of Venezuelans have left their country, an estimated 40,000 have fled to the small, neighboring island nation of Trinidad and Tobago.  The Trinidadian government and people have done much to aid Venezuelans, but can only do so much and are feeling stretched beyond their capacity to assist the  Venezuelans who can be called refugees or economic migrants, depending on how you see this situation.

I believe that this is the first in the BBC’s new series, The Displaced and look forward to seeing more.  Not surprisingly, when reading the Youtube comments on this, many from Trinidad feel that this reporting did not convey an accurate portrayal of the situation, that most of the Trinidadians that are welcoming to migrants and not xenophobic.  I believe, to some extent, that the BBC is judging the Trinidadian government much as it would a large, developed country with a far greater capacity to accommodate an quick demographic influx.

GeoEd Tags: South America, Venezuela, borders, migration, refugees, poverty.

United States of Alaska Map

If the title of this post is confusing, it’s because the map is completely unconventional (and I love it).  True, it is not the title of the map, but it could have been.  So often we see a map of the United States with the 48 contiguous states prominently displayed and Alaska and Hawaii scaled down, and stuck in a corner somewhere.  Well, this map ingeniously inverts that paradigm.

Alaska

If the inset (and the insult) are too subtle for you, here is the meme that brought this to my attention.

70008718_10157514681264805_6612298801564614656_n

Questions to Ponder:

  • Describe the quality of the main map compared to the quality of the inset maps.
  • Why would the cartographer take the time to make this map?
  • Why would someone purchase this map?

How to Read a Topo Map

topographic_map_grande

“A topographic map is designed to show the physical features and terrain of an area. They’re different from other maps because they show the three-dimensional landscape: its contours, elevations, topographic features, bodies of water, and vegetation.” SOURCE: Backpacker.com

This article gives a nice introduction to topographic maps, explains how to read them, and why they are useful.  While I love digital maps and the features that are offered through GIS, old school paper maps still play a vital role in helping us navigate this world of ours.  This additional article from CityLab, shows how you can lie with maps (and it’s not just with a sharpie).

Tags: mapping, physical, cartography, unit 1 geoprinciples.

Migrants in the United States

FT_19.01.31_ForeignBornShare_ImmigrantshareofUS_2

” Nearly 14% of the U.S. population was born in another country, numbering more than 44 million people in 2017, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey. This was the highest share of foreign-born people in the United States since 1910, when immigrants accounted for 14.7% of the American population. The record share was 14.8% in 1890, when 9.2 million immigrants lived in the United States.”  Source: Pew Research

The percentage of residents in the United States that are migrants (born in a country other than the United States) has been rising since the 1970.  This is much higher than the global average of 3.4%, but not surprising given how economic pull factors are reshaping global demographic patterns.  High-income countries attract more migrants; so the demographic impact on the global patterns of migrants is profound.  High-income countries have 14.1% of their residents coming from other countries, where middle and low-income countries average between 1 and 2% for their percentage of migrants in their populations.

Questions to Ponder: What are some of the demographic, economic, cultural, and political impacts of these statistics?  How might this impact certain regions?

Tags: migration, USA, population.

Hong Kong Protests

6ade85e2-cd68-11e9-9cec-db56b3c139e7_image_hires_141751

“What began as a targeted protest against a controversial extradition bill in June has transformed into what feels like a battle for the future of Hong Kong. Protesters are not just fighting their local government. They’re challenging one of the most powerful countries on earth: China.”  SOURCE: Vox–9 Questions about Hong Kong protests

They have been protesting for months in Hong Kong, at first about the extradition bill, but now about so much more as well.  The government has backed down, and withdrawn the hated extradition bill, and now it’s remains to be seen if the protestors will continue with their demands or will be appeased with this compromise.  China doesn’t back down very often with their citizens so this still a potentially volatile situation.

GeoEd Tags: China, East Asia, sovereignty, political, conflict.

Indonesia chooses a new capital

Capital Indonesia

“Indonesia will build a new capital city on the island of Borneo, home to some of the world’s biggest coal reserves and orangutan habitats, as President Joko Widodo seeks to ease pressure on congested and sinking Jakarta. The relocation of the capital, some 1,400km away from Jakarta, will help spread economic activity outside the nation’s most populous island of Java.”
Jakarta is a megacity that will continue to grow, but it is a sinking city–in fact, the fastest sinking city in the world. The pressures of being the primate city are enormous–the rush hour traffic is considered one of the worst in the world and the continued centralization of government in Jakarta limits economic group in other regions of the country (here is the Guardian’s primer for understanding the situation).  This plan to create a forward capital to encourage growth in Borneo and attempt to limit growth in Jakarta will be fascinating to monitor.  The move to a new capital won’t begin until 2024, and is estimated to cost over $30 billion. For more on forward capitals, here is a BBC article with 5 other examples of countries that have changed their capital cities.  For more on the idea that we just can’t dispose of cities like trash, see this article from The Conversation.

GeoEd Tags: Indonesia, megacities, urban ecology, governance, urban politics, SouthEast Asia.

Jakarta
Jakarta is overcrowded, polluted, and sinking.

 

Istanbul’s Proposed Canal: Big Business and Sweeping Consequences

Turkey

“The ambitious Canal Istanbul project could displace thousands of people, imperil the city’s tenuous water supply, and impact ocean life, critics say.”

Source: news.nationalgeographic.com

Istanbul’s location on the Bosporus has been vital to the Byzantine and Ottoman Empire as well as the modern state of Turkey.  This is one of those crucial chokepoints of global commerce like the Straits of Malacca, and the demands on both of these natural waterways will soon exceed their capacity.  Thailand is working on the Thai canal to relieve the pressures on the Straits of Malacca (and enrich themselves in the process); Nicaragua is also seeking to create an alternative to the Panama Canal which is in the process of expanding their locks to accommodate the massive container ships.

Istanbul is likewise looking to find other ways the keep their locational advantage as the gateway to the Black Sea region and beyond.  Projects on this grand of a scale have tremendous real estate, trading, transportation and even tourism impacts. They can also bring negative impacts to the local water supply, wildlife, other environmental concerns.  The bigger the project, the bigger the environmental risks and the greater the economic rewards.

GeoEd Tags: transportation, globalization, industry, economic, environment, political ecology, Turkey.

Scoop.it Tags: transportation, globalization, industry, economic, environment, political ecology, Turkey.

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑