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GEOGRAPHY EDUCATION

Supporting geography educators everywhere with current digital resources.

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architecture

How Barcelona is taking city streets back from cars

"Modern cities are designed for cars. But the city of Barcelona is testing out an urban design trick that can give cities back to pedestrians."

Source: www.youtube.com

Walkable cities improve the local economy and many cities are working to improve their walkability.  Cities can improve sidewalks, decrease parking lots, beautify storefronts and add other amenities that encourage walking. Neighborhoods that are very walkable often have a vibrant sense of place.  This article (and the embedded video) nicely explain many issues surrounding walkable urban environments.   

 

GeoEd Tags: urban, place, neighborhood, transportation, planning, urbanism, architecture.

Scoop.it Tags: urban, place, neighborhoodtransportationplanning, urbanism, architecture.

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Concrete: the most destructive material on Earth

"After water, concrete is the most widely used substance on the planet. But its benefits mask enormous dangers to the planet, to human health – and to culture itself. Our blue and green world is becoming greyer by the second. If the cement industry were a country, it would be the third largest carbon dioxide emitter in the world with up to 2.8bn tonnes."

 

GeoEd Tags: industry, sustainability, consumption, climate change, environment, architecture, resources.

Scoop.it Tags: industry, sustainability, consumption, climate change, environment, resources.

Source: www.theguardian.com

‘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.

 

How to make cities more walkable

"Investing in walkable cities, whether through allocating funds to repaint pedestrian walkways or building affordable housing close to downtowns, also attracts diverse populations and creates jobs. According to the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning, 63 percent of millennials and 42 percent of boomers would like to live in a place where they don’t need a car. And according to the National Association of Realtors, 62 percent of millennials prefer to live in a walkable community where a car is optional. If cities seem less automobile-dependent, chances are they are more appealing to a range of ages."

Source: www.vox.com

Walkable cities improve the local economy and many cities are working to improve their walkability.  Cities can improve sidewalks, decrease parking lots, beautify storefronts and add other amenities that encourage walking. Neighborhoods that are very walkable often have a vibrant sense of place.  This article (and the embedded video) nicely explain many issues surrounding walkable urban environments.   

 

GeoEd Tags: urban, place, neighborhood, transportation, planning, urbanism, architecture.

Scoop.it Tags: urban, place, neighborhoodtransportationplanning, urbanism, architecture.

How to Build a Smart City

We are in the midst of a historic (and wholly unpredicted) rise in urbanization. But it’s hard to retrofit old cities for the 21st century. Enter Dan Doctoroff. The man who helped modernize New York City — and tried to bring the Olympics there — is now C.E.O. of a Google-funded startup that is building, from scratch, the city of the future.

Source: freakonomics.com

Urbanism isn’t just the study of urban geography as it is, but it also looks to use ideas of design, architectural, transportation, and sustainability to create better cities.  This Freakonomics podcast looks at ways that New York City has changed, with ideas of how to start a new city being experimented with in Toronto.  This 99PI podcast looks at European urbanist ideas that shaped many cities that were damaged during WWII (part II).  Successful cities bring in more residents which bring higher housing costs–so can a city be too successful for it’s own good?  San Francisco grapples with changing economic issues as it is too expensive to hire workers to fill low-skill jobs

 

Tagsurbanism, podcast, architecturetransportation, housing, place, planning.

The Geography of AC

“The modern built environment in the United States is now totally dependent on air conditioning. A lot of our buildings would be uninhabitable in the summer without AC, and all of the electricity needed to keep it running.”

Source: 99percentinvisible.org

Like so many 99 percent invisible podcasts, this blends urban design, social geography, local history in a way that deepens our understanding of place. Air conditioning has powerfully reshaped so many geographic patterns that many of ways.  Some mentioned in this podcast include: a) the rapid expansion of the Sun Belt, b) less climatically and regionally distinctive architecture can now be found in the cultural landscape, and c) an enormous amount of energy is consumed to maintain our hyper-cooled buildings (the U.S. now uses as much electricity for air conditioning as it did for all purposes in 1955). 

 

Tagspodcast, architecturehousing, landscape, place planning.

How Instagram Is Changing the Way We Design Cultural Spaces

“As neighborhoods, restaurants and museums become more photogenic, are we experiencing an ‘Instagramization’ of the world?”

 

Penang is one of a number of cities capitalizing on the wild popularity of photo-based social media apps such as Instagram, which has 800 million users (that’s more than a tenth of the world’s population). It’s part of a wider phenomenon of public and private spaces being designed to appeal to users of such apps. This phenomenon is subtly changing our visual landscapes—on the streets, in restaurants, in stores, in museums and more. Call it the “Instagramization” of the world.

Restaurants have been at the forefront of Instagramization. Since social media mentions can make or break a restaurant’s success, owners have become attuned to what visual aspects of food and décor appeal to customers. Restaurant designers are going for photo-friendly background materials like slate and whitewashed wood, and using plain white plates. Some are deliberately incorporating Instagram-appealing visuals that feature the restaurant’s name or logo—floor tiles, neon signs—hoping they’ll wind up in a snap.

 

Tagssocial mediaplaceculture, architecture, urban.

Source: www.smithsonianmag.com

The ‘War on Sitting’ Has a New Front

Cities are removing benches in an effort to counter vagrancy and crime—at the same time that they’re adding them to make the public realm more age-friendly.

Source: www.citylab.com

Geography explores more than just what countries control a certain territory and what landforms are there.  Geography explores the spatial manifestations of power and how place is crafted to fit a particular vision.  Homeless people are essentially always ‘out of place.’  These articles from the Society Pages, Atlas Obscura, the Atlantic and this one from the Guardian share similar things: that urban planners actively design places that will discourage loitering, skate boarding, and homelessness, which are all undesirable to local businesses.  This gallery shows various defensive architectural tactics to make certain people feel ‘out of place.’  Just to show that not all urban designs are anti-homeless, this bench is one that is designed to help the homeless (and here is an ingenious plan to curb public urination).  

    

Tags: urbanplanning, architecture, landscape, place, poverty.

Braves’ New Ballpark Is An Urban Planner’s Nightmare 

“The Braves chose to relocate to Cobb County from downtown Atlanta’s Turner Field after only 19 years because of a $400 million public subsidy from Cobb taxpayers. The costs are almost certain to balloon thanks to some significant fiscal buffoonery on the part of Cobb officials, including a lack of a comprehensive transportation plan and forgetting to ask the Braves to pay for traffic cops. Attached to SunTrust Park like a Cinnabon-scented goiter is the Battery Atlanta, a $550M mixed-used development that looks an awful lot like a New Urbanist project, the widely criticized school of planning that is equal parts social engineering and neoliberalism. SunTrust isn’t solely accessible by car—the Braves run a stadium shuttle bus that serves a couple of outer MARTA stations—but, compared to the team’s former home, the non-motorized options are paltry.”

Source: deadspin.com

There are many great geography angles to look at this particular issue.  The scale of governance matters in creating the political context for any given situation.  In this article, we see City vs. County vs. Metropolitan regional politics jockey for position, putting the interest of their own county above that of the larger metropolitan region.  We also see competing visions of ideal urban planning (a more sprawling, automobile-centered model vs. public transit, multi-use planning that is enclosed vs. open) all layered upon racial and socio-economic context of this particular place.   

 

Tagsarchitecture, scale, sport, urban, planning, urbanism, economic.

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