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GEOGRAPHY EDUCATION

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Landscape

The American West, 150 Years Ago

In the 1860s and 70s, photographer Timothy O’Sullivan created some of the best-known images in American History. After covering the U.S. Civil War, (many of his photos appear in this earlier series), O’Sullivan joined a number of expeditions organized by the federal government to help document the new frontiers in the American West. The teams were composed of soldiers, scientists, artists, and photographers, and tasked with discovering the best ways to take advantage of the region’s untapped natural resources. O’Sullivan brought an amazing eye and work ethic, composing photographs that evoked the vastness of the West. He also documented the Native American population as well as the pioneers who were already altering the landscape. Above all, O’Sullivan captured — for the first time on film — the natural beauty of the American West in a way that would later influence Ansel Adams and thousands more photographers to come.

 

Tags: images, artlandscape, tourism, historicalUSA.

Source: www.theatlantic.com

Whose Heritage? Public Symbols of the Confederacy

“In [recent years], the South’s 150-year reverence for the Confederacy was shaken. Public officials responded to the national mourning and outcry by removing prominent public displays of its most recognizable symbol [the flag]. It became a moment of deep reflection for a region where the Confederate flag is viewed by many white Southerners as an emblem of their heritage and regional pride despite its association with slavery, Jim Crow and the violent resistance to the civil rights movement in the 1950s and 1960s.”

Source: www.splcenter.org

Just a few more links that I’ve added to the article, Cultural Meaning in Moving Monuments.  Right now, many people are calling for the removal of all memorials that honor the Confederacy and the call for the removal of all Confederate monuments is in full swing.  

 

Tags: monuments, the South, architectureracecultural norms, landscape.

25 Photos That Will Make You Fall in Love With Norway

“So how gorgeous is Norway? From its majestic wildlife, captivating Northern Lights shows, and snowy mountains, to its vivid landscapes, and mystifying fjords, Norway is a must-visit destination for anyone who loves the outdoors. Plus, opportunities for hiking, kayaking, glacier climbing, fishing, and skiing are endless! If Noway wasn’t already on your travel bucket list, I bet it is now!”

Source: www.travelalphas.com

My wife lived in Norway for 18 months, and her love for this country is infectious.  The stunning physical geography leads to some equally magnificent cultural landscapes that were forged in a very rugged, inhospitable environment for early human settlers.   

 

Tags: Norway, place, tourismphysical, Arctic, geo-inspiration, images, artlandscape.

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.   

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.

America’s Best Long Trails

Plan your next big hike with this map of America’s most-loved long trails.

Source: www.backpacker.com

My uncle hiked the entire Pacific Crest Trail and as a kid the enormity of that feat was both inspirational and mind-boggling.  Recently I watched an incredible documentary about an ultra-marathoner’s quest on Vermont’s Long Trail (Finding Traction: free on Amazon Prime–trailer here).  While I doubt most of us could go the full length of these trails given our jobs, fitness levels, etc., I do think that getting outside to explore some of the physical environments in our local areas this summer sounds like a fantastic idea (high-res map here).  

 

Tags: transportation, landscape, place, sportphysical, environment, mappingmap.

New Orleans to remove prominent Confederate statues and monuments

Statues to Confederate Generals Robert E. Lee and P.G.T. Beauregard and Confederate States of America President Jefferson Davis will be removed.

Source: www.businessinsider.com

I find issues such as these endlessly fascinating because it the cultural politics behind the shaping of the landscape are so evident. The cultural landscape clearly isn’t just an innocent reflection of the society, but is actively constructed and contested.  Some, including the NOLA mayor, claim that it isn’t political, but preserving or reconfiguring a place’s public cultural heritage is always political.

 

Tags: monuments, New Orleansthe Southurban, architecture, landscape.

Memorializing Manzanar

“During World War II the US government incarcerated over 110,000 Japanese Americans, in ten different detention centers throughout the United States.  One of these sites was Manzanar; in 1992, Manzanar was declared a National Historic Site. But apart from the cemetery, there was little there. The committee did not want to settle for a staid, sterile museum and so they worked with the National Park Service to rebuild portions of the camp exactly as they had been during the war. The most powerful symbol might be the site’s newest addition, a replica of the women’s latrine with a trough sink and row of five toilets with no dividers between them. It’s a stark reminder of the humiliation felt by many Japanese Americans during their incarceration.  The annual pilgrimage of Japanese-Americans and others will take place on April 29th, 2017.”

Source: 99percentinvisible.org

How we collectively remember history in the landscape?  Do you erase national embarrassments that open wounds of the past or is the act of memorialization cathartic and part of becoming a better country?  After Pearl Harbor, the U.S. listened to the fears of the public and military officials and interned U.S. citizens of Japanese ancestry.  Today, how this history is remembered is deeply important to many groups in the United States.  There are some great images, videos and primary sources in this episode of the 99 Percent Invisible podcast. 

 

Tagspodcast, culture, California, historical, monumentsplace, landscape.

Investing in Monumental Architecture

City Hall in Philadelphia is a fantastic example of using architecture to create civic pride by investing in iconic, public buildings. Monumental architecture helps to create a sense of place and communal identity. This building has open air access, making the public feel that this is more their building.”

Source: www.instagram.com

Question to Ponder: Is it “worth it” for government’s to invest taxpayer dollars on ornate architecture? 

 

Tags: space, monumentsurban, architecture, place, landscape.

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