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GEOGRAPHY EDUCATION

Supporting geography educators everywhere with current digital resources.

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neighborhood

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.

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Displacement from Gentrification

Source: www.youtube.com

How does gentrification displace longtime residents?  How does the community change during the gentrification process?  What are the impacts to residents (current and former) of the gentrification process?  This is one young man’s story about gentrification in San Francisco’s Mission District. 

 

Tags: neighborhood, gentrificationurban, place, culture, economic

South Africa Is Still Under Apartheid

“More than two decades after the end of apartheid in South Africa, Cape Town remains racially segregated, with many black residents living in substandard townships.”

Source: www.youtube.com

The title is a bit inflammatory–news agencies may pretend that they aren’t in the shock-and-awe, clickbait economy, but they invented the salacious headline to grab our attention.  Still, the racial inequities of a system as pervasive as apartheid aren’t going to be reversed in a generation and the racial differences in Capetown are coming under more international scrutiny as the they are in the midst of their current drought.

 

Tags: South Africa, Africarace, ethnicityneighborhood, urban, planning, drought, water, urban ecology.   

The Democrats’ Gentrification Problem

Allies on Election Day, the two wings of the Democratic Party are growing further estranged in other aspects of their lives.

Source: www.nytimes.com

This is more partisan source/part of the topic than I’d want to share with my human geography classes, but the ideas, patterns, and impacts are all about principles discussed in the AP Human Geography course articulation. 

 

Tags: neighborhoodpolitical, gentrificationurban, place, economic.   

Hong Kong’s ‘coffin homes’ reveal a housing crisis

A shortage of developable land have pushed Hong Kong’s housing prices skyward, leading some to live in spaces the size of closets.

Source: www.businessinsider.com

Overpopulation doesn’t feel like a serious issue when you live in a land characterized by wide open spaces, but in some densely settled urban centers, the issues become quite personal.  Hong Kong is currently facing a housing shortage. This article nicely explains the difficulties that living in the so-called coffin homes makes for the residents.  This photo gallery humanizes this difficult living condition.

 

Tags: housingurban, place, neighborhoodspatialdensity, planning, density, urbanism.

The walkable city

How do we solve the problem of the suburbs? Urbanist Jeff Speck shows how we can free ourselves from dependence on the car — which he calls “a gas-belching, time-wasting, life-threatening prosthetic device” — by making our cities more walkable and more pleasant for more people.

Source: www.ted.com

In the 2017 APHG exam, there was a question that dealt with new urbanism and walkability.  This TED talk from Jeff Speck gives a good sense of what planners believe in new urbanism are trying to do (you can also watch his earlier TED talk, 4 ways to make a city more walkable). Here also is information on New Urbanism (dot org) from it’s practicioners, such as the Congress on New Urbanism.  Lastly, here is an academic article reviewing the critiques of new urbanism with rebuttals.    

 

Tagsplace, neighborhood, urban, planningtransportation, urbanism, scale, TED, video.

Why 80% of Singaporeans live in government-built flats

Lots of countries show off their public-housing projects, but few are quite as devoted to them as Singapore, where four-fifths of the permanent population live in subsidised units built by the government, most of them as owner-occupiers. The city-state’s suburbs bristle with HDB towers, painted calming pastel hues. This vast national housing system surprises visitors who think of Singapore as a low-tax hub for expatriate bankers and big multinationals. But HDB is a linchpin of economic and social policy and an anchor for the ruling People’s Action Party (PAP), which has led Singapore since independence. It is also a tantalising but tricky model for Singapore’s fast-urbanising neighbours to follow.

Source: www.economist.com

Singapore is such a fascinating case study.  Over 90% of the Singapore’s land is owned by the government and the American ideal of independent home ownership is seen as antithetical to cultural norms.  The government heavily subsidies young couples to live near their parents and create tight-knit communities with homelessness was eradicated (that’s the optimists’ perspective).  This is all well and good for young, straight couples that choose to support the ruling political party, but critics often point out that the housing focus has also created a paternalistic component to the government that is much stronger in Singapore than in other countries.  This article nicely goes with the 2017 APHG reading professional development talk entitled “The Geographies of Home” that focused on Singaporean and Japanese examples.    

 

Tag: Singapore, urban, neighborhood, economicplanning, housing, cultural norms.

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.

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   

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