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GEOGRAPHY EDUCATION

Supporting geography educators everywhere with current digital resources.

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unit 7 cities

Mexico City, Parched and Sinking, Faces a Water Crisis

“A host of environmental factors are threatening to push a crowded capital toward a breaking point.”

Source: www.nytimes.com

Urban ecology, environmental justice, gendered inequities, primate city politics, the struggle of growing megacities…it’s all here in this fantastic piece of investigative reporting.  The article highlights the ecological problems that Mexico City faces (high-altitude exacerbates air pollution, interior drainage worsens water pollution, limited aquifers that are overworked lead to subsidence, importing water outside of the basin requires enormous amounts of energy, etc.).  just because the article doesn’t use the word ‘geography’ doesn’t mean that it isn’t incredibly geographic. All of these problems are at the heart of human-environmental nexus of 21st century urbanization. 

   

Tags: urban, megacities, water, environment, Mexico.

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Shrinking cities: the rise and fall of global urban populations – mapped

“The world is experiencing rapid urbanisation, but not every city is growing. Population is likely to decline in 17% of large cities in developed regions and 8% of cities across the world from 2015 to 2025, according to a McKinsey report.”

Source: www.theguardian.com

This is a fantastic series of maps for human geography and regional geography classes. Some cities throughout Africa and Asia have experienced spectacular growth (click here for 5 infographics showing East Asia’s massive urban growth).  Europe, on the other isn’t see the same level of growth and is even experiencing urban decline in a few regions.   

 

Questions to Ponder: What patterns do you see in these maps?  What cultural, demographic and economic factors explain some of the regional patterns in these maps?        

 

Tags: APHG, urban, unit 7 cities, megacities.

How Jane Jacobs beat Robert Moses to be the ultimate placemaker

“Jane Jacobs lacked formal training in city planning but became an urban visionary who promoted dense, mixed-use neighborhoods where people interacted on the streets. She also became the nemesis of New York master builder Robert Moses. On our inaugural episode, we’ll explore Jacobs’ legacy and how the ideas and ideals of ‘St. Jane’ hold up today.”

Source: www.slate.com

How do you create a sense of place?  How can you make a neighborhood more vibrant and meaningful to the residents?  These are questions that central to city planners, community organizers, activists, home owners, renters, business owners, and a wide range of local stakeholders.  The Placemakers podcast has many episodes on these topics worth listening to, starting with the one about Jane Jacobs, a leading urbanist who was a proponent of “The Cheerful Hurly-Burly” of the “zoomed in” city life who fought against Robert Moses’ more sterile “zoomed out” spaces of transportation flows.  In another podcast titled “the quest for the perfect place,” the series explores new urbanism and the ideas that have shaped the movement.

 

Tagsplace, neighborhood, urban, planning, urbanism, podcastscale.

America’s ‘Megaregions’ using Commuter Data

New maps use math to define the amorphous term.

Source: www.citylab.com

By now I’m sure many of you have seen some iteration of this research and data visualization circulating through social media outlets (you can see the article from City Lab, Atlas Obscura or an urban planning program).  We use terms like the greater metropolitan area to express the idea that areas beyond the city boundaries and even beyond the metropolitan statistical areas are linked with cities.  These ‘mega-regions’ are in part the hinterlands of a city, a functional region where the cities act as hubs of economic regions.   

Tags: regions, urban, transportationeconomicvisualization, mapping, USA, planning.

The rise of the Asian megacity (and why ‘metacities’ are the next big thing)

“Asia’s rapid urbanisation is changing the very shape and nature of what we think of as a city.  It’s not just the rapid increase in their numbers or their sheer size that makes these megacities fascinating. They look, feel and behave differently, too.”

Source: www.scmp.com

The term megacity (a city with a population greater than 10 million) has been around for a while and there wasn’t much linguistic need to describe something bigger.  Today, most megacities are more like Lagos and Mumbai, places of extreme wealth asymmetries than the global cities of New York City and London.  Some are now using the term metacity to describe cities with populations of 20 million.  Asian metacities are a good place to start thinking about the largest urban regions that are increasingly dominating economic, political and cultural affairs.      

 

Tags: urbanmegacitiesEast Asia.

Photographing mega-cities from 12,000 feet

Photographer Vincent Laforet spent the early stages of 2015 photographing the likes of New York, Las Vegas, London, Sydney and Barcelona from a helicopter.


Tags: urban, megacities, unit 7 cities, images.

Source: www.cnn.com

Refugee Camp for Syrians in Jordan Evolves as a Do-It-Yourself City

As the sprawling Zaatari camp evolves into an informal city — with an economy and even gentrification — aid workers say camps can be potential urban incubators that benefit host countries like Jordan.

Source: www.nytimes.com

This is an intriguing article that explores the difficulties of forced migrations that arise from civil war, but it also looks at city planning as refugee camps are established to make homes for the displaced.  These camps have become into de-facto cities. The maps, videos and photographs embedded in the article show the rapid development of these insta-cities which organically have evolved to fit the needs of incoming refugees.  Size not investing in permanent infrastructure has some serious social, sanitation and financial cost, there are some efforts to add structure to the chaos, to formalize the informal.  Truly this is a fascinating case study of in urban geography as we are increasingly living on what Mike Davis refers to as a “Planet of Slums.”  


Tags: refugees, migration, conflict, political, warsquatter, urban, planning, density, urbanism, unit 7 cities. 

An Intriguingly Detailed Animation of How People Move Around a City

Watch the commuting patterns of New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles.

Source: www.citylab.com

This CityLab article and the embedded maps show the rhythms and patterns that make city life so beautifully complex.  The Center for Advances Spatial Analysis has compiled numerous maps, time-lapse videos and other animations to show flows of urban life.  These are great resources to visualize the ‘spaces of flows.’  

Tags: mobility, mapping, visualization, urban, planning, unit 7 cities, transportation.

This Is the Traffic Capital of the World

There are only 650 major intersections here—but somehow only 60 traffic lights.

Source: www.newrepublic.com

Dhaka is the capital of Bangladesh and (as I often tell my students) it is the biggest city that nobody has ever heard of.  The infrastructure is so incredibly limited that traffic jams cost the city an estimated $3.8 billion in delays and air pollution.  This is an excellent article to explore some of the problems confronting megacities. 

Tags: Bangladeshtransportation, planning, density, South Asia, development, economic, megacities.

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