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GEOGRAPHY EDUCATION

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urban ecology

Damaged and defiant: Hurricane Harvey

Houston holds strong in the wake of devastation left by Hurricane Harvey.

Source: www.houstonchronicle.com

I am sharing these three interactive webmaps of Houston with my mapping courses to demonstrate what is technologically possible.  Texts, charts, pictures, videos, and maps can be seamlessly integrated to present spatial information in an incredibly engaging and accessible manner.  

Houston’s Hurricane Harvey was incredibly impactful but the factors leading to this were also very complex.  These three Story maps lay out:

  1. Houston’s urban ecological context
  2. The geographic origins of Hurricane Harvey
  3. The human stories from Hurricane Harvey

 

Scoop.it Tagsphysical, watercoastal, urbanurban ecology, disasters, mappingESRIStoryMap.

WordPress TAGS: physical, water, coastal, urban, urban ecology, disasters, mapping, esri, storymap.

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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.   

Houston’s stories of Hurricane Harvey

“Blue and her team selected 45 stories, each plotted with ESRI’s ArcGIS software on a map of Greater Houston and tied to the exact location where it was first told. The resulting story map of Hurricane Harvey, ‘Damaged and Defiant: Houston Stories,’ was published in the Houston Chronicle in December. The map shows short narratives gathered by Chronicle staffers from people across the area — from Crosby to Kingwood to Katy — each a unique perspective on the storm; told together, they’re the collective account of a city that experienced one of the worst natural disasters in U.S. history.”

Source: news.rice.edu

These interlinked Houston story maps show some of the key elements of a good story map: 1) strong spatial analytical components, 2) a powerful narrative, 3) rich visuals, 4) solid cartography, and 5) well-sourced information.

 

Tags: fluvialwatercoastal, urban, disasters, physical, mappingESRIStoryMap.

Mapping Coastal Flood Risk Lags Behind Sea Level Rise

Federal maps help determine who on the coast must buy flood insurance, but many don’t include the latest data. Maryland is now making its own flood maps, so homeowners can see if they’re at risk.

Source: www.npr.org

Geographic themes are overflowing (it was an unintended pun, but I’ll just let that wash over you) in this podcast.  I suggest playing a game early in the year/semester called “find the geography.”  What geographic theme/content areas will your students find in this podcast? 

 

Tagspodcast, mapping, cartography, climate change, environment, watercoastal,  urban, planningurban ecology.

How Clean is Narragansett Bay?

“The progress in Rhode Island toward clean water owes a lot to this federal law. Seeing urban rivers and the beaches and coves of the upper bay rediscovered as natural assets for wildlife and people to enjoy is one of the great successes of the Clean Water Act [of 1972].”

Source: www.rimonthly.com

This article from geographer Mary Grady shows a pleasant story in the human and environmental interaction.  The upper bay (that in-between place where the Providence River widens and becomes part of the Narragansett Bay) has been cleaned up and has ecologically been revitalized and is becoming an asset to the community again.  It is far from pristine, but it nice to read about encouraging signs on this front.  

 

Tags: watercoastal, Rhode Island.

Sprawling Shanghai

If you could go back in time to the 1980s, you would find a city that is drastically different than today’s Shanghai.

Source: earthobservatory.nasa.gov

This series of seven satellite images shows how quickly the economic development of China has impacted the urban sprawl of China’s biggest cities.  Pictures of the downtown area’s growth are impressive, but these aerial images show the full magnitude of the change. 

 

Tags: urbanremote sensing, megacities, China, urban ecology.

Paris mayor unveils plan ​to restrict traffic and pedestrianize city center

Anne Hidalgo says she wants to cut the number of cars in French capital by half as part of campaign to tackle pollution

Source: www.theguardian.com

The world’s biggest cities are struggling to maintain access to congested downtown areas and still ensure that the downtown maintains it’s historic sense of place that generate so much tourism and concentration of cultural amenities.  Pollution is driving cities to change as the private automobile as the default mode of transportation becomes less feasible and unsustainable as cities expand to be far larger than they ever have been before.  

 

Tags: urban, environmentpollution, urban ecology, France, place, tourism, Paris, megacities, transportation.

Finding North America’s lost medieval city

Cahokia was North America’s biggest city—then it was completely abandoned. I went there to find out why.

Source: arstechnica.com

The earthen mounds of Cahokia on the flat flood plains must have been the most awe-inspiring demonstration of political power and economic wealth in its day.  Like so many other civilizations before them (and many more in the future?), Cahokia probably declined from too many environmental modifications that led to unforeseen consequences.

 

Tagsurban ecology, indigenousenvironment, environment modify, historical, North America.

Cahokia – why did North America’s largest city vanish?

Long before Columbus reached the Americas, Cahokia was the biggest, most cosmopolitan city north of Mexico. Yet by 1350 it had been deserted by its native inhabitants the Mississippians – and no one is sure why

Source: www.theguardian.com

This article is the eighth in the “Lost Cities” series (Babylon, Troy, Pompeii, Angkor, Fordlandia, etc.).  The earthen mounds of Cahokia on the flat flood plains must have been the most awe-inspiring demonstration of political power and economic wealth in its day.  Like so many other civilizations before them (and many more in the future?), Cahokia probably declined from too many environmental modifications that led to unforeseen consequences.

 

Tagsurban ecology, indigenousenvironment, environment modify, historical, North America.

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