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China is trying to turn itself into a country of 19 super-regions

"China’s urbanization is a marvel. The population of its cities has quintupled over the past 40 years, reaching 813m. By 2030 roughly one in five of the world’s city-dwellers will be Chinese. But this mushrooming is not without its flaws. Restraining pell-mell urbanization may sound like a good thing, but it worries the government’s economists, since bigger cities are associated with higher productivity and faster economic growth. Hence a new plan to remake the country’s map.

The idea is to foster the rise of mammoth urban clusters, anchored around giant hubs and containing dozens of smaller, but by no means small, nearby cities. The plan calls for 19 clusters in all, which would account for nine-tenths of economic activity (see map). China would, in effect, condense into a country of super-regions."

Source: www.economist.com

This type of plan would have been politically and economically unthinkable in years past, but the time-space compression (convergence) has made the distances between cities less of a barrier.  High-speed transit in the form of bullet trains link cities to other cities within the cluster more tightly together and the threshold of the functional region expands.  While some of these clusters are more aspirational, the top three (Hong Kong, Shanghai, Beijing) are already powerful global forces. 

Scoop.it Tags: urbanregions, transportation, megacities, economic, planning, China, East Asia.

WordPress TAGS: urban, regions, transportation, megacities, economic, planning, China, East Asia.

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

What Anthony Bourdain Understood About Cities

The work of the acclaimed chef and writer, who has died at 61, provides a model for a truly inclusive urbanism based on the creativity of all human beings.

Source: www.citylab.com

At the APHG reading last week, it felt as if everyone was in shock and mourning Anthony Bourdain’s passing.  I felt so amazingly thick, but I was dying to ask "who?"  Judging by everyone’s reaction, I think I’m the only geographer who has never watched any of his shows and was feeling the shame.  I quickly checked out Parts Unknown (on Netflix) and the appeal of his work was immediately evident; it is more about place than it is strictly about the food.  Food is simply his portal into understanding the people, culture, and politics of a given place.  Some say that his approach brings an anti-colonial flair to urbanism and travel, but as I’m a newbie to his work, I’m just going to start appreciating it now as we mourn his loss.

 

Tags: cultureworldwide, diffusion, urban, urbanism, place, food,

 colonialismvideo, media

 

 

The World’s Most Economically Powerful Cities

“The newest ranking of the world’s most economically powerful cities put together by Martin Prosperity Institute (MPI) research team finds New York to be the clear winner [over London]. Our Global City Economic Power Index  is based on five core metrics: Overall Economic Clout, Financial Power, Global Competitiveness,

Equity and Quality of Life.” 

Source: www.citylab.com

100 years ago, the biggest trends in urbanization showed that the biggest cities in the world were also the most economically powerful cities in the world in core areas.  In the last 50 years, the most obvious change has been the remarkable growth in of the world’s largest cities in the developing world.   

Questions to Ponder: Why has there been such spectacular growth of megacities, especially in the developing world?  How is this map ranking global cities different from a list of the world’s largest cities?  What regional patterns do exist in the 25 most economically powerful cities in the world?  What are the implications of these patterns?    

 

Tags: urban, megacities, regions.

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.   

Mapping Apps May Make Traffic Worse

Apps like Waze, Google Maps, and Apple Maps may make traffic conditions worse in some areas, new research suggests.

 

In the pre-mobile-app days, drivers’ selfishness was limited by their knowledge of the road network. In those conditions, both simulation and real-world experience showed that most people stuck to the freeways and arterial roads. When there are more app-using drivers, congestion builds up at off-ramps, creating more traffic on the freeway. While it’s clear that traffic on local roads gets worse with the use of these apps, Bayen said that nobody has managed to do a multi-scale analysis that can determine if the apps, even if they create local problems, are better or worse for whole traffic basins.

 

Tags: urbantechnology, transportation.

Source: www.theatlantic.com

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.

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

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