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GEOGRAPHY EDUCATION

Supporting geography educators everywhere with current digital resources.

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z 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.

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.

Developing World Cities and Population Density

Without a question, we are living in an urban era. More people now live in cities than anywhere else on the planet and I’ve repeatedly argued that cities are our most important economic engine. As a result of these shifts, we’re seeing megacities at a scale the world has never seen before.

Source: sustainablecitiescollective.com

As our cities have massively expanded in the last 70 years, so has the ecological footprint of these metropolitan areas.  This article discusses some of the challenges confronting megacities and their functions within the global urban network. 

Tags: sustainabilitydensity, megacities, housing, urban, planning, unit 7 cities. 

The Rise of Innovative Districts

“Today, innovation is taking place where people can come together, not in isolated spaces. Innovation districts are this century’s productive geography, they are both competitive places and ‘cool spaces’ and they will transform your city and metropolis.”

As described by the Brookings Institution in their exploration regarding innovation districts, they are geographic areas where leading-edge companies, research institutions, start-ups, and business incubators are located in dense proximity. These districts are created to facilitate new connections and ideas, speed up the commercialization of those ideas, and support urban economies by growing jobs in ways that leverage their distinct economic position.

Tags: density, sustainability, housing, urban, planning, unit 7 cities, labor.

innovation_districts002_16x9

High-School Dropouts and College Grads Are Moving to Very Different Places

Cities like Washington and San Francisco are gaining the highly skilled but losing their less-educated workforce.

Source: www.citylab.com

This article, with its charts and interactive maps, is worth exploring to show some of the important spatial patterns of internal migration.  It’s not hard to realize that larger, cosmopolitan metro areas will have an advantage in attracting and keeping prospective college graduates; the question that we should be asking our students is how will this impact neighborhoods, cities and regions?    

Tags: migration, USA, mappingcensus, education.

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