Saturday, November 30, 2013

Victoria, Gozo, Malta

The twin islands of Gozo and Malta are among the greatest transportation museums in the world. Albeit from another era, Tiger Cubs and their cousins flow like red, white, and orange corpuscles along the archipelago's transport arteries, oxygenating local economies and establishing themselves as part of the nation's patrimony. [2009]

Friday, November 29, 2013

Belfast, Northern Ireland, UK

It's all about attracting attention. In this case, red does the trick. Of course, it doesn't hurt that caffeine is addictive. Perhaps that's why coffee is giving tea a run for its money as the beverage of choice in the UK. [2009]

Thursday, November 28, 2013

South Windsor, Connecticut, USA

Happy Turkey Day! If you think about where the idea came from for this humorous objet d'art, you will have discovered a terrific example of stimulus diffusion. [2009]

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Plum City, Wisconsin, USA

Corn and potatoes: By late summer, they are so plentiful farmers almost give them away. Kiosks operate on the honor system even when they're park-side rather than field-side. Compare and contrast: farm stands like this with unattended ATMs. [2012]

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Pawtucket, Rhode Island, USA

Follow the diffusion of the Industrial Revolution by reading the landscape. Slater's Mill (thankfully preserved!) marks the beginning of the factory system in the United States. It all began in Rhode Island.  Does Canada have a Slater's Mill of its own? How about Mexico? [2009]

Monday, November 25, 2013

Washington, DC, USA

He's making the letters shine as bright as they can, but there's only so much he can do with such industrial-strength calligraphy. The National Museum of Women in the Arts should have a font of its own. Where are the women calligraphers who could offer some post-industrial-strength signage?[2012]

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Madrid, Spain

'Lettering the landscape' is something we all do. What practices shape the letters you leave behind? Do you stay inside the lines? Do you prefer the purity of white? Do you do well in overcoming corrugations? Do you work for someone else or for yourself? [2009]

Saturday, November 23, 2013

London, England, UK

It's the last day of Geography Awareness Week for 2013.  Hope you've been busy painting the town blue and splashing GEOgraphy all over the landscape.  [2003}

Friday, November 22, 2013

Chiang Mai, Thailand

Find the flag: Thailand's national flag. Its colors are curious. Why is it red, white, and blue? The palette of place in Thailand favors the golden end of the spectrum, with lots of yellows, gingers, and oranges. Just take a look at this temple in Chiang Mai. [2011]

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Singapore, Republic of Singapore

Incense is part and parcel of Chinese temples everywhere. In a great contradiction: Burning incense purifies temple space while polluting temple air. For polluting, some would substitute 'fragrancing.' In a pre-industrial world without synthetics, incense provided one of the sweetest smells nature could provide. Its use cut across all religions. [2011]

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Seoul, South Korea

Cheonggyecheon Stream not only provides a setting for the Seoul Lantern Festival, it becomes part of the art itself.  The water's gurgling surface reflects the color and brilliance of the lanterns strung overhead.  Cheon means 'stream' in the Korean language.  [2012]

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Seoul, South Korea

Lantern festivals are most impressive at night, which is the perfect time for Spider-Man.  Joining the icons of Korean folk culture are visitors from abroad, carried here on waves of globalization that have broken over Seoul in the past half-century.  [2012]

Monday, November 18, 2013

Seoul, South Korea

Every fall since 2009, the Seoul Lantern Festival has brought the heroes and heroines of folk and popular culture to the banks of Cheonggyecheon Stream in the city center.   In fact, it's a way of showcasing the stream itself.  Cheonggyecheon was entunneled until 2005.  Now, it's back on the surface and a perfect venue for the arts.  [2012]

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Taipei, Taiwan

Find the H.  You've just found the helipad on top of Taipei's City Hall.  And, you've just found one more bit of evidence that English has become the lingua franca of the world.  Taiwan, after all, is a Chinese-speaking country.  The view from the top of Taipei 101 makes the city's other skyscrapers look like upstarts.  [2012]

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Taipei, Taiwan

For six years, until 2010, Taipei 101 ranked as the tallest building in the world.  Today, only three years later, it is the fifth tallest.  Just this week, One World Trade Center in New York was certified to be 1776 feet tall (with 104 floors), one rank ahead of Taipei 101 (with how many floors?).  The world is in the midst of a skyscraper boom.  [2011]

Friday, November 15, 2013

Hallam, Pennsylvania, USA

In England, it's National Nursery Rhyme Week, so let's return to our childhood: "There was an old woman who lived in a shoe. She had so many children, she didn't know what to do." Here's a shoe people have lived in since the 1940s when it became part of 'roadside America.' The Shoe House is along the Lincoln Highway in York County, Pennsylvania. [2007]

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Maarat Al Numan, Syria

This is what a real Arab Spring looks like, at least in western Syria.  Winters are wet, so springs are greening, sheep are grazing, shepherds are herding, almonds are blooming, skies are blueing, and life is booming.  [1996]

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Delhi, India

Two feet?  Two wheels?  Three wheels?  Four wheels?  The possibilities for getting around in Delhi are endless.  Occasionally, you even see four-footed transport.  [2011]

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Delhi, India

As the sun rises, the population awakes.  Among the pavement dwellers, the luckiest have spent the night on cots.  See them?  Others have sleep on the sidewalks.  [2011]

Monday, November 11, 2013

Delhi, India

WWCD:  What would Christaller do?  He would take all of the tailors in Delhi and impose on the network a set of contiguous hexagons.  From that he could compute the threshold and range of the service provided.  Who's Christaller?  Look up central place theory.  [2011]

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Get ready.  Temperatures are heading south, and you might need mittens.  Especially if you are in Canada.  So, pick your mitt now.  There's still a lot to choose from.  [2010]

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Randolph, Vermont, USA

Covered bridge are vulnerable to all sorts of threats: fires set by arsonists, trucks too heavy to cross, floods during heavy rains, rot from age and the elements, condemnation by highway departments, and simple lack of maintenance. Fortunately, more people are now becoming interested in conserving cultural resources. [2009]

Friday, November 8, 2013

Swanzey, New Hampshire, USA

All four of Swanzey's covered bridges contribute to the town's economic base: Visitors come to walk through history and steep themselves in an idealized past. In the process, they spend money. Let's protect the river and the West Swanzey Bridge, lest they go the way of the Old Man of the Mountain. See him? [2009]

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Livingston, Alabama, USA

You can see it never floods, and it's easy to tell it's not a river. It's a lake on the University of West Alabama's campus. Here is yet one more wooden bridge that has been moved from its original location to a place where it can be appreciated and conserved. [2005]

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Greenfield Village, Michigan, USA

Covered bridges are valuable commodities. Henry Ford wanted one for Greenfield Village in the 1930s. He found the Ackley Bridge in Pennsylvania and moved it to Michigan. It established the idea that covered bridges could be moved to locations, often parks, where they could teach history and be preserved for future generations. [2008]

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Stoystown, Pennsylvania, USA

New England gets all the attention, but Pennsylvania has more covered bridges than any other state. Somerset County has ten, including the Glessner Bridge, which was built in 1881 and is still open to vehicular traffic. Look at the effort that has gone into shoring up its foundations. Flooding must be a problem on Stony Creek! [2010]

Monday, November 4, 2013

Winchester, New Hampshire, USA

Magnificent! That's what all covered bridge hunters exclaim when they discover the Ashuelot Bridge. As a bonus, they can see the latticework that transfers the weight of the bridge to the abutments. It's called a Town Truss after its inventor, Ithiel Town, a Connecticut engineer and architect. [2009]

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Dummerston, Vermont, USA

To get across the West River, you had to invest in a bridge. When wood was the only building material available, however, you had to figure out a way to make your investment last. That's because wood rots. Why are covered bridges covered? To prolong their lives. It must work: The West Dummerston Bridge is heading towards its sesquicentennial. [2009]

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Sofia, Bulgaria

The water runs continuously.  It's sweet, and it's free.  Just come with your jug and fill up.  Nature does the work of purification and delivery via an aquifer and artesian spring.  Fountains, like this one in Sofia, used to be part of every city.  Now, water is tapped.  It tastes bad, and it's not free.  Progress?  [2010]

Friday, November 1, 2013

Pisté, Yucatan, Mexico

Dressed up, showing off, dining out:  that was then.  Today, these women are probably at home preparing a meal for the holiday.  It's known as Hanal Pixan in Yucatan, but to the rest of Mexico as Dia do los Muertos, or Day of the Dead.  It's the day the dead arise and the food goes underground.  Think:  buried chicken.  [2013]