Monday, August 31, 2015

New Orleans, Louisiana, USA

After Katrina left New Orleans in ruins, much of its population was gone but not its hopes. Two years later, hope and hard work, combined with a little foresight and federal funds, put the city on the come-back trail. Many homes were rebuilt, but just a little higher so the next flood wouldn't have the same impact. [2007]

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Biloxi, Mississippi, USA

New Orleans may get all the attention on this 10th anniversary of hurricane Katrina, but devastation was just as complete in Biloxi, almost 100 miles away. What did we learn? That we ought to build more sturdy buildings? Or, that we ought to build farther away from the shoreline? [2005]

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Gulfport, Mississippi, USA

Exactly ten years ago, it wasn't New Orleans but the Mississippi coast that got hit by the Katrina's most powerful "right front quadrant." Total devastation and 126 deaths in Harrison County were the results. Right through First Baptist Church you could see the Gulf of Mexico. What do you think: Did the congregation rebuild farther from the shoreline? [2005]

Friday, August 28, 2015

Pembina, Manitoba, Canada

There was a time when geography students were expected to recognize and name field crops. Rapeseed is what they would have called this one, but today it has been fine tuned into one of the world's great oil crops: canola. Here it is in its home province of Canada, having been developed at the University of Manitoba in the 1970s. [2012]

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Tequila, Jalisco, Mexico

The name of the pueblo tells you what's being manufactured here: tequila. The blue agave grows in the rich volcanic soils of Jalisco. When harvested, the piñas become the source of the sap that is distilled and bottled in factories like this. Tequila is a protected designation of origin (PDO) product which comes only from the area around the city of Tequila. [2007]

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Deep Creek, Eleuthera, The Bahamas

Development has an economic side and a human side. The boys here are working on the human side. They are developing their minds by going to school, and their bodies by going for lunch. Their elders are developing the neighborhood in spurts and starts: Build until the money runs out, then wait until you have enough to continue. [2014]

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Hong Kong, China

There is nowhere to go but up in Hong Kong, a city defined by its high-rise skyline. The more storeys you can pile on top of each other, the more work you can get done on each square foot of ground space. Hong Kong is quickly becoming "Asia's World City," a promotional moniker adopted to raise its profile on the world stage. [2011]

Monday, August 24, 2015

Havana, Cuba

Change came to the political landscape of the Americas on July 20, 2015, when Cuba and the United States restored diplomatic relations. In 1961, the American embassy in Havana was shuttered, but the U.S. maintained ownership. To block the view of the building from the malacone, the government of Cuba planted a forest of Cuban flags. [2014]

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Rotorua, New Zealand

Whakairo is the art of wood carving in Aotearoa, the country you may know as New Zealand. Since the 1980s, Maori culture has been experiencing a renaissance, and the cultural capital of the Maori nation has become Te Puia in Rotorua. If you love being tatted, take a look at this face and consider mimicking the Maoris. [2006]

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Maaloula, Syria

Perhaps the world's oldest Christian altar was in the Church of Mar Sarkis in Maaloula. The lip around its edge betrays its use for pre-Christian animal sacrifice, which the crucifixion of Jesus made unnecessary. It survived the transition from pre-Christian to Christian times but it could not survive the Syrian civil war. Mar Sarkis has been destroyed. [1996]

Friday, August 21, 2015

Yerevan, Armenia

Change came to the linguistic landscape after 1990. Change 1: Lenin Ave. renamed Mashtots Ave. Change 2: Mashtots selected to honor the Armenian alphabet which he invented. Change 3: English and the Roman alphabet replaced Russian and the Cyrillic alphabet. No change: Alexander Pushkin, father of Russian literature, retained his place of honor. [2015]

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Ruse, Bulgaria

Population pyramids are graphic devices for displaying the age and sex structure of a population. But, behind every pyramid are real people. Which one of these three would be on the right? Which one would be at the bottom? Which one would be at the top? If you don't understand these questions, delve a little deeper into population geography. [2014]

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

New York, New York, USA

Global networks are at the heart of globalization: networks that move people, commodities, products, money, messages, news, and ideas. Cities as transactional nodes coordinate those networks, and at the top of the hierarchy of world cities are three global cities: New York, London, and Tokyo. But Singapore, Hong Kong, and Paris are right behind. [2012]

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Marbella, Andalusia, Spain

Everybody needs maps, not just geographers. But when anybody uses a map, they become a geographer. Maps and globes are irreplaceable tools for spatial thinking. At a pedestrian level, they are tools of navigation, but at a scientific level they are tools for analysis and problem solving. [2015]

Monday, August 17, 2015

Quebec City, Quebec, Canada

Although you may think that the Normandy Invasion began on the 6th of June, 1944, it really began on the 17th of August, 1943, when Winston Churchill and Franklin Roosevelt met secretly in Quebec City for strategy discussions. Ideas always precede actions. [2005]

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Tbilisi, Georgia

Want to publish in the scholarly journal Children's Geographies? Here's an idea:  rooftops as play  space. Maybe it would be a short article, but not if you use the Republic of Georgia as your case study. [2015]

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Wemyss Bight, Eleuthera, The Bahamas

Physical geography: limestone. Biogeography: poinciana tree. Economic geography: fishing buoy. Cultural geography: Caribbean blue. Political geography: politics free! [2014]

Friday, August 14, 2015

Amsterdam, Netherlands

Reeves's pheasant: Their native habitat is in China. Almost by definition, that means they are somewhere on the road to extinction. Currently, they are classified as vulnerable. China has 1.4 billion people, which means that every species in the country, except for homo sapiens, should be classified as endangered. [2015]

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Bucharest, Romania

Here be bearded dragons. Their social nature makes them popular at zoos. In the wild, spikes scare away their enemies and long legs allow them to rise above the exceedingly hot desert floor. Bearded dragons have no economic value and neither does their habitat, the arid interior of Australia. That has kept them off the endangered species list. [2014]

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Granby, Quebec, Canada

One hundred years ago there may have been four million African elephants in the wild. Today, their numbers have diminished to no more than half a million. Since this is World Elephant Day, pair these facts with two others: (1) Elephants have no known predators except for man. (2) The population of Africa topped a billion in 2008. [2011]

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Haridwar, India

Are these amulets or just toys? They are for sale to the pilgrim market that comes to Haridwar, the Gateway to God, to pay homage to mother Ganaga and to bathe in the sacred River Ganges. See if you can find Ganesh, and when you do, remember that tomorrow is World Elephant Day. [2011]

Monday, August 10, 2015

Tel Aviv, Israel

Bowls of beads . . . different shapes.
What color makes . . . them all alike?
Sky ___ . . . Ocean ___.
Fill in the blanks . . . What say you?
[1997]

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Antalya, Turkey

While you are in Turkey, invest in an insurance policy, perhaps more than one. Buy a nazar boncugu. It will protect you against the evil eye and bring you luck. If you ever find it cracked, you will know it has done its job. Every culture has a talisman that does the same job. Ever hear of a rabbit's foot? [2014]

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Castletown, Isle of Man

Castletown is the fourth largest on the Isle of Man. It arcs around a picturesque harbor and, yes, there is a castle that lords over the town. The boats seen in the harbor today are used for fishing and recreation. [2011]

Friday, August 7, 2015

Brussels, Belgium

Almost half a million Moroccans live in Belgium, and many live here in Brussels, a Francophone city where it is easy to assimilate, at least linguistically. THE is thé, so this is a tea room, very popular with Moroccan men in Morocco and wherever you find Arab neighborhoods in Europe. [2015]

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Belize City, Belize

If you knew that Belize used to be British Honduras, you would be in a better position to understand Belize City's cultural landscape. See all the English language? Belize is an Anglophone country surrounded by Spanish-speakers, so guess what is happening to Anglophone monoglots. [2015]

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Pohang, South Korea

The tiger has become a symbol of the Korean nation. Here it has been stylized into a map of the Korean peninsula. If you find the tip of the Tiger's tail, you will have found this tiger's comfortable niche, Homigot Point on the East Sea. Homigot is the eastern-most headland on the peninsula, a place to go to watch the sun rise, especially on New Year's Day. [2012]

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Birmingham, Alabama, USA

It's so nice when somebody remembers your birthday! Five candles on the cake for five years of Geographically Yours, which was born on August 4, 2010. A picture a day for five years has given the world of landscape lovers 1,827 photos, all taken by me, D.J.Z. [2005]

Monday, August 3, 2015

Pemaquid New Harbor, Maine, USA

The famous lighthouse draws everyone down the peninsula to Pemaquid Point. Wise travelers, though, slow down and enjoy the cultural landscape along the way. The best place to get a feeling of a commercial fishing wharf is at New Harbor, where fresh fish and lobsters arrive daily from boats working the waters offshore. [2008]

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Tangier Island, Virginia, USA

No bridge or artificial causeway makes it possible to drive to Tangier. Its a real island, more like the ones you encounter off the coast of Maine. The islanders here must envy their Maine counterparts, however. Their islands have a hard-rock geology, while Tangier has a no-rock geology. As a result the island is slowly being eroded away. [2007]

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Panyee, Thailand

Of all the communities in Virginia, only the 700 people on Tangier Island in the Chesapeake Bay could relate to this. The folk of Panyee live on the water. All of their buildings (homes, stores, schools) are on stilts with water underneath. There is no level space by water's edge for them to occupy, so they occupy the water itself. [2011]