Thursday, June 30, 2016

Spanish Town, Virgin Gorda, British Virgin Islands

The horizon appears to be a good distance away, but there are still many hours of daylight left, and lots of islands to explore. Hope this craft is sturdy enough. [2014]

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Bath, England, UK

When you gaze into your crystal ball, what kind of future do you see? One in which the road rises up to meet you? One in which the wind is always at your back? One in which the sun shines warm upon your face? [2015]

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Raqqa, Syria

Fresh fish for sale in Raqqa even though it is hundreds of miles from the sea. Where did it come from? The nearby Euphrates. And, in that answer, is a key to understanding why the city is now the capital of a defacto state. [1993]

Monday, June 27, 2016

Tbilisi, Georgia

Filo dough.
Eat some, then go.
What's left, just throw.
Dessert for elfin sparrow.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

San José del Cabo, Baja California Sur, Mexico

There was a time when churches were surrounded by the neighborhoods they served. If people went to church, they had to walk. That resulted in a tight-knit settlement fabric. Then came the automobile, autocrat that it is! [2016]

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Gabrovo, Bulgaria

In the United States, more than one in ten weddings take place in June. In Bulgaria, May is the most popular wedding month. Saturdays, of course, are the days of choice. If you happen to be getting married today: Congratulations! [2014]

Friday, June 24, 2016

Singapore, Republic of Singapore

What would an urban planner call this? A signalized intersection: signals to regulate motor vehicle flow and signals to regulate pedestrian flow. The signals don't really do the regulation, though. People regulate themselves. In Singapore, they do a pretty good job, but in other parts of the world, that may not be the case. [2011]

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Caye Caulker, Belize

Caye: pronounced Key. Belize has tons of cayes, but this one actually has a resident population, albeit small, just like the island itself. Don't bother with a car; everything is within walking, cycling, or boating distance. As for getting here, take the water taxi or an airplane ride. [2015]

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Auckland, New Zealand

Wharves, backed by warehouses, backed by the business district: that was how the working waterfront used to be arranged. Now, port facilities in most cities have suburbanized just like everything else. So, when you see bulk cargo handling in the urban core, appreciate it as an anachronism. [2006]

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Malacca, Malaysia

People you meet in graveyards might be ghosts, so be careful! But, would a ghost be trying to find a renter for a flat in Malacca? Built by the Portuguese, St. Paul's was the first Christian church in Malaya. Today, its architectural shell and its graveyard are part of the historic core of the city. [2011]

Monday, June 20, 2016

Seoul, South Korea

In Korea,and everywhere in the Northern Hemisphere, it's the first day of summer. The seas should now be calm enough for the resumption of visitor trips to Dokdo Island in the East Sea. Images of Dokdo are all over Korea, but why? Here's a clue: The island appears as Takeshima on some maps. [2016]

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Istanbul, Turkey

It was called Constantinople for centuries. Now it is Istanbul. Why the change? According to toponymist George Stewart, Istanbul is "a name which a linguist can obviously recognize as a worn-down form of the original Constantinopolis." If you hear a different story, please correct the record. In 2010, the city was named a "European Capital of Culture." [2010]

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Amsterdam, Netherlands

Recumbent bikes: aerodynamically superior and easier on the tush.  But, would you ride something like this roadside in America? Perhaps not. In un-American Amsterdam, however, separate bicycle lanes make it not only possible, but safe. [2015]

Friday, June 17, 2016

La Paz, Baja California Sur, Mexico

Nuestra Señora de La Paz is one of 90 cathedrals in Mexico. The bishop here reports to the archbishop in Tijuana, who reports to the Pope in Rome. The system has been evolving and expanding geographically for two millennia, which makes the Roman Catholic Church a pioneer of globalization. Doubtful? Look up the meaning of "catholic." [2016]

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Brussels, Belgium

Thousands of homeless people are to be found in Brussels, but most take advantage of homeless accommodation services. Finding someone who is "homeless without shelter" is far less common than it is in the United States. [2015]

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

San Francisco, California, USA

There are well over half a million homeless people in the United States. Some are "homeless without shelter." These men, however, have built themselves a something temporary in a San Francisco alley where they are in full view of the Financial District: in sight, but still out of mind. [2016]

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Camp Hill, Pennsylvania, USA

In some countries, the national flag belongs to the government. In the United States, it belongs to the people. And, they find all sorts of ways to use it, including as a garden decoration. Happy Flag Day! [2014]

Monday, June 13, 2016

Washington, DC, USA

The Old Post Office in Washington, DC, is being turned into a luxury hotel by none other than The Trump Organization. Soon, Benjamin Franklin's signature presence may be trumped by someone else's signature presence. [2012]

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Austin, Texas, USA

After September 11, 2001, some urban geographers were predicting the end of the skyscraper. Two months later, the Frost Bank Tower was on the drawing boards. It was the first high-rise in the United States constructed after the attacks. It has since  been superseded in height by two other prominences in Austin alone. Old Glory will be not be intimidated! [2015]

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Alderson, West Virginia, USA

The Greenbrier River is both picturesque and accessible. Around its great meanders are narrow floodplains that have been colonized by campers who want to test their skills against the smallmouth bass that help keep West Virginia's tourist economy afloat. [2016]

Friday, June 10, 2016

Richmond, California, USA

It used to be a place to dump industrial waste. Now, it's a place to let your dogs off leash. Point Isabel Dog Park on San Francisco Bay may be the nation's largest. [2016]

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Lake St. Catherine, Louisiana, USA

This house is sited on a narrow barrier formation between two coastal lagoons: Lake Ponchartrain and Lake St. Catherine. By building on pilings, not only is there some protection from flooding, but the view is also better. Let's just hope the house is able to withstand hurricane-force winds. [2014]

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Biloxi, Mississippi, USA

Hurricane Katrina transformed the way we build along the coast. Even when a house is sited back from the shoreline itself, it must now be elevated in order to withstand flooding associated with a potential storm surge. [2009]

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Dauphin Island, Alabama, USA

There used to be a dune under this house: until Hurricane Katrina struck in 2005. It was built on pilings and survived, but many of its neighbors did not. If you must build along the coast, build behind the dunes, not on them. But still use stilts. [2005]

Monday, June 6, 2016

Cedar Key, Florida, USA

Building along hurricane-prone coasts in the era of sea level rise now requires an elevated level of thinking about human-environment relationships. The vertical dimension has been used for decades in the most vulnerable coastal areas, but now pilings are becoming the signature features of seaside residential developments everywhere. [1997]

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Stinson Beach, California, USA

Seawalls are loved by property owners and loathed by the public. Technically, in Marin County, they are discouraged because they "can be detrimental to maintenance of natural shoreline processes and can interfere with visual enjoyment and coastal access." Here is proof of the case. "All wrong" is all you can say about coastal development like this. [2016] 

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Hancock, Maryland, USA

Almost inexplicably, in a state that wasn't even a member of the C.S.A.....
Almost inexplicably, while Confederate flags are disappearing from America's public squares...
Almost inexplicably, as the Civil War's 150th anniversary came to a muffled end...
A Confederate battle flag was given new life on a main street in western Maryland. [2015]

Friday, June 3, 2016

Boston, Massachusetts, USA

On the south side of the Charles River is Boston's Back Bay neighborhood. On the north side is Cambridge and the campus of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology with its landmark dome. [2008]

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Branford, Connecticut, USA

Take a bite. Take geography. Learn to love the world. In our age of globalization, there could be no better investment in a child's future than studying geography in middle and high school.Treat them to the real Big Apple! [2008]

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Narragansett, Rhode Island, USA

Meteorological summer begins today, June 1. Soon, Rhode Island's South County beaches will be thronged with surfers first and then, as the water warms up, bathers. Astronomical summer won't begin for another three weeks, but by that time temperatures will be well on their way to mid-summer highs. [2006]