Monday, February 22, 2016

"Human Geography: Chapter Nine", "How a Brazilian City Has Revolutionized Urban Planning", "Mapping the Great Housing Divide", "America's Great Fitness Divide", and "What Snow Tells Us About Creating Better Public Spaces in Philadelphia"

Conner Lewis
February 23

"China: Beijing issues historic 'red alert' as pollution levels soar" - RT
          The city of Beijing wanted to have both an industrial and clean city but their industry created too much pollution, causing Beijing's air to become potentially dangerous, so the city decided to come up with a solution which could push smog away from the city, in an effort to preserve its industry, then they came up with the idea of making ventilation corridors which run along key paths through the city such as roads and subways in an effort to use the wind as well as the geography of the city to push the smog away from Beijing.

In the north east, a distinct variation between city planning can be seen between newer cities designed with grid systems, along with the zoneation of industries and services, cities such as New York, as opposed to older cities such as the neighborhoods of Cape Cod which has a much more unorganized design, along with less zoneation.
 Concentric Zone Model:

Developed by Ernest Burgess, North American Cities

The Burgess model most aptly applies to Chicago, despite Lake Michigan, and other North American cities. Long range commerce takes place in the CBD, Businesses with long range threshold. Most expensive places are in the middle at the CBD. People don’t usually live in the CBD. CBD does not have a night life. Around the CBD is the transitional zone, with poor housing, immigrants, and factory abandonment. These areas are drying up in places cities want to live. Next is the working class zone, with single family tenants for single workers. The next residential zone is single family homes nearing the end of the city. Then the commuter zone is essentially the surrounding suburbs of the city.

                                     Sector Zone Model

Designed by Homer Hoyt, North American City

The CBD is in the center of the city, with the tallest buildings. Then there is a stretch of factories and industry which in Denver follows I25, adjacent to low class residential housing. Perpendicular off of the CBD is the High Class Residential area, which goes straight out of downtown and then gets wider as you go out. Around the high class but next to the low class residential houses are the middle class residential areas.

Multiple Nuclei Model
Designed by Chauncy Harris and Edward Ullman, North American City

The CBD is around the center, next to the wholesale area, which is warehouses and light factories. Around it is the low class residential, adjacent to the medium class residential. South of the low class residential is the heavy manufacturing. Next to the middle class is the high class residential, and between them is the outlying business district. South of the high class residential is the residential suburbs. North of the wholesale area is the industrial suburbs.

Latin American City Model 

Designed by Ernst Griffin and Larry Ford, Latin American City

The nicest homes are the closest homes to the CBD in the Elite sector. The middle class is in the center as they value the older parts of the city more. The places further outside are squatter residences and poor residential areas. The disamenity are is poor neighborhoods with no services.

Subsaharan City Model 

E. H. Fouberg, A. B. Murphy, H. J. de Blij, and John Wiley & Sons, Subsaharan African City

This model has a mining and manufacturing zone, as the cities are there for the mine. The neighborhoods are divided ethnically. The outer satellite townships are similar to squatter areas. The colonial CBD and traditional CBD form one larger CBD. All third world countries have a market zone, especially near the CBD.

 Southeast Asia City Model

Designed by T.G. McGee, Southeast Asian City

The Southeast Asian City Model has a port zone from colonialism, as well as the Alien Commercial city zone which is nothing but Chinese merchants. Further out there are suburbs next to squatters, and further from that there are market gardening zones where food for the city is grown. There is also a new industrial zone farther out that the market zone.

Human Geography: Chapter Nine
How a Brazilian City has Revolutionized Urban Planning
Mapping the Great Housing Divide
America's Great Fitness Divide
What Snow Tells Us About Creating Better Public Spaces in Philadelphia

Essay Question:  What do Human Geography: Chapter Nine, How a Brazilian City has Revolutionized Urban Planning, Mapping the Great Housing Divide, America's Great Fitness Divide, and What Snow Tells Us About Creating Better Public Spaces in Philadelphia say about what the model of a city can tell about its area?

          Although not easily discernible on the ground level, the model of an areas standard city can actually show a lot about that areas past as well as present. The way a city forms, along with how it grows and changes its environment over time, is directly tied to the attitude and ideology of its people, along with their past and present identity. It is also tied to that areas economic and political situation and, in a sense, is a reflection of the people who live there. In Human Geography: Chapter Nine, several different models for very different parts of the world, along with a description of the processes and the nature of cities themselves, as well as how they grow and change over time to reflect the people living in them. The video How a Brazilian City Has Revolutionized Urban Planning is a perfect example of how a city can not only reflect its people, but also how a change in the city can cause a change in the attitude of its citizens as well. The article Mapping the Great Housing Divide discusses how America's class divide is no longer just seen between cities and suburbs, but also within cities themselves, from block to block, as a reflection of the economic situations within the country. The next article, America's Great Fitness Divide, is a great article in showing how correlations can occur as cities begin to reflect the attitude of their people in more way than one, as well as how cities can often bring many people who bear the same attitude together, leading to agglomerations of certain industries, people, and other unique features. The final article, What Snow Tells Us About Creating Better Public Spaces in Philadelphia, shows how a city can also be used to reflect habits in more ways than one. All of these sources combine to help prove the point that cities reflect their people directly, from their actions, to their beliefs, to even their economic stand point, and for this reason it is important to study cities more.
          In Human Geography: Chapter Nine, many different aspects of life and development in an urban environment are discussed, with a particular notice on how different models represent the standard development of cities in different areas due to a difference in the people's past and present situation. These models include three models of North American cities, the concentric, multiple nuclei, and sector city models, along with three city models from periphery regions around the world, being the Latin American, Sub-Saharan, and Southeast Asian city models. Each one of these models reflects the areas past, along with the current people's identity. One great example is the Sub-Saharan city model, which perfectly depicts both the past and present situation in Africa through its various and distinct zones. In the model, there are two central business districts, the traditional and colonial. The traditional is the one which was present before European colonialism in the 19th century, and shows how many modern cities are built on the foundations of much older historical cities. The second CBD is the colonial one, which is much more orderly and structured, as well as being more centered and connected to the rest of the city. This is the district constructed by Europeans as they colonized and began to order their colonies like their cities in Europe in a grid manner. These two features are able to perfectly represent two key factors of each Sub-Saharan cities past, which is that of its history as a precolonial city, and that of a colony under European sovereigns. Both of these CBDs are adjacent to a second important feature of all Sub-Saharan city, which is the market. The market is a common feature in almost any African city, town, or village, and is where one can buy almost anything they would need off of the streets from vendors. This shows how drastically the African and European beliefs in regard to business differ, as in many core states, business is conducted orderly through set laws and stores, with many regulations and lots of structure. In Africa, however, it is more open with regards to how and where a person can sell there goods, with less zoneation as well as a more open belief in free trade, bartering, and haggling. The next ring which surrounds all three of these areas is made up of many different ethnic neighborhoods, which reflects the diversity in culture as well as the divides along these cultures which are so common in Africa due to the lack of communication between peoples for so long. Beyond this can be found mining and manufacturing businesses, which is something which may seem very odd to people from core regions, but which is the result of Sub-Saharan African colonization. When Europeans colonized Africa, they did so primarily for the ability to access the abundant natural resources of the area, and for this reason most major cities were established in resource rich areas with the sole purpose of extracting local resources. This meant that the cities which developed were there only to work at the mines and then ship the resources off to Europe. Due to this, nearly every Sub-Saharan city has at least some mining within city limits, which to any American or European would seem insane, as these are seen as unclean and not fit for cities, while in Africa it is simply seen as part of the reason to have cities, so that there are enough jobs to work the local mines and factories. The final ring around the city, the informal satellite townships, are essentially slums which inevitably develop around the cities, as a result of to low of wages and not enough houses, depicting the economic situation common of the Sub-Saharan area. While all three of the North American models are different, and can certainly be applied to different cities, they all tend to follow a single trend. There is always a single CBD, around which most of the city is connected. This CBD is a representation of the downtown where few people live, but rather where people must commute to for work. Usually attached to the CBD in some way, there is a strip or block of industrial factories and warehouses, which are then surrounded by low class residential areas. This is a reflection of the Western belief that areas near industry are worth less due to things such as noise and air pollution, and also the belief that industrial jobs are lower paying than say white collar jobs. This belief is also reflected in the fact that the high class residential areas are usually as far from the industrial zones as possible, while typically still being connected to the CBD for work. Between the low and high class residential zones is the middle class zone, acting as a gradient between lower and higher class economic standards, which partially represents the large middle class population common in most North American cities. Finally, rather than being surrounded by slums and ghettos, most North American cities are surrounded by wealthy to middle class suburbs, due to the large suburbanization which has occurred across the US over the past couple decades. This suburbanization is also a representation of the
American love of the automobile, as well as the general disuse of large scale public transportation, at least compared to areas such as Europe. America's love for the automobile has aided in the creation of such large urban sprawls, and also partially developed as a result of the sprawl. As Americans began to spread their cities out more and more due to the desire for large lots as well as personal homes, the required ownership of cars began to increase, as people began to be farther and farther from their place of business. This led to the large scale use of the automobile, which is an example of how a city can also reflect upon its people. The next two models follow the same method as the Sub Saharan model, showing the effects of colonialism on the region. The Southeast Asian model in particular represents two important aspects of the region, one is that the port is the lifeline of much of the city, and secondly that many of the natives can actually be found farther from the wealthier regions near the port, where more foreigners live. Both of these are due solely to the effects of colonization, as the Europeans set up cities to once again transfer resources through the port back to Europe, while also allowing for trade to take place near the port. This led to most of the wealth flowing through the city to be near the port, which is also where most merchants went, leading to this gap between the wealthy merchants and the poorer natives. This can still be seen today through the existence of areas dedicated to Chinese culture and shops, as China dominates the region economically and politically. The Latin American model represents in a similar fashion the importance of the CBD to wealthy citizens, as well as the importance of industry to the lower class ones. It shows how nearly all wealthy citizens crowd around the CBD of the city as that is where the wealth is agglomerated, and on the opposite end crowd the poorer citizens. This, along with the smaller middle class, shows the large divide between the poor and rich in Latin America, as the CBD is solely a place for wealthy business, and the industry is that for the poorer population. All of these models accurately and easily depict the differences in ideology and culture between the regions they can be found, and this is why it is important to know how cities in different areas form as it can provide insights into the area and its people.

          Continuing on the discussion which was held earlier on how the American love for the automobile in part caused and was caused by the development of large urban sprawls, one city in Brazil, Curitiba, is a clear representation on how changing a city can also change the people who live in it. By removing many streets, adding in a more extensive public transportation system, and installing large parks to surround much of the city, the mayor Jaime Lerner was able to change the attitude of the people of Curitiba into one which accepts the concept of public transport as well as walking to destinations from one which was constantly causing massive traffic jams due to the levels of traffic in the area. This, along with the practice of trading produce for trash in poorer neighborhoods, has led to a cleaner more efficient city. By progressively attempting to make his city more sustainable, Lerner was able to change the attitude of the city to be one more open to new ideas as well as one more concerned with the welfare and sustainability of the city. The next article, Mapping the Great Housing Divide, highlights how the divide between classes in America is growing larger and larger. The article notes how before, this separation could really only be seen in how the wealthy and upper middle class tended to live in the suburbs, and the middle to lower classes lived in the city, but as the issue worsens divides can be seen more clearly even in the city. Different neighborhoods of each city is slowly starting to see itself on one side of a divide which is that of those neighborhoods skyrocketing in value, and those plummeting. This is the latest result of an issue which has been plaguing America for a while, which is that of how as the class divide grows larger and larger, the notable difference in living conditions grows ever clearer. This is an example of how economic factors can be clearly represented in cities, and can be used to depict issues in modern day society through the examination of the conditions of our most populous areas. This is another way through which cities can depict an area's situation. America's Great Fitness Divide is an article which discusses the correlation of a cities rank on the American Fitness Index with other key factors, from income per capita to human capital. It found that things which are generally positive, such as high income per capita, a large high tech industry, large college graduate populations, and high levels of innovation (measured through numbers of patents made) were also common in cities with better Fitness Indexes. This correlation can be attributed to the attitude of more educated peoples, as well as being a depiction of how cities will often be comprised of like minded individuals. The reason for this is that people who grow up in a city will generally adopt the attitude of that city towards certain issues, and then like minded individuals from other areas will move in, while the minority dissent will start to trickle out. This leads to the creation of trends across cities, as they adopt a largely unanimous attitude towards certain things due to the creation of a single general ideology across the city. This is clear depiction of how cities model can be used to glean information about its people, as through this study it can be found that if a city has high amounts of high tech industry, it will usually have high income per capita along with a good fitness index. This is another reason that the study of city models is important. The final article What Snow Tells Us About Creating Better Public Spaces in Philadelphia, discusses how the study of areas of snow not affected by cars or traffic in the city of Philadelphia on the road has led to the better understanding of driver habits in the city, allowing for the creation of better road designs to be discovered. This an important way through which a city can represent its populace's habits, as it can depict where its people drive and park, and where they avoid. While not as mind blowing as learning other facts, it is simply another way through which a city can reflect the attitude and personality of the people who live in it.
          All of these articles further depict how cities are representations of the attitudes and beliefs of those who live in it. Chapter Nine brought forth the models which were very clear depictions the differences between the different regions they represented, while the video How a Brazilian City Has Revolutionized Urban Planning showed how a city can reflect itself on its people as well. The articles Mapping the Great Housing Divide, What Snow Tells Us About Creating Better Public Spaces in Philadelphia and America's Great Fitness Divide all showed how a city represents both the attitude, background, ideology, and even economic situation of those who live in it. Through all of this it can be seen that the study of cities is very important, as it can provide key insights into the personality of the people who live in them.

Extra Credit: 

This video discusses how urban geographers are now using 3d technology to lay out urban planning on a more interactive and dynamic program, as well as using it to plan on a much larger scale than before.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Research Book Post #5

February 1

Book: Empires of the Word: A Language History of the World by Nicholas Ostler

Section: The rest of Chapter 3 and the beginning of Chapter 4 (Page 110 to 140)

The Glamour of the Nomad and the Triumph of Fertility

     This section concludes Chapter 3 by discussing the polarity between the Assyrians and Arabs, who both gave credit to their language through opposite ways. Assyrians attempted to show the worldly and brutal strength of their kings, while Arabs attempted to market their language, at least after the initial conquests, as the language of Allah and of the one true faith. One reason Arabic has spread is due to the appeal of the danger and mystique the Arabic language has gained in terms of prestige, which is simply due to its recent history in the Middle East. The book describes how the spread of Arabic on the back of Islam can be seen as the culmination of the three largest previous Semitic languages combining. It had the abstract theology of Jews and Hebrew, the embracing inclusiveness of the Aramaic Christians, and the military momentum of the Akkadian Assyrians.
      The next chapter discusses the similarities between Chinese and Egyptian, which both established strong power bases where their use of universal, however neither managed to spread their language from this base very far, despite controlling this base for thousands of years. Both had three long periods of unity, interspersed with times of civil unrest and alien occupation, with the Old-Middle and New Kingdoms of Egypt, and the Shang and Zhou, then first Empires of Qin and Han, followed by the Second Empires of Sui, Tang, and Song in China. Both formed around a single river, the Nile for Egypt and the Huang-He (Or Yellow River) for Chinese. Egyptian united early along the entire Nile river valley, and its extent remained the same for almost 4000 years. Over these years, vernacular language, not written language, changed, much like Anglo-Saxon to Middle English did. It was also found that large amounts of immigrants from the Berber(esque) speaking Libyans to the Kushites of the south did not affect the Egyptian language in any meaningful way, despite both
Demotic (or "popular") script
groups having periods of time in which they controlled the kingdom. The Egyptians did eventually conquer Palestine and Syria in thirteenth century, BC, however despite this all correspondence between the Pharoah and his foreign vassals was in Akkadian, not Egyptian. Egyptian finally met its match after being conquered by the Greeks under Alexander the Great, along with the Ptolemeic successors, who managed to rid Egyptian from the high strata of society, using Greek for nobility and Aramaic for administration, leaving Egyptian for commoners. Christianity under the Romans eventually led to the suppression of hieroglyphics after 3500 years, and with it the end of mainstream ancient Egyptian, as the other forms of Egyptian writing, such as demotic, died out soon after. Despite this, Christianity also led to the survival of Egyptian, as Egyptian adopted the Greek alphabet and added 6 new letters from demotic to form the Coptic alphabet in an effort to adapt Egyptian to a more similar writing system.
     The Chinese language is seen as part of the Sino-Tibetan language family, although often as a distinct branch due to its differences. Like Egyptian, its first writing was pictographic in nature, found on things such as tortoise shells, meant to visually represent the things they described, much
Evolution of Chinese
like early cuneiform ancestors. Chinese initially spread southwards from the Yellow River in an effort to find more fertile soil to increase the population, into the Yue peoples of the south. Chinese was first standardized under the First Emperor, who united all Chinese states for 11 after initially being the king of Qin, which is how China (Qin - a) gets its name. Chinese was standardized under the far western and conservative dialect of the Qin, along with being affected by the Turkish speakers in the Xiongnu tribes in what is modern day Mongolia.
     The chapter goes on to discuss the Farmer's Way which was previously mentioned, discussing how the languages of states such as China and Egypt spread not through conquest like the Assyrians or the initial Arabs, but rather through the slow and steady economic rise in status, as well as a the rise in population and influence. Both prove that the power of steady growth can even overcome the strength of military might, as can be seen by how Chinese persevered through the conquests of Turkic Nomads such as the Mongols, who had little effect on the language.

Research Book Post #4

February 1

Book: Empires of the Word: A Language History of the World by Nicholas Ostler

Section: More of Chapter 3 (Page 80 to 110)

Aramaic, Religion and Language, and the Spread of Arabic

The Aramaic Alphabet
     This part of the chapter discusses how Aramaic became so popular among the different states of the Middle East for so long. It became most popular due to a system first used by the Persians under Darius, through which he could communicate with all of his subjects even if he did not know their language. Darius and other Persian kings would speak in Persian to Aramaic speaking scribes, who would then write the letter in Aramaic and send it on a postal service, after which it would be picked up by the scribe on the receiving end, who would then read it to their master in their native tongue. This allowed for ease of communication despite language barriers through the use of intermediaries. This was so popular it was adopted by the Egyptians and they began their conquests up into the Near East, as they needed a way to communicate with their new found subjects. It was also the system used by Alexander the Great and his Diadochi successors, despite their attempts to replace Aramaic with Greek, an effort which failed in much of the Mesopotamia and Jordan, but effectively wiped Aramaic from Anatolia and Iran. Aramaic was so pervasive that it even survived in India, where the king Ashoka would have some of his engravings written in Aramaic alongside other languages.
     The chapter then goes on the discuss how many languages in the Near East survived by tying themselves to a single religion. This is the case with Egyptian (or Coptic) tying itself to the Coptic Christian faith, Syriac with the Nestorian faith (in fact Aramaic owes its entire continued existence to the perseverance of modern Nestorian communities), Hebrew with Judaism, and even Arabic with Islam. Early Christians spoke Aramaic, however the New Testament was written in Greek. Despite this, it was translated into Syriac, a dialect of Aramaic, in an effort to spread Christianity to the east, where most people spoke forms of Aramaic. Through the method of tying language to religion, a language could survive even if other institutions supporting it should fail, through continued dedication to the faith they were tied to under its holy scriptures and preaching. This is exactly why Pennsylvanian Dutch, (aka Old German) has persevered in Amish communities in the US. To go along with the Hunters and Farmers strategies, this is described as the 'Shield of Faith' strategy.
     The rest of this section goes on to discuss how Arabic spread so rapidly on the backs of Islam and the conquests of Muhammed. It spread with its faith, as Muhammed declared that the Quran and daily prayers could only be written and read in Arabic (unlike Christianity), however an interesting phenomena occurred. It was found by many newly conquered peoples that Arabic was what they called an eloquent language, and many converted based solely on the fact that the words spoken seemed to have had to have been divinely inspired. Another interesting phenomena was that it was found that a single, noble Arabic existed in many regions to be used by the nobility, however hundreds of vernacular and small regional dialects began to appear under the large Arabic language. Another interesting factor was that Arabic was unable to penetrate Iran at all, because even though they were successful initially, the introduction of the Seljuk Turks to the region through conquest causes all their advances to fade away. Despite the Turks speaking Turkish, when the Turks first interacted with Islam and converted, they saw it as an extension of Persian, as Persians were with whom they interacted. This led the Turks who later conquered much of the Muslim world to return Persian as the language of administration in much of their empires, seeing it as what they believed to be the language of Islam. The Turks, too, held on to Turkish despite conversion. Arabic did, however, find success with the Berbers, by merging Arabic with their Punic (descended from Phoenician) languages. Despite this, many Berbers maintained their languages despite conversion, using Arabic solely as their language of faith. This ended when the Banu Hilal descended on the Berber kingdoms of North Africa and wiped them out, except for the Tuaregs of the Sahara.

Research Book Post #3

February 1

Book: Empires of the Word: A Language History of the World by Nicholas Ostler

Section: More of Chapter 3 (Page 50 to 80)

The Rise and Fall of Sumerian, Akkadian, and Aramaic

     This part of the book chronicles how for a long time, scholars believed Akkadian to be the first written language, or at least the first one known, until they uncovered Sumerian in a library of Nineveh in 1875. They found it to be older than Akkadian, and discovered that it had pioneered cuneiform first, to be later adopted by Akkadian and adapted to its use. The native lands of Sumer were conquered by the Akkadian speaking Assyrians, resulting in a bilingual stage between the two languages. This is due to the complicated relationship between cuneiform and how the Akkadians attempted to adapt their completely unrelated language to Sumerian writing. It has been found that Sumerian had a "fine tongue" for woman, and a "princely tongue" for men, which while not too different, were different enough to warrant separate dictionaries for both. Sumerian lost ground to Akkadian, despite its use by scholars, due to the fact that most of the foreigners moving in to Mesopotamia to trade were Semetic tribesmen, whose languages were mutually intelligible with Akkadian. This led to even native Sumerians to have to speak Akkadian if they wished to trade, leading to the eventual loss of speaking Sumerian as a vernacular language. Akkadian was seen as a dialect of Sumerian due to its writing being the same, despite their complete lack of relations. Eventually, Sumerian would fall as simply the language of the classroom and mathematics in Akkadian society, and as Akkadian fell to Persians and Greeks, so did Sumerian. Another language often overlooked is Elamite, which was founded and used in the city of Elam in modern day Fars, Iran. It had a long lifespan under its independent state, until Persia conquered it and made it the language of the administration for a century, causing it to flourish until later kings switched to Aramaic. Akkadian spread under the success of Sargon of Akkad, a city now lost to us, who managed to unite much of Mesopotamia and start the cycle of different Akkadian dynasties taking over the entire region for several centuries until being overthrown by another. Akkadian spread under the likes of Babylon and Assyria, and eventually these two cities would develop their own distinct dialects of Akkadian, each of which would be used for several centuries. It eventually died out at the peak of its power under Assyrian rule, due to the Assyrian military policy. It lost out to Aramaic, a language of relatively illiterate tribesmen, not because of its alphabet, but rather due to the fact that Assyrians preferred to take conquered Aramaeans and spread them around the state to encourage a melting pot of cultures. This lead the huge population of moved Aramaeans to continue to speak their language until it replaced Akkadian as the vernacular, despite its lack of support from the ruling caste. Languages such as Phoenician would spread into the Mediterranean until eventually losing out to Latin and Greek as they were slowly replaced as the lingua franca of the region.