May 10 2012

The Geography of Internet Censorship

It’s amazing how human geography has been turned inside out by the Internet. The GeoPolitical side of the internet can be seen through censorship:

check out the article here


May 09 2012

Around The World in Under: a quick tour of the world


May 08 2012

Article: The Decline of Suburbia |

May 08 2012

Article: Map of 10,000 Tweets Shows New York City at Work: geotag example

A great example of geotagging in action here. Eric Fischer has mapped the geotags from Twitter to show New York’s social media backbone:

May 07 2012

Human Geography: Changing our future, the Anthropocene.

This great video quickly highlights how our human geography has shaped the world into a phased called the Anthropocene. Enjoy!


Jan 02 2012

AS Level Geography: Impacts and Management of an Ageing Population

In earlier posts, you have been able to understand how and why population changes. It is now time to learn how population can influence decisions made within the society. In these earlier posts, when the word ‘population’ had been used, I have analysed its number, stating why the population number changes. However, when analysing the management and impacts of population, it is not its number, but the sub-divisions within the population that count – ie whether its an ageing or youthful population. I shall, therefore, explain how the analysis of a population can influence key decisions within a society – ie the distribution of resources.

Ageing Population

An ageing population – a population whereby there is a higher proportion of older people (65+) than younger people (0-15). There are various impacts that an ageing population creates:

  • Increased pressure on public services – greater demand for hospitals and hospices to care for the elderly. Furthermore, more people are forced into caring for the elderly, which can also decrease social welfare for those giving unpaid care to loved ones.
  • Unequal distribution of population – Eastbourne is often seen as the butt of all jokes regarding an ageing population… and with good reason too! 44% of people who live in Eastbourne are over 65. The consequences of this is the services within this area are suited to elderly people, inadequate for younger people; ie – free bus pass for 65+, little bars and clubs.
  • Reduced population growth – The working population (15-65) consequently have fewer children due to already having older dependants in the family. (Although, one must note that this can be the norm and of tradition in some countries, especially in Asia).
  • Longer working life – the state pension (the pension given to the working population when retired) is low due to the proportion of retired people. As a result, older people are forced to work longer to build up their pension/savings to add to their state pension

Case Study: Ageing population – UK

The UK has now established an ageing population, known to be at stage 4 of the DTM. This means that birth rate and death will be of a similar low level, with life expectancy at an optimum point and more people continuing to live on into their old age. The statistics show that 10 million people are over 65 in the UK, with 5.5 million more expected by 2030. At this moment, 1 in 6 people are aged over 65; by 2050 this will be 1 in 4. Therefore, the UK can provide evidence for the impacts of an ageing population:

  • Pressure on pension system: There aren’t enough people of a working age to pay for an adequate and sustainable state pension for those retired. At this moment in the UK, 60% of the population pay taxes to the 16% that are retired. By 2030, only 56% of the population will be paying taxes towards 27% of the population that are retired.
  • More of the elderly forced into poverty – The state pension, being such a low amount, forces people to work longer or rely on savings, however, some people simply do not have the means to rely on such savings. As a result, some elderly people have stopped paying for such amenities as heating, which can have very harmful effects on health.
  • Pressure on health service – often, elder people are in greater need of medical attention and assistance than younger people. In 2007, the average number of nights spent by 75+ was 13, whereas the UK population as a whole was 8.

With the impacts of an ageing population understood, it is the job of various jokers, I mean politicians to manage these impacts and decrease their effects. These are the various ways in which people have dealt with an ageing population in the past:

  • Encourage larger families – Larger families means more younger people, decreasing the impacts of an ageing population. The Swedish government, for example, encouraged larger families by offering both parents 18 months leave for a child.
  • Raising retirement age – By raising the retirement age, more people are classed within the working population which raises the state pension for those retired.
  • Encourage immigration of working population – With more people contributing to the state, more people are paying taxes into the country which will raise the state pension for those retired, reducing the impact of an ageing population (less elderly people in poverty).
  • Increasing health care provision – With more people trained as carers, more hospices and hospitals, the problem of poor health and poverty within the elderly is eased at least.

Once again the UK as a case study can be used as evidence for how an ageing population is managed:

  • Age of retirement age is increased – Currently, the age of retirement in the UK (as I know it!?) is 65 for both men and women (women increased from 60 to 65 in 2010). This is set to increase to 68 by 2045 if current legislation stays the same – do they ever stay the same?!?!
  • Encourage immigration – The Labour government set out ‘unlimited immigration’ to those countries who joined the EU in 2004 – eg Poland. This increases the size of the working population, which increases the state pension for those retired.
  • Encourage women to have children – New UK pension proposals state that women will not lose out on state pensions in any way if maternity leave in pursued. David Cameron has also hinted to create a ‘marriage benefit’, increasing the amount of families in the UK.

My next post will predictably be of the same sort, yet on the subject of a Youthful population.

Aug 06 2011

Population Indicators: The core part of your (Human) Geography AS Level.

The core section of the AS level Specification is Population – You will all need to know it inside and out. There are also core parts of the population section that you all need to know the ins and outs of, even if they seem very basic.

These are known as population indicators; essential to your understanding and development through the AS level course. Therefore KNOW THEM, by heart in any way you can.

First of all, know their definitions:

Birth Rate – Number of live births per 1000 people, per year.

Death Rate – Number of deaths per 1000, per year.

Fertility Rate – Average number of children a woman will have between her reproductive years (15-44).

Infant Mortality Rate – Number of Children, out of every 1000 born alive, who die before their first birthday.

Life Expectancy – Average age a person can expect to live.

Migration Rate – Difference between the number of people who migrate in (immigrants) and number of people who migrate out (emigrate) per 100,000 of the population, per year.

Population Density – Number of people per square kilometre. Total Population divided by the size of the area in kilometres.

Now, the 2 most important indicators are birth and death rates, acting as ‘controllers’ over the remaining indicators. For example, an LEDC such as Ethiopia has a very high birth rate (35 per 1000) and a relatively high death rate (20 per 1000). Birth rate remains high as there is little birth control in the country, meaning that fertility rate is high. Death rate remains high; therefore life expectancy will be lower; edging towards the fact that the standard of healthcare is low. As the heathcare standard is low, this will also hint that the infant mortality rate of the country will be high too.

With birth and death rates, one can also state the changes in population over time. If birth rate > death rate, population increases. It is a common knowledge that if a country is to develop, it’s population must increase. However if death rate > birth rate, population decreases. The most developed countries in the world, Germany and Japan for example, now find a decrease in population. A reason for this may be due to the fact that it is no longer essential for one to have a family; the status of a woman has changed, gone are the days of a ‘housewife’. Therefore, it is no longer ‘fashionable’ to have children, for example.

One is able to see that from having the birth and death rates of a country, the standard of development of a country or area is easily predicted.

In my next post, one is able to see these indicators ‘in action’ through the use of a revolutionary and, arguably, useful model.


Jul 22 2011

Trade from USA to China?

It seems like these days, everything that we own is imported from China, the infamous “Made in China” comes of no surprise to anyone on any product these days. However, there’s a company in the USA that appears to be reversing this trend.

With China being the biggest user of chopsticks, the demand for chopsticks is, unsurprisingly, very high. Now, maybe here in the UK, people are used to the chopsticks that we see in Chinese restaurants, made of the plastic-like material. However, wooden chopsticks are the most common type of chopsticks across China, and in fact the whole of Asia. From my experience of when I’ve been in Asian countries such as the likes of China, Malaysia and Taiwan, wooden disposable chopsticks are given out just like plastic forks or spoons are given out here when having take aways.

Nevertheless, you may expect China, with their low labour costs (that are ever so famous) to be a better supplier of chopsticks rather than some American company. However, there’s another crucial part in the production of chopsticks, the wood. The poplar tree, which is in plentiful in Georgia, is the perfect wood for chopsticks for various reasons; the wood is not too hard and not too soft, does not require bleaching due to the perfect colour. Georgia Chopsticks is currently producing at 2 million chopsticks a day (wow!), but on the other hand, with China using disposable chopsticks at a high rate daily, Georgia Chopsticks are planning to import machinery that will allow them to produce at 10 million a day. (even more wow!)


More can be found on the news article here.

Jul 18 2011

2011 Index of Economic Freedom – International Countries


A little while back I found an interesting article on Tutor2u about this index which ranks 183 countries on measures such as trade freedom, investment freedom, business freedom, and property rights. The index divides countries up into five categories, based on their scores (shown below);

Interestingly, there are only 6 countries that are defined as “FREE” (score of 100-80, in the green); including Hong Kong (no. 1), Singapore, Australia, New Zealand, Switzerland and Canada. The full rankings can be found on the Heritage Foundation’s website, along with the ability to compare the freedom of countries together, which I used to compare the freedom scores between the UK (no. 16), World average, Hong Kong (no. 1) and North Korea (Lowest at no. 179 as no results for 4 countries including Iraq, Afghanistan, Sudan and Liechtenstein).

Red – Hong Kong
Blue – United Kingdom
Black – World Average
Yellow – North Korea

Above shows the results of this comparison, the blue line corresponds to the United Kingdom, and interestingly we can see that in the recent years coming out of recession, our economic freedom has reduced quite heavily compared to that of Hong Kong’s which didn’t seem to be that heavily affected at all by the recession (in relation to economic freedom that is). You can compare your own countries here.

Another interesting thing taken from the post on Tutor2u is to look at the relation between Economic Freedom and Life Expectancy;


And what a surprising result this statistic shows, eh?

Jul 14 2011

Geography of UK Crime: Are you safe?

“]Geography of UK Crime

Public data has gone from strength to strength in the past decade and today saw the release of the annual British Crime Survey for 2010/11 results. This survey has led to to some interesting reading, with an interactive map making the data that little bit more interactive. All of the geographic data used to make this interactive map is available from the Home OfficeWebsite and has been created using Google Fusion tables.

Holistic facts from the data are as follows:

• 9% fall in vandalism as measured by the BCS
• 13% fall in criminal damage and 9% drop in car crime on the police figures
• The murder rate in England and Wales rose from 618 to 642 homicides in 2010/11, which included the 12 victims of the Cumbria shootings in June 2010
• Sexual offences as recorded by the police rose by 1%.
• The BCS estimated there were 9.6m crimes in 2010/11 compared with 9.5m the year before. Police recorded 4.2m offences, a 4% fall compared with 4.3m the previous year and its lowest level since 2002

[Source: Guardian Data Blog]

How does the crime geography of your local area look? Could you make better GIS use of this data? Let us know!

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