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Sunday, November 25, 2007

HIGH RISE....

"Up in the highrise, watching the girls eyes. Waiting to hear you, I am alive. Up in the highrise, tonight where the fun lies. Waiting I fear too...the elements rise."
This Picture from the album "City of Sin"
Image of Park Hill Flats above Sheffield Midland Train Station in the 1960s, taken by Flickr user sparkgap's dad.

Let's play word association...

"Tower blocks..."

Try to avoid the following images: lifts smelling of urine, fear of crime, Ronan Point, concrete, demolition, windows, nowhere to play...

Why has this image developed ? 'Is' this the image you had ?

The development company URBAN SPLASH has some intriguing web resources.

Several of their developments would be a useful counterpoint to the more negative images that people might have...

I used to live in Huddersfield, and just up from the road in Newsome where I lived was an old textile mill with a huge chimney which was sat empty, but would perhaps now have been redeveloped.

PARK HILL FLATS, Sheffield

Park Hill flats are an image I have seen regularly for the whole of my life: squatting on the hills on the approach to Sheffield. Have spent some time wandering and driving through them at intervals over the past few decades.

"Streets in the sky..." was the original plan.

This extract from an OPEN UNIVERSITY course document gives a good description of the plans (you can download this as a word file)

Each apartment had a front door which looked out onto a twelve-feet wide access deck ('street'), which ran from one side of the scheme to the other. Bridges carried the street through the entire scheme, allowing milk floats to trundle from door to door.

Jack Lynn was worried that the lobby space in other Modernist estates tended to become a no-man's land, serving neither public needs nor offering privacy to residents, and it was hoped that the 'streets' would solve this problem. He remarked enthusiastically on the different colours of linoleum at each doorstep as proof that residents' individuality was not being smothered by gargantuan surroundings.

But Park Hill's problems quickly became apparent. The streets allowed some of the worst aspects of urban life to remain (muggers found they made convenient getaway routes), whilst failing to preserve the better aspects.

They were never really streets in the real sense. Although the architects had included shops, a school, and a pub in order to create a distinctive community within the estate, the access decks were really just long walkways with none of the vibrancy, diversity, and organic feel of a city street which has grown and changed over decades or even centuries.

In the Unité d'Habitation in Marseilles, Le Corbusier had enclosed his streets within the building: in Sheffield they were left open on one side, and exposed to the less clement Yorkshire climate.



The idea was that the milkfloat would float along the streets

Read the text in the Urban Splash brochure to get a nice feeling for the importance of Park Hill flats.

Sheffield didn't just have Park Hill. There was also Kelvin Flats and Hyde Park Flats.

One of the best examples of a web resource which has the potential to be developed into the classroom is the website of Peter Jones, who lived in these flats.
His website, called 'STREETS IN THE SKY' is one that you must visit.

His story, which features his atmospheric photography and skilful line drawings can be viewed a the PARK HILL FLATS site. There are some rude words if that sort of thing offends you, but this is an absorbing read ! It has a lot of embedded geography.

Check out the WIKIPEDIA page, which suggests that Park Hill Flats are Europe's largest listed building...
Also check LEE GARLAND's photography page.

Plus FLICKR user Russel_photog's SET.

Urban Splash are now redeveloping PARK HILL. You can download the brochure I mentioned above (PDF download)

THE 3 TOWERS, Manchester

A great little site with sound effects and chunky music too has been produced by URBAN SPLASH.

LISTER MILLS, Bradford

Another of Urban Splash's projects.

Also don't forget the classic Geography Programme about Glasgow which features Basil Spence's designs, and the couple who live in them...

Noel Jenkins famously used audio powerpoint annotation to attach small WAV files to a powerpoint image of high rise buildings.

There are plenty of HIGH RISE and TOWER BLOCK resources on the web.

The site TOWERBLOCKS: covers the Sustainable Towerblocks initiative.

Also the PHOTO GALLERY here.

I think this idea has a lot of legs, and will be developing a unit on this for my new KS3 SoW, and adapting it for use with the new GCSE and also KS5 specifications.
Rebranding Places springs to mind...

Keep an eye out for something on this at the GA Conference... Potentially...

To be continued...

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19, 20, 21....The 192021 site looks at the growth of the world's cities, and the 19 cities with populations over 20 million in the 21st century.

Coming up to Christmas and one thing I'd like please is the poster of the world's 31 key buildings from SKYSCRAPER CITY.Some great information in the SKYSCRAPER CITY forums.

Also check out SKYSCRAPER NEWS.


A BBC News report also says that 'weather disasters are getting worse'. The number of weather based disasters has apparently quadrupled in the last 20 years.

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Saturday, November 24, 2007

Tesco have been trying to get a store approved in Sheringham, just around the Norfolk coast from where I live, for years. This week, the council voted to keep them out once again by 17 votes to nil.
The TESCNO blog has been tracking the progress for some time, and has lots of useful resources.
The Independent today picked up on the story.
It has also been reported on the CPRE website.
Today, as always, thousands of people will have spent millions of pounds at Tesco stores around the country.
There are plenty of anti-Tesco websites and campaigns.

A quick search reveals some intriguing geographical and economic details.
I came across a nice post on a blog by E Ryan from Warwick University (judging by the e-mail)
How much of this do you agree with ?

It is Tesco’s job to sell things.
They have done this well over the last few years they have therefore made profits and expanded.
That is what businesses are supposed to do.
I can remember when Tesco was smaller than the Co-op and less profitable than Sainsbury's if these businesses had been run better Tesco would not have had such an easy ride.

It is also Tesco’s job to compete with other Supermarkets.
Tesco should open as many stores as it feels it can make a profit with. If Tesco opening a store means for instance that a Sainsbury store loses business that is competition, the better store will prosper the other will close. It should not br the job of planner to decide if there are enough supermarkets or where they should be.
There is not much ( though admitttedly some) evidence that Tesco uses anti-competitive practices or abuses its market position. If it does they are legal remedies.
It is not Tesco’s job to ensure British farmers make a profit. That is the job of British farmers, if they cannot make a profit they should do something else. Similarly any other supplier should ensure they can make a profit on the price they get from Tesco.

Tesco should be trying to get the lowest possible price from its suppliers. The suppliers should be trying the get the highest price. If they cannot get the price they need stop supplying Tesco.

It is not Tesco’s job to keep local shops. That is the job of the local people, if they choose to use local shops they will make money and continue. Most people use a variety of shops, I buy my meat from my local butcher as it is cheaper and better quality than Tesco, I also shop at Aldi for its incredible prices and continental foods.

It is not Tesco’s job to ensure we eat a healthy diet. Tesco sell a wide range of food if we choose a breakfast of doughnuts washed down with Whisky that is our choice, they also sell muesli and skimmed milk.

I have no vested interest in defending Tesco indeed I boycotted them for several months following a piece of bad service. However it is unfair they get criticised for doing what they should be doing i.e. selling what the public wants to buy, and being good at it.

Did you go to Tesco today?

You should buy nothing today...

How easy is this to do ?
Check this BBC NEWS article.

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Sunday, November 18, 2007

The White Stuff
According to the BBC
Forecast for tonight....
and my Derbyshire correspondent informs me that there was some around 8pm tonight.

Spent a lot of time this weekend playing this game: one of my son's birthday presents - a version of Mouse Trap (except it's Rat Trap...)

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David Rogers has produced a very useful resource on teaching using ENQUIRY.
This presents some excellent ideas for using Enquiry as a basis for lessons which I intend to develop a little more into my KS3 thinking...

Check it out, and then tell David how useful you found it...


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Just back from a trip to York. Some new bits of the A1 now open after some years of engineering work...
Catching up with some interesting postings on Noel's DIGITAL GEOGRAPHY.
Some new Web 2.0 stuff.
Revision video podcasts
GIS ideas from a meeting at the RGS
An online photo editor called Picnik
Plenty of ideas on teaching GLOBALISATION.
Using music videos in class

Head over and check out the ideas now...

Just discovered why it's important to check your website server logs every day. I normally do this, but forgot on Friday. Turns out when I checked earlier today that an image on my website (actually a smallish (thankfully) version of one of Ian Murray's GEOGRAPHY PHOTOS ones) has been picked up (and used in a hotlinked version) by several Chinese news sites in an article on Chinese products being exported into the UK) - I'd had over 4000 visits that day, and 15% of my monthly bandwidth had gone in one day. Ooops. Needless to say that image is no longer on the site, and I'll have to dig into my pockets for excess bandwidth charges.

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Sunday, November 11, 2007

Free Rice Game
A new word game which helps provide FREE RICE for those who need it, via the United Nations.
Here's a screen shot from a game I played earlier... I carried on up to 1000 grains, which I presume is a reasonable number...
A secondary aim is to improve your vocabulary, which I think is an admirable idea...

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Saturday, November 10, 2007

More support from Government 'experts' for teachers... Cheers for that.

Just enjoying my Heima DVD, after spending last night listening to Hvarf/Heim CD.
Recommended...A great section with the sounds of a moving glacier, also a very non-vegetarian buffet !
Also just registered for BETT 2008 hoping to get to go to TEACHMEET08 only to see that it's on a Friday night. Will have to lurk again...

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Friday, November 09, 2007

Be a Flaneur for the day...

A flaneur is a word which you may not have heard before.
To be honest it's a tad pretentious, but I've never knowingly been unpretentious, so here goes...
It's someone who goes for a stroll through a city in order to 'experience' it.

Been browsing the Canadian online SPACING magazine which has some interesting features, one of which is some psychogeography.

There's also a great set of images showing a ROAD COLLAPSE.

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Thursday, November 08, 2007

East Coast on Flood Alert
The sandbags are going out in Great Yarmouth tonight in anticipation of a storm surge.
There are echoes of 1953, in the news reporting at least, and the whole of the Dutch coast is also on flood alert. We have low pressure, NW winds and a spring tide...
This BBC NEWS story mentions a number of places (worryingly, my home village is one of them)

Also tonight, make sure that you watch Newsnight for the Big Immigration Debate.Results of a large poll on people's views on immigrants.
Also check out the WORTH 1000 site which is an old favourite of mine... and features Photoshop manipulations of images.. Perfect for some intriguing starter images...
Also check out this great STRANGEMAPS post for a very useful image on the 'new' North South divide, which was also featured on the BBC News... Where is the North ?

Also get Rich Allaway's fab GEOGRAPHY POSTERS for your department....

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Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Autumn's here...

The pink footed geese are back - had about 4000 fly over the other night in a mass aerial onslaught of sight and sound, and this week it finally got cold enough to light the fires... Here's a shot of tonight's bad boy - "well in" as my granny used to say... (and still does) - got to love those tiles - one of my favourite bits of my house...
Also my copy of Atlas Schmatlas finally appeared... Great fun ! A good Christmas present for the open-minded Geographer in your life (contains some rude words and geographical irreverence...)

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Tuesday, November 06, 2007

This finally arrived in the department today...
Took a bit longer than I'd hoped to get it working tonight, but seems to work fine and good quality. Did my first bit of mixing and fading and adding music to voice podcast with some multi-track stuff....
Watch out for some new GeographyPages podcasts when I get a moment...

Oh, and my car broke down... D'oh !

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Monday, November 05, 2007

Just been listening to a remix of Francis Dunnery's "Feel like Summertime", with PJV (Peter John Vetesse) on keyboards on Frank's MY SPACE page.

Was searching through for some new materials tonight to fill in some gaps looking at modern models of urban land use. Forget BURGESS.
As Charles Rawding says, you can "CHUCK HIM IN THE BIN". (WORD Document)

Came across a great cartoon map on THIS AMERICAN SITE.NEW URBANISM or SMART GROWTH: a very useful National Geographic site.

BIG BANG campaign against CO2 emissions.

Fairly random stuff I'm afraid...

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Sunday, November 04, 2007

ROSLA Mark II

BBC NEWS article.

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Interested in new magnetic map on BBC website. Looks at magnetic anomalies around the world.

Enjoying browsing through THE WRONG KIND OF SNOW which has an accompanying website.

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Saturday, November 03, 2007

"This is not America" was the title of a single released by Pat Metheny, famous American jazzer I have mentioned before (recently treated myself to remastered Special Collectors Edition of "Secret Story") and David Bowie. It was part of the soundtrack to a film called "The Falcon and the Snowman" which featured Sean Penn.

A new video has been made in association with Disney called "Portraits of America". It is apparently used at places where people arrive in America, such as airports.
WATCH THE VIDEO
http://www.discoveramerica.com/
http://www.seeamerica.org/

There is one problem with it though. The clip which shows the Niagara Falls at one point is actually showing the part of the falls which is classed as being in Canada.

Sean Penn's latest film is called "Into the Wild" and is based on a book I read years ago by Jon Krakauer. It is about a young man called Chris McCandless who walked into the wild in Alaska and was found dead. Did he mean to stay ? Was he unlucky ? Why did he go to this remote part of the world ? What made him wander the world ?
Check the link for a good FLASH intro to the movie, and a trailer. Tasty...

And back in the UK...

Should Green Belt land be protected from development ?

What do you think ?

Off to a fireworks party and bonfire in a moment.
Worth considering this though...
A press release from DEFRA for today:

BONFIRE NIGHT SMOG WARNING

The combined effects of light winds and bonfire night celebrations may result in high levels of air pollution during the evenings this weekend in central and southern England, and elevated levels in South Wales.

For most people this is unlikely to have any short-term health effects, but some people, particularly those with asthma or other respiratory diseases, may find their symptoms worsen. Whilst levels of air pollution have fallen significantly in recent years there will always be occasions, such as bonfire night, when levels are higher than average. By taking sensible precautions, such as asthmatics remembering to carry their relief inhaler, everyone can still enjoy their evening.

High pressure centred over Central and Southern England, and much of Wales is expected to lead to light winds in England and Wales over the next few days. Combined with smoke from bonfires, which contain large amounts of fine particles (PM10), this may cause High (7-9) or Very High Pollution (10) in some locations, particularly close to bonfires. Hourly updates on levels of pollution are available on TELETEXT (page 156), the Internet www.airquality.co.uk or www.defra.gov.uk/environment/airquality/index.htm, and via Defra’s freephone helpline (0800 556677) which also offers health advice to those who may be particularly sensitive to air pollution.

When pollution levels are High sensitive people, who suffer from heart and lung diseases, especially the elderly, may notice significant effects. People noticing effects may have to take action to reduce or avoid them (for example by reducing time spent outdoors). Asthmatics will find that their relief inhaler is likely to reduce the effect of pollution on their lungs. Individuals suffering from asthma should, where possible, avoid exposure to smoke from bonfires. Healthy people should not be affected by the High pollution.

In northern England, Scotland and Northern Ireland where stronger winds and showers are forecast, air pollution is expected to remain low.

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Friday, November 02, 2007

Below is a picture taken of Captain Scott's Antarctic Party. Between November 1911 and March 1912 the sledging party made its way to the South Pole, and then tragically failed to make it back to a supply cache of food.Those doing Antarctica as their extreme environment will probably have referred to the extreme nature of the climate in that year, and the preparations that Scott made. They will also have compared the equipment and support available to today's visitors to the Polar regions which can make things easier (but not completely remove the risk). The book "The Coldest March" by Susan Solomon has an interesting (I believe the term is 'revisionist') approach which suggests that the temperatures were unseasonably low, which meant that the weight of the sledges was unable to melt the ice beneath the blades, and the men had to drag the sledges expending more energy and slowing their progress.

Scott's diaries were recently put on display in the British library.

The other day in my friendly local supermarket, I came across Huntley and Palmer's Captain Scott's Expedition Biscuits.
These are a replica of the biscuits that Captain Scott used, but the recipe has been changed to replace lard with vegetable oil.
I can report that they are delicious with a crumbly manchego and some grapes...

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