Tag Archives: geography

Bicing, Casual Sociology

I also posted this on our family blog, but as it has a dose of casual sociology, here goes also.  You can never turn off your social science brain once you have spent enough time reading theory.

Bicing is Barcelona’s bike sharing program and network. You get a card.

I keep my card in my wallet, but I have to remember to take my wallet out of my back pocket.

Now you can go to a station and grab a utilitarian bike.

Bicing is run by the city government, the ajuntament.

You pay 30Euros a year (about $42) a year for the card, and then 0.5E per thirty minutes of use up to three hours. You get to swipe your card on the little screen at the station.

Now, of course, Barcelona, as a transportation network, has a long history of technological changes layered on top of prior technology and intersecting with growth, redesign, and social trends. The old quarter, with its narrow, byzantine streets had to adapt from foot and hoof traffic to cars, the 19th century, the “expansion” or “Eixample” in Catalan (clever name there), was built for trams and trolleys, many of which disappeared to be replaced by the metro, buses and gas cars. Although, the trams have sort of made a comeback with these newly installed beauties.

They are often installed on the old lines on the broad avenues, like that other exemplar of functional industrial nomenclature asethetics, “Avenida Diagonal” The Diagonal cuts, naturally, diagonally across the city.

So, on to this infrastructure palimpsest comes the new wave of cycling. I have always wanted to use palimpsest! Of course, the city was never really built with tri-use through ways- car, ped, cycle. So, cycling is always a hit or miss affair (ha ha) in terms of finding a route and surviving with your skin and/or life.

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Mapping Manhattan

I was fascinated to read about this project to make a detailed, 3D, explorable map of Manhattan before contact and conquest. It sounds like secondlife! And the use of real markers and connections to the 3d map will enable even more cross-over from virtual to real world and vice-versa. Another blogger who lives in NY waxes about the project.

Our Local Correspondents: The Mannahatta Project: Reporting & Essays: The New Yorker
Eric Sanderson, a landscape ecologist with the Wildlife Conservation Society (W.C.S.), is in charge of a project called the Human Footprint, which seeks to map the human race’s impact on the surface of the earth. New York is the ultimate case. “It’s probably the fastest, biggest land-coverage swing in history,” Sanderson said. For nearly a decade, he has been working on the Mannahatta Project, an attempt to determine exactly how Manhattan would have appeared to Hudson and his crew in 1609. It will include a lavish book; a Web site; a possible exhibit at the American Museum of Natural History; and a three-dimensional computer map which would allow you to fly above the island, land wherever you want, and look around. Eventually, Sanderson would like to put up plaques around town calling attention to vanished landmarks.

My friend Alex Pulsipher, who has an intro textbook for Geography has talked to me about his ideas for the future of that book. Wandering around our old haunts in Knoxville we were discussing the use of educational games, internet publishing, and learning. The Manhattana Project may be a great example of that future. But why stop with traveling around? Why not let people create modules that would run in the map/world? Replay Hudson’s voyage? Replay the local Indian’s use of land. Having student’s design these modules and discuss what matters and how to incorporate what they know would engage them and force them to make consequential choices based on their current knowledge and intellectual perspectives.

Manhattana Project Image

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Filed under digital culture, Future of Technology, Gaming, geography, pedagogy