In Beirut, landmarks are often used for navigation | Study shows why people leave, return to rural hometowns | Tracking Manhattan's density from 1800 to 2010
June 4, 2015
AAG SmartBrief
News for geographers

Geography in Action
In Beirut, landmarks are often used for navigation
Residents of Beirut, Lebanon's capital city, often give directions by using landmarks rather than addresses, writes Jenny Gustafsson. This can be confusing for newcomers, especially because some of the landmarks used for navigation no longer exist. Bahi Ghubril, who was raised in London, started mapping the streets after moving to Beirut in 2005, and that project has turned into a company called Zawarib. The Guardian (London) (6/2)
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Study shows why people leave, return to rural hometowns
A report from the Department of Agriculture's Economic Research Service has explored why people leave or return to rural communities. The researchers, who conducted interviews at high school reunions, found that raising a family was a popular reason for returning. People who stayed away were more likely to be single or married without children, and some of them said a lack of jobs kept them away. Farm Futures (5/27), WNAX-AM (Yankton, S.D.) (5/29)
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Research, Education and Global Change
Exclusionary zoning limits movement to neighborhoods with opportunity
Research has found that poor children are better off when they move to areas of high opportunity, but many local governments have exclusionary zoning policies that limit affordable housing in such areas. Even in states such as Massachusetts, which has policies allowing developers to get around exclusionary zoning, residents often do not want affordable housing in their neighborhoods. The Atlantic online (6/2)
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Seals send scientists data from hard-to-reach areas via forehead sensors
Seals are helping scientists collect data from ocean areas humans can't reach on their own, thanks to battery-powered sensors on their foreheads. The noninvasive sensors, which drop off when the seals molt, measure such things as salinity and temperature, and help researchers determine the movement of glaciers, among other things. "The information sent back to us gives us details about the seal's immediate physical environment," said Lars Boehme, one of the many researchers involved in the global consortium behind the project. Discovery/Agence France-Presse (6/2)
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More residents of big cities are renters, study finds
More residents of big cities are renters, study says
(Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
The number of renters increased in the 11 largest U.S. cities from 2006 to 2013, and rent growth outstripped inflation in most of them, finds a study by New York University and Capital One. Renters represented a majority of residents in five of the largest 11 cities in 2006, but by 2013 renters were the majority in nine of those cities. CBS MoneyWatch (5/28), CNBC (5/28)
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Technology and Applications
Using drone technology to protect an Indonesian forest
A drone has helped the Dayak people of Indonesia protect their forests from illegal logging and other damaging activities. The drone mapped the forest and the boundaries of their land, giving them a valuable record they can use to support their land rights. "If you have to sit together with decision-makers at any level, you need more than rhetoric," said geographer Irendra Radjawali. Slate (6/2)
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Association News
AAG opens Annual Meeting call for papers on July 31
Registration for the AAG Annual Meeting in San Francisco opens on July 31, 2015. AAG will also begin accepting abstracts and proposals for presentations. The 2016 conference will take place March 29-April 2. Researchers, scholars, professionals, and students are welcome to present papers, posters, and panel discussions on all topics relevant to geography. Abstracts are due by Oct. 29, 2015, but may be edited through Feb. 18, 2016. Learn more.
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GeoMentor Spotlight on Paisly Di Bianca, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Each month, AAG will feature one of its GeoMentors volunteers who help schools and teachers introduce GIS and associated geographic concepts into classrooms across the country. The GeoMentors program is a joint effort by Esri and the AAG to develop a nationwide network of volunteers to support the U.S. Department of Education's ConnectED Program, for which Esri has agreed to donate free GIS software to all K-12 schools in the U.S. In this inaugural entry, AAG spotlights Paisly Di Bianca, an environmental protection specialist/GIS coordinator with the U.S. EPA. Learn more.
Once you bring life into the world, you must protect it. We must protect it by changing the world."
-- Elie Wiesel,
writer and political activist
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