How low can ya’ go? Lowest cities on Earth

Source: geology.com

New Orleans, LA, USA – Source: geology.com

We often hear about the highest elevations cities in the world, but far less often of the lowest. Below is a list of 25 of the lowest cities, all below sea level. If any additions are known, please feel free to pass them along.

Georgetown, Guyana - Source: panaramio.com

Georgetown, Guyana – Source: panaramio.com

Interesting tidbits from this data include Georgetown, Guyana being the lowest national capital city and the only one situated below sea level; New Orleans being the largest city located below sea level; and Jericho being the lowest city in elevation.

  1. Jericho, Palestinian Authority: −258 m (−846 ft) = lowest city in the world.
  2. Tiberias, Israel: −207 m (−679 ft)
  3. Bet She’an, Israel: −120 m (−394 ft)
  4. Bombay Beach, CA, USA: −69 m (−226 ft)
  5. Salton Sea Beach, CA, USA: −67 m (−220 ft)
  6. Desert Shores, CA, USA: −61 m (−200 ft)
  7. Calipatria, CA, USA: −56 m (−184 ft)
  8. Westmorland, CA, USA: −48 m (−157 ft)
  9. Niland, CA, USA: −43 m (−141 ft)
  10. Salton City, CA, USA: −38 m (−125 ft)
  11. Brawley, CA, USA: −37 m (−121 ft)
  12. Thermal, CA, USA: −37 m (−121 ft)
  13. Coachella, CA, USA: −22 m (−72 ft)
  14. Imperial, CA, USA: −18 m (−59 ft)
  15. Seeley, CA, USA: −13 m (−43 ft)
  16. El Centro, CA, USA: −12 m (−39 ft)
  17. Indio, CA, USA: −6 m (−20 ft)
  18. Haarlemmermeer, Netherlands: −5 m (−16 ft)
  19. Heber, CA, USA: −5 m (−16 ft)
  20. Neuendorf-Sachsenbande, Germany: −4 m (−13 ft)
  21. Le Contane, Italy: −3.44 m (−11.3 ft)
  22. Holtville, CA, USA: −3 m (−10 ft)
  23. Georgetown, Guyana: −2 m (−7 ft) = lowest national capital
  24. Kristianstad, Sweden: −2 m (−7 ft)
  25. New Orleans, LA, USA: −2 m (−7 ft) = largest below sea level city

Source: en.wikipedia.org

El Centro, CA- Source: aerialarchives.com

El Centro, CA- Source: aerialarchives.com

Posted in cities, environment, geography, Geology, history, land use, Maps, planning, spatial design, Statistics, sustainability, tourism, Travel, urban planning | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Jaw-dropping images of today’s volcanic eruption from Chile

Here are two amazing images of today’s eruption of the Villarica Volcano in southern Chile. The immense power of Mother Earth is clearly on display.

Source: wired.com

Source: wired.com

Source: unknw.co,uk

Source: unknw.co,uk

Posted in environment, nature, geography, South America, Geology | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Nearly ruining a terrific story with overt violence

Kingsman_The_Secret_Service_Official_Final_Poster_JPosters

Source: film1.nl

We loved the story, the plot, and most of the acting in Kingsman: The Secret Service, but the excessive and blatant violence nearly ruined the film for the three of us. I simply do not understand a movie director’s need to rub gratuitous violence in the audience’s face. We all can vividly imagine when someone is being injured, maimed, or killed, so there is NO need to depict it in slow motion, repeat it, or focus on every aspect of it.

Aside from the violence, Kingsman was a first class secret agent thriller. I only wish it has focused more fully on the intrigue. Kudos to Colin Firth, Mark Strong, Taron Egerton, and Sophie Cookson for their splendid performances. For the director, Matthew Vaughn, just reminder that one’s imagination can be far more frightening than visual imagery.

Posted in art, entertainment, film, movies, pictures, theaters, UK, video, writing | Tagged , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Suburbs predicted to soon exceed their core city

Source: pinterest.com

Source: pinterest.com

As a follow-up to last Monday’s post about those suburbs in the United States that have become larger than the original core city of the metropolitan area, here are my predictions for the next group of suburbs which could soon attain such a superior population status than their core city:

Suburb (2010 population) / Core City (2010 population)

  • Boca Raton, FL = 84,392 / West Palm Beach, FL  = 99,919
  • Bonita Springs, FL = 43,914 / Fort Myers, FL = 62,298
  • Calexico, CA = 38,572 / El Centro, CA = 42,598
  • Chesapeake, VA = 222,209 / Norfolk, VA = 242,803
  • Layton, UT = 67,311 / Ogden, UT = 82,825
  • Lacey, WA = 42,393 / Olympia, WA = 46,478
  • Olathe, KS = 125,872 / Kansas City, KS = 145,786
  • Pembroke Pines, FL = 154,750 / Fort Lauderdale, FL = 165,521
  • Rogers, AR = 55,964 / Fayetteville, AR = 73,580
  • Springdale, AR = 69,797 / Fayetteville, AR = 73,580
  • West Valley City, UT = 129,480 / Salt Lake City, UT = 186,440

Source: en.wikipedia.org

Posted in cities, economic development, geography, history, Housing, infrastructure, land use, North America, placemaking, planning, spatial design, sprawl, Statistics, urban planning | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Unofficial guide to “hip(ster)hoods” of the Rust Belt

Source: notsportscenter.com

Source: notsportscenter.com

The term “hipster” stirs up a myriad of images and connotations including but not limited to hippie. modern yuppie, bohemian, urban bohemian, counter-culture, geek, etc.  Here is a condensed version of the Urban Dictionary’s rather lengthy definition of “hipster:”

“Hipsters are a subculture of men and women typically in their 20’s and 30’s that value independent thinking, counter-culture, progressive politics, an appreciation of art and indie-rock, creativity, intelligence, and witty banter. Although “hipsterism” is really a state of mind, it is also often intertwined with distinct fashion sensibilities. Hipsters reject the culturally-ignorant attitudes of mainstream consumers, and are often be seen wearing vintage and thrift store inspired fashions, tight-fitting jeans, old-school sneakers, and sometimes thick rimmed glasses. Both hipster men and women sport similar androgynous hair styles that include combinations of messy shag cuts and asymmetric side-swept bangs. Such styles are often associated with the work of creative stylists at urban salons, and are usually too “edgy” for the culturally-sheltered mainstream consumer. The “effortless cool” urban bohemian look of a hipster is exemplified in Urban Outfitters and American Apparel ads which cater towards the hipster demographic. Despite misconceptions based on their aesthetic tastes, hipsters tend to be well-educated and often have liberal arts degrees, or degrees in math and sciences, which also require certain creative analytical thinking abilities. Consequently many hipsters tend to have jobs in the music, art, and fashion industries. It is a myth that most hipsters are unemployed and live off of their parent’s trust funds.”

“Although hipsters are technically conformists within their own subculture, in comparison to the much larger mainstream mass, they are pioneers and leaders of the latest cultural trends and ideals. For example, the surge of jeans made to look old and worn (i.e. “distressed”), that have become prevalent at stores such as The Gap, American Eagle, Abercrombie and Fitch, and Hollister, were originally paraded by hipsters who shopped in thrift stores years before such clothing items were mass-produced and sold to the mainstream consumer. The true irony here is that many of the detractors of hipster culture are in fact unknowingly following a path that hipsters have carved out years before them. This phenomena also applies to music as well, as many bands have become successful and known to mainstream audiences only because hipsters first found and listened to them as early-adopters of new culture. Once certain concepts of fashion and music have reached mainstream audiences, hipsters move on to something new and improved.”

Source: Urban Dictionary

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Now that we have defined “hipster” in near-book length, there are a number of neighborhoods in cities across the country that have become what I term “hiphoods.” Some of the best know ones are Wicker Park in Chicago, Williamsburg  in Brooklyn, the Mission District in San Francisco, North Williams Avenue in Portland, and Silver Lake in L.A. Despite the media concentrating on the larger, more well-known hipster neighborhoods, many smaller and mid-sized urban centers have hipster neighborhoods in them, only they don’t get as much press.

Source: visittheloop.com

Delmar Loop – Source: visittheloop.com

While there are many positive urban planning and redevelopment aspects of this cultural trend, there are also some very real social equity concerns that must be considered and addressed. In many, if not most cases, current hipster neighborhoods were suffering prior to being discovered. While revitalization of a depressed community is reason to celebrate, it can come at a cost – primarily gentrification, which can force those eking out a living in the neighborhood prior to the new hipster homesteader’s arrival, to move because they can no longer afford the rising rents or property values.

Source: dinkytownminneapolis.com

Source: dinkytownminneapolis.com

This scenario is hardly just, as those who stuck out the hard times are often unable to enjoy the benefits of the neighborhood’s new-found popularity and economic upturn. As a result, tensions can rise as the area gains popularity. Potential remedies include adopting a housing affordability plan, requiring a certain percentage of affordable housing as part of new and redevelopment projects (a.k.a. below-market rate ordinance), developing resident-controlled housing opportunities, adjusting tax policies/laws, and establishing community land trusts.

Mass Ave - Source: discovermassave.com

Mass Ave – Source: discovermassave.com

In an attempt to identify as many hipster havens as possible in the Rust Belt, a number of resources were utilized, including social and traditional media, internet websites, and blogs from around the region and country, Here’s the list of hip(ster)hoods for a number of Rust Belt cities. Given that this may not be an exhaustive list and that new hipster havens can quickly sprout and propagate, any additions or corrections to the list are most welcome. Cheers!

Source: lowerlawrenceville.com

Lower Lawrenceville – Source: lowerlawrenceville.com

Source: lowertown.org

Lowertown- Source: lowertown.org

Other sources (aside from personal knowledge):

Posted in adaptive reuse, architecture, art, beer, branding, brewpubs, cities, civility, coffee shops/cafes, culture, economic development, economic gardening, economics, entrepreneurship, historic preservation, history, humanity, inclusiveness, land use, placemaking, planning, revitalization, Small business, social equity, Social media, spatial design, technology, third places, urban planning, zoning | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Can you spy this special future skyline?

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Congratulations to Matt for being the first and only person to correctly identify skyline #7, Windhoek, Namibia. Above, is a very special future skyline for your consideration.

UPDATE on 3/3/15: Here’s a hint – it is a fictional place and pertains indirectly to a recent news story.

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

‘Live long and prosper” in the next phases of your life, Mr. Spock

Thank you, Leonard Nimoy for bringing one of the greatest characters of all time to life. Namaste!

Source: bbcnews.com

Source: bbcnews.com

Posted in entertainment, movies, Science, Science fiction, Television | Tagged , , | Leave a comment