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Isn't That Spatial?

a podcast dedicated to casual geography and the spatial component of whatever

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ITS010: Spatial Topics In Music – Songs of Urban Renewal

Spatial Topics in Music is the series on this podcast where I select a geography theme and do a little dive into some of the popular songs that pay tribute to that theme.

On this episode, we’re listening to Songs of Urban Renewal – one of those city planning phenomena that kind of sounds like it should be a good thing. But don’t be fooled! It is/was terrible!

Urban renewal, popular but not limited to the 1950s-70s, has become known for basically tearing down good stuff and stuff associated with the working class and people of color, and replacing it with overly large and hideous highways, soulless surface parking lots, and behemoth office complexes that don’t exactly speak to the neighborhood context.

urban renewal protest sign
Urban Renewal protest sign in Boston

Continue reading “ITS010: Spatial Topics In Music – Songs of Urban Renewal”

ITS009: Cemeteries (!!!)

Hey gang, we’re halfway to Halloween so let’s have some fun with the utterly macabre, shall we?

On today’s episode, we’re looking the geography of cemeteries – those ubiquitous but often overlooked bastions of the sacred and the profane – the emotional and the utilitarian.

Aside from their personal and cultural significance, cemeteries have had an interesting impact on land use patterns and urban life. And the cemetery itself has its own internal geography and range of architectural features, which itself reflects the values and history of the town or city.

Show Notes + Sources

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ITS008: Geography of Memory

 

The built environment has long served as a mnemonic device for wayfinding or historical events. On this episode, we’re talking about spatial memory. Not so much about historic preservation, in the conventional sense, or formal archives that you might find in, say, a museum. Instead, we’re talking about memory of the more ephemeral elements of our urban spaces – how are we preserving the storefronts, signage, back alleys, street art, and informal social markers in our ever-changing world?

We’re looking at the creative ways that various urbanists and organizations are documenting, preserving, and keeping us in touch with the ever-changing and vanishing markers in our communities, increasingly in real time.

Ralph's Discount City

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ITS007: Immigrant Communities

We are quite familiar with the historical immigrant communities of older American cities such as Little Italy, numerous Chinatowns, a German Village here, a Slavic Village there, etc. These places have become landmarks in many of our cities.

We also continue to see geographically clustered communities spring up from newer immigrants in cities where you might not expect it. On this episode, we’ll look at how these older immigrant enclaves emerged and explore the newer trends in immigration in our cities and their impact. …Aside from giving us the ability to have bagels for breakfast, sushi for lunch, and molé for dinner in any town worth its salt.


 

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ITS006: Geography of Coffee Shops


According to the Small Business Development Center, 77% of Americans drink coffee daily and 66% of them buy their coffee from a coffee shop rather than brewing it at home. Not surprisingly then, there were about 20,000 coffee shop businesses in the U.S. with combined revenues of $10 billion in 2011.

Chances are, you have a favorite coffee shop or three in your area that you frequent either on the way to work, or as the place where you get work done or meet with a friend or social group. In this episode, I’m analyzing the history and geography of our beloved classic coffeehouse.
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Show Notes

Continue reading “ITS006: Geography of Coffee Shops”

ITS005: Spatial Topics in Music – Songs of the Suburbs

This episode is the first installment of a new feature we’re starting – Spatial Topics in Music – where I select a geography theme and do a little dive into some of the popular songs that pay tribute to that theme.

For this first one, we’re taking a listen to the Songs of the Suburbs. Yes, the suburbs – that geographic entity whose derision is as ubiquitous as its Starbucks and cul-de-sacs. As a mainstay of modern American life, it’s no surprise that quite a few lyrics have been penned to both laud and loathe it.

***

Show Notes

Songs Featured + Referenced In This Episode

Ode to the Outskirts

Ray Charles, “I’m Gonna Move to the Outskirts of Town”

The Beach Boys, “In My Room” + “Busy Doin’ Nothin'”

Pulp, “Joyriders”

Weezer, “In The Garage”

Suburban Ubiquity and Malaise

Pete Seeger, “Little Boxes”

The Monkees, “Pleasant Valley Sunday”

The Members, “Sounds of the Suburbs”

The Kinks, “Shangri-La”

suburban-punks
suburban punks
Full-on Angst/Ennui

Radiohead, “Street Spirit (Fade Out)”

David Bowie, “The Buddha of Suburbia”

Everything But The Girl, “Hatfield 1980”

The Wrens, “Won’t Get Too Far”

Daniel Johnston, “Devil Town”

ITS001: Geography of the Dive Bar

Welcome to Isn’t That Spatial! This is a podcast dedicated to casual (so casual) topics in geography and the spatial component of… whatever.

This first episode (!) discusses the geography of the classic dive bar – its history, its urban and rural iterations, and how it currently fits (or doesn’t) into our contemporary urban fabric. But it’s very casual. Very breezy.

I’ll always post my show notes here on this website, including links to sources and relevant articles.

If you have a topic you think would be very Isn’t That Spatial to explore, please let me know in the comments!

-Amanda

P.S. We’re coming soon to iTunes and other stuff – for now, SoundCloud and LibSyn are our primary media.

Show Notes + Links

Dive Bar History:

Library of Congress

More dive-y-ness from the Library of Congress

New York journal and advertiser, March 9, 1899

LOC and the Excise Tax

University of Houston – Prohibition

episode-2-raid-crop

Dive Bars Now:

Mapping Bars vs. Grocery Stores

Strongtowns on Drunk Driving

Dive Bars and Gentrification

Can New York Protect Its Dive Bars?

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