Taking a Moment to Bask in Our Past: Six Decades of APCG and AAG Presidential Addresses
by Robin E. Datel, 9 (Download PDF file, 176K)
Natural and Human Factors in Recent Central Valley Floods
by Roxane Fridiric and M. L. Shelton, 53 (Download PDF file, 252K)
The Towns that Coal Built: The Evolution of Landscapes and Communities in Southern Colorado
by John L. Keane, 70 (Download PDF file, 3.7M!)
A Comparison of Attitudes and Knowledge about the Endangered Species Act
by Jeffrey D. Hackel, 95 (Download PDF file, 76K)
Presidential Plenary Session: Studying, Teaching, and Serving Your Locality in a Globalizing World
by Robin E. Datel, 112 (Download PDF file, 288K)
Studying Ethnic Patterns in Local Areas, by James P. Allen, 115
Guidebooks as Community Service, by Paul Groth, 122
A Seat at the Table: Geographers and the Formulation of Environmental Policy, by Philip R. Pryde, 137
Book Reviews (Download PDF file, 92K)
Gary Brechin, Imperial San Francisco: Urban Power, Earthly Ruin
rev. by Dennis J. Dingemans, 144
William W. Speth, How It Came To Be: Carl O. Sauer, Franz Boas, and the Meanings of Anthropogeography
rev. by Robert Hoffpauir, 147
Hilgard O’Reilly Sternberg, A Agua e o Homem na Várzea do Careiro
rev. by C. Gary Lobb, 152
Paul Farmer, Infections and Inequalities: The Modern Plagues
rev. by Terry Simmons, 155
Report on the Sixty-second Annual Meeting, 158 (Download PDF file, 244K)
Abstracts of Papers Presented, 167 (Download PDF file, 156K)
Roxane Fridiric and M. L. Shelton
The Central Valley historically has been flood-prone, but the construction of extensive flood-control facilities and the development of flood-management strategies have attempted to minimize damage. Simultaneously, land-use changes and regional population increases have placed more people and property at risk. In 1986 and 1997, powerful subtropical storms delivered heavy rainfall to watersheds draining into the Central Valley, resulting in widespread and destructive flooding. In 1998, there was acute concern that El Niño-related precipitation patterns would create floods as extensive and expensive as those in earlier years. Heavy rains in 1998 drenched much of northern and central California, causing flooding along many rivers, but as flood damage and mudslides occurred throughout the state, the Central Valley remained virtually free of major flooding. Precipitation, snowpack, and stream discharge, in conjunction with water management and land-use decisions, are examined as they relate to the destructive 1986 and 1997 floods, and the absence of Central Valley flooding in 1998. Flooding resulted from heavy precipitation in 1986 and 1997, but the timing and spatial characteristics of precipitation and the performance of flood control facilities exacerbated the flood conditions. Despite early concerns, the 1998 El Niño-related precipitation produced little flooding in the Central Valley.
John L. Keane
Geographers have long taken interest in communities created for intensive exploitation of natural resources. More recently, geographers have looked at these “landscapes of production” after the resource is exhausted. Do these communities maintain themselves afterward? How? The literature has identified three alternative fates for mining towns in the United States that exhausted their primary resource during the late 1800s and early 1900s: prompt abandonment; slow, stubborn decline; or post-industrial survival by repackaging and marketing their old landscapes. Lacking is a comprehensive view of the specific factors that might promote the long-term sustainability of these resource-extraction communities. This paper examines a former coal-mining region in southern Colorado to see how its post-mining landscape fits into the patterns previously identified in the geographic literature. Historical census data, regional and corporate histories, historical photographs, and site visits were used to reconstruct the evolving mining community landscapes. Several very different kinds of factors appear to be likely predictors of community sustainability. The relative geographic dispersal or concentration of the resource exploited, as well as the location of subsequent resource processing and use, appear to be profoundly important. Multiple versus single controlling companies and capital sources may be another key variable. Finally, a community may be more likely to outlive its mines if the community’s built environment or cultural landscape provides inhabitants more and different meaning than that provided by the oppressively hegemonic landscapes of the most rigorously controlled “company towns.”
James P. Allen
Geographers have much to offer local communities. Other academics and the public are eager to see maps of and learn about their locality. Because making maps is the one distinctive thing that geographers do, it makes sense for geography departments to produce an abundance of local area maps covering a range of topics relevant to people’s lives. The second task is to learn as much as possible so as to be able to explain the patterns on the map in nonacademic publications and in talks to local audiences. I provide examples of local area map-making, research, and teaching on ethnic populations, an especially hot topic in my locality, greater Los Angeles.
Two very traditional geographical skills–providing written guides to local places, and conducting architectural resource surveys–are often overlooked as genuine services that geography departments can offer to residents of ordinary sections of nearby communities. A self-guided student tour of the city, using a photocopied class guidebook and following a single city bus line, has proven an effective way to interest students in the American center city in general, and in Oakland, California, in particular. Student research about the city, and volunteering for urban service, have increased substantially among students who have taken a half-day cross-sectional tour of the city. Similarly, a Caltrans-funded survey of workers’ cottages in the West Oakland neighborhood has had surprising uses for community activism and preservation. In addition to “how-to” and “what-not-to-do” hints, these two case studies explore a cultural landscape approach to the city, Grady Clay’s cross-sectional study techniques, and social-class analysis of houses whose exteriors seem to be very much alike but whose interior floor plans reveal sharp cultural divides.
Philip R. Pryde
It is unfortunate that many geographers, in the course of their academic career, interact very little with their local or regional communities. Yet this kind of interaction can have very positive pay-backs for the geographer, his or her department, and the community at large. The most common form of interaction today may be funded projects, particularly those that are GIS related, but an individual’s geographic expertise can be applied to community issues in a great many other ways as well. Ways of establishing “expertise” within the community are numerous, ranging from writing op-ed pieces for newspapers, to volunteering for citizen advisory groups, to getting to know some of the local elected officials. Once a geographer has established expertise in some aspect of community or regional affairs, a strong synergistic effect is possible between their academic classes, their research, and the relevant community agencies and organizations.