Geography Undergrad Sam Nowak Selected for NSF Summer Research Experience

Geography undergrad Sam Nowak was selected to participate in the highly selective Georgia State University Community-Soil-Air-Water Research Experience for Undergraduates, funded by the  National Science Foundation. This is a unique research training experience, focusing on community geography, university-community partnerships and participatory methodologies. This research project examines community housing, urban green spaces, and urban environmental quality. More details about the research project can be found below. Congratulations Sam!

Participation in the 2012 Georgia State University CSAW Research Experiences for Undergraduates Program funded by the National Science Foundation <>

The Georgia State University Community-Soil-Air-Water (CSAW) Research Initiative is proud to host the Summer 2012 Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) Site funded by The National Science Foundation Award #1156755, the Georgia State University Honors College, and the University of West Georgia.  The REU Site: Addressing Social and Environmental Disparities through Community Geography and Geographic Information Systems (GIS) is a multi-disciplinary program that brings together 16 outstanding undergraduate students from around the country to Georgia State University (Atlanta, GA) for a 6 week intensive research program.  With an explicit focus on community geography, university-community partnerships and participatory methodologies, the research training program is the first of its kind for undergraduates in the United States.  Undergraduate researchers, working in one of three research tracks <> , will quantitatively and qualitatively examine neighborhood change, property markets, air and soil quality, urban green spaces, and neighborhood visioning in partnership with neighborhood residents and community groups.
REU Research Track 1: Mapping property dynamics in South Atlanta with Charis Community Housing.  Leaders:  Katherine Hankins, Timothy Hawthorne, Kate Derickson, GSU geography; Andy Walter, University of West Georgia (archival work in consultation with Joe Hurley, GSU library sciences)

REU Research Track 2: Mapping green spaces in the Lakewood neighborhood with Trees Atlanta. Leaders:  Leslie Edwards and Timothy Hawthorne, GSU geography (archival work in consultation with Joe Hurley, GSU library sciences)

REU Research Track 3: Mapping urban environmental quality in the neighborhoods of Mechanicsville, Pittsburgh, Summerhill, Adair Park, and Peoplestown with SAFE (South Atlanta for the Environment).  Leaders:  Dan Deocampo, GSU geology; John Steward, GSU Institute of Public Health; and Katherine Hankins, GSU geography

Student Selection & Compensation: Selection for the 2012 CSAW REU site was based on a competitive, nationwide search of 204 highly-qualified undergraduate students. The selected CSAW Community Scholars share the following traits: a deep interest in engaged, community-based research; an inquisitive and creative mindset; and a desire to contribute to new directions in community geography scholarship.  As part of participation in the program, each CSAW Community Scholar receives a competitive funding package, including: a $3000 stipend for participation in the six week program, up to $250 in travel support to/from Atlanta, up to $750 for conference presentations at a major national meeting, free room and board at Georgia State University, and 3 required texts.

China: The Largest Migration in Human History

Geography Professor Kam Wing Chan’s work on internal Chinese migration is prominently cited in this week’s Economist article, “The Impact of Chinese Migrati0n: We Like to Move It Move It”.

IF YOU purchased one of the 1.8 billion mobile phones shipped around the world last year, there is a 50% chance it was put together in the Chinese province of Guangdong. There is also a good chance it was not assembled by a native Guangdonger, but by one of the millions of migrants who have left their homes and travelled to the coast to find work. Grinding poverty has long been a cause of migration and was the impetus again after the death of Mao Zedong in 1976. The story of migration since then is the story of modern China, as migrant workers have transformed China’s economy.

Kam Wing Chan of the University of Washington has compiled statistics which show that from 1990 to 2005—the most recent period for which reliable statistics are available—there was an overall gross migration across provinces of about 80m migrants (see map). An increasing number also migrate within their own province. All told, some 230m Chinese spend most of the year away from their home town or village. This is almost a third of all people globally estimated by the UN to be migrating within the borders of their own country. Most migrants move in search of work. The number of rural Chinese working away from home is now almost 160m, or 12% of the country’s population. The Chinese government’s population-planning commission forecasts another 100m rural residents could move to cities by 2020. As migration patterns change, though (see article), expect to see rapid social and economic change across inland China

The article also features an animated “videographic” illustrating migration flows.

In addition to Chan’s migration work, his work on the effects of this migration on Chinese economic development has also recently been featured in The Atlantic (Why China’s Migration Isn’t Creating A Middle Class”), and the UW  News & Information website UW Today (“China’s Urbanization Unlikely to Lead to Fast growth of Middle Class”).