Professor Emeritus Richard Morrill and Professor Michael Brown
The Seattle Times has profiled the Geography Department’s new anthology, Seattle Geographies, edited by professor Michael Brown and Emeritus Professor Dick Morrill. The book, which is being unveiled this week at the AAG Conference in Seattle, emphasizes Geography’s unique spatial perspective on the Seattle region’s many “paradoxes”, including:
• Seattle may have a reputation as liberal and tolerant, “but it can also be quite controlling,” Brown says. For example, it has adopted stringent rules about social behavior that give police the authority to exclude people from parks if they violate rules or laws.
• The area has a long-standing fear of big government, but voters seem willing to tax themselves significantly, Morrill says.
• Though Seattle has a reputation as a high-tech mecca, one-third of the local economy is still fueled by manufacturing, notes Professor Emeritus William Beyers.
The book includes article by faculty, graduate students and undergraduates, and addresses such diverse cultural, social and ecnomic isues as voting patterns in presidential elections across the region, to relatively small, such as the politics of locating and building a skateboard park, and what that issue says about social and generational tensions.
The Seattle Times article also talks about the UW Geography Department, pointing to a “renaissance” in the discipline, and emphasizing our accountability to place, field-based research, and community engagement.
An article that is forthcoming in The Lancet concludes that there will have been a prevalence of nearly 800,000 cases of cholera in Haiti by the end of November, 2011–nearly double the number projected by WHO. WHO’s estimates have themselves been increasing dynamically and are not based on any knowledge of transmission dynamics–in short, they are educated guesses. The reference paper, posted online on March 16, 2011 (www.thelancet.com) is based upon a detailed knowledge of transmission dynamics and interventions, and is a recursive mathematical model by two well known disease modelers (Andrews JR and Basu S. Transmission dynamics and control of cholera in Haiti: an epidemic model. Lancet DOI:10.1016/S0140-6736(11)60273-0) Geographers and spatial epidemiologists will recognize that the model is a multiregional form of disease model that is based on the number of susceptible people, infected individuals, and recovered individuals (“SIR” models) that have been the basis for growth models for decades. Moreover, and perhaps *most importantly*, anticipated early declines in cholera incidence in the coming months are predicted to be part of the natural course of the epidemic, and not the result of any specific public health interventions.
Cholera is a waterborne bacterial disease, transmitted via the fecal-oral route, that can progress from asymptomatic stages to death within a period of less than 18-24 hours. The only effective treatment is oral or intravenous rehydration using physiologically balanced water/electrolyte solutions–with the electrolytes in clean water only. When available, this can be combined with oral or IV doxycycline, ciprofloxacin, or other appropriate antibiotics. Oral rehydration in this form–a fundamentally simple and low-tech treatment–was devised by Dr. Richard Cash of the Harvard School of Public Health, credited with saving millions of lives.
Several prominent geographers who do research on health and disease, led by the AAG, are working collaboratively with several institutes at NIH to explore establishing a spatial analysis and GIS infrastructure that would be cross-institute and cross-center at NIH. UW Professor of Geography and Epidemiology Jonathan Mayer is one of the 5 leaders of this group. NIH provides most of the funding for biomedical research in the US. The first conference of NIH officers, extramural researchers, and intramural researchers from NIH was held on Feb. 22-23 in Rockville, MD. The AAG has submitted a grant to NIH to continue these discussions with 3 further conferences around specific themes.
The New York Times has a new interactive feature that enables you to construct maps using census data gathered between 2005 and 2009. You can display maps for race and ethnicity, income, housing, and education, and can look up any city or zipcode. Play around with different cities. Anyone who as taken an urban geography class or two might see traces of the Hoyt Model in the map of racial distribution in Chicago. Or, for those of you interested in housing, check out a map of the change in mean home value since 2000 for the United States as a whole to see where home prices have risen vs. where they have fallen. There are also a few interesting articles analyzing some of the recent census trends in, for example, the suburbanization of immigrant populations, and national highs and lows for income, poverty, commuting, and education.