The BBC has published an interactive online map to demonstrate urbanization trends of the past 50 years. Rolling their cursor back and forth to watch the asian urbanized centers pop up and grow, then shrink back to nothing, is curiously fascinating. The feature shows N.America as (2005 numbers) 80% Urban population. That makes me wonder what qualifies as “urban.” A quick look around the website and some BBC stories did not net me that information.
As any good engineer knows, the true understanding of a topic comes at that topic’s edges, i.e., at the boundary of what is considered Urban or Rural (is there a suburban category? I do not know). This philosophy applies everywhere in my life, and it probably applies to people other than engineers, but I can not attest to that very thoroughly. An example of this is the problems regarding gravity and quantum physics. Or, from my field, at the boundaries between where a roadway is operating at an acceptable level, and where it is not (a surprisingly narrow window of travel demand). But I digress…
This comes from a weekly email I get from about.com featuring geographist (is that a word?) Matt Rosenberg. His missives contain geography tests that I rarely get entirely correct, and I’m usually guessing on half the answers. For example, I only got a 60% on this one. I need to read National Geographic more thoroughly.
Of course, my opinion regarding “geographic knowledge” is already a matter of public record.