Vol. 53, No.2 , Fall/Winter 2015- "The Pennsylvania Geographer"



CHARCOAL MAKING AND DEFORESTATION IN GROS MANGLE, HAITI: EXPLORING SUSTAINABILITY AT LOCAL SCALE


Jennifer Y. Pomeroy

Department of History and Political Science

York College of Pennsylvania


Agnès Ragone

Modern Language Department

Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania


Abstract


The charcoal industry has been linked as a main driver of tropical deforestation in land use/land cover change studies. However, many studies have focused their research in “hot spots,” such as the Amazon rainforest and the Congo River Basin as they are larger in size. Small island regions such as La Gonâve of Haiti are not being adequately studied. La Gonâve is Haiti’s largest offshore island covering an area of 287 square miles. With no official census, the island has an estimated population of 80,000 people. This study uses the village of Gros Mangle on the island of La Gonâve in Haiti as a case study to examine landscape change and the charcoal making industry. A historical review suggests that varying rates of deforestation have prevailed across several different time periods despite of some level of governmental efforts to mitigate such deforestation. Field observations and transect walks show that the island’s current landscape displays a level of environmental degradation which includes deforestation, soil erosion, rocky desertification, and water scarcity. Semistructured interviews reveal that charcoal industry remains as an important income source supporting villagers’ cooking energy in their day-to-day life. Some suggestions for sustainable development that must first focus on local needs and landscape conservation are made.





CONSTITUTING URBAN DECLINE: DISCURSIVE PRACTICE AND THE CRITICAL UNDERSTANDING OF ABANDONMENT IN SUNBURY, PENNSYLVANIA


Chad N. Steacy

Department of Geography

University of Georgia


Abstract


This paper uses discourse analysis to build deeper understanding of the lived experience of urban decline. In particular, the discourse of a small city in central Pennsylvania is examined through a lens asserting urban decline to be a social production, enacted through articulating and (re)producing lived “truths” of long-lasting abandonment, as they have been experienced on a small city scale. The place-making practices, captured here through discourse, have been arranged in a heuristic scheme whereby narratives are placed thematically according to the rhetorical response toward capital’s abandonment each embodies. The discursive categories constructed and utilized for this study are narratives that comply, narratives that deny, and narratives that defy decline. It is concluded that geographically situated discourses of decline potentially provide the seeds of a progressive politics of resistance toward abandonment.





CULTURAL CHANGE IN PITTSBURGH: A DEMOGRAPHIC ANALYSIS AT CITY AND COUNTY SCALES


Sabina Deitrick

Graduate School of Public and International Affairs

University of Pittsburgh


Abstract


A set of older, industrial cities in the United States has undergone decades of population loss and come under the description of ‟shrinking cities.” Such population losses present a challenge in understanding urban restructuring and transition, as well as addressing issues associated with population decline. This article examines population change in one shrinking city, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA, through detailed analysis of changes in the city, home county, and neighborhoods. Pittsburgh’s industrial restructuring and postindustrial transition are key to understanding why Pittsburgh became one of the ‟hard core” of shrinking cities and what has begun to transpire in this shrinking city in the 21st century. Recent data suggest a possible retrenchment from decline,

if not a rebound from population loss. 





FILM FESTIVALS, THE GLOBALIZATION OF IMAGES AND POST-NATIONAL CINEPHILIA


Joseph Palis

Department of Geography

University of the Philippines-Diliman


Abstract


Film festivals function like a magnet and conduit of new films emanating from various national cinemas. Yet despite the auteur-driven bias that has traditionally permeated high-profile film festivals, the discovery of unheralded films and new filmmakers has created a cinephilic consumerism that often goes beyond the film’s texts. In recent decades, the global-local relationships fostered relational spaces of negotiation from regional, national and even supranational scales which engendered new forms of film consumerism. The emergence of film practices has impacted and influenced current operations in mounting film festivals that accommodate specific places, tastes and audiences. With the desire to emphasize the cultural capital of urban centers, the city that hosts film festivals is now spotlighted as the new nexus of film cultures. Cities like Toronto, Berlin and Venice depend on the nation and its links to regional networks and industries to sustain their operations. This is evidenced by a complex programming and coordination to ensure the seamless production, distribution and consumption of film products in the context of film markets. From Cannes to Pusan, film festivals define the cultural capital that urban hubs and nations strategize to the market to create more film products that legitimize the operation and practice. This article focuses on nationality and film festival relationalities involving entertainment, culture, global funding and the creation of spaces for new practices of cinephilia.





GEOGRAPHIES OF VEXILLOLOGY: LEARNING GEOGRAPHY THROUGH FLAGS


Carlos A. Morales-Ramírez

Department of Geography and Planning

West Chester University


Abstract


Vexillology is defined as the study of flags. Flags are used by countries, cities, provinces, religions, politics, sports, schools, among many other entities throughout the world. They attract attention and serve as a main point of identification. Geographers can find flags as a great tool for research or teaching, after all, 86% of the world national flags contain geographical elements. Of all the national flags in the world, 45% contain at least one natural element and 65% of them had at least one human element. This research explores those geographical elements and divides them into geography branches and tools such as: location, geomorphology, climatology, soils, biogeography, settlement geography, economic geography, cultural geography, political geography, hydrographic elements, cartography, and queer geography.





METHODS OF IDENTIFYING RETAIL TRADE AREAS: A COMPARATIVE ANALYSIS OF THREE TECHNIQUES


Joseph J. Tokosh

Department of Geography

Kent State University


Abstract


This study is a comparative analysis of the results of three methods for identifying retail trade areas using the Century III Mall located in West Mifflin, Pennsylvania, as a case study. The techniques used include customer spotting, trend surface mapping, and Thiessen polygon construction. The goal of implementing these three techniques is to compare their results to one another. A survey was conducted at the mall in order to obtain data for use in two of the three methods. The Century III mall has shrunk in size and has declined in performance, so it is hypothesized that the survey based methods will indicate a smaller market area size than the non-survey based method, which is hypothetical. The results show that customer spotting resulted in the smallest, most precise trade area, with trend surface mapping and Thiessen polygon construction providing broader and less detailed trade areas. 



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