A Lonely Planet: Á hverfanda hveli?

This is the Icelandic version of a poster on mapping wilderness and remote areas created for the the 2016 Science Day at the University of Iceland (Vísindadagur Verkfræði- og náttúruvísindasvið, Háskóli Íslands):
Víðerni og afskekkt landsvæði ná yfir margbreytileg svæði á yfirborði jarðar. Slík svæði eru strjálbýl og eru að hluta til afsprengi af skipulagi sem hvetur til þéttingar byggða. Yfir helmingur jarðarbúa í dag býr á svæðum sem skilgreind eru sem borgir, og meira en 95% jarðarbúa býr á um 10% af yfirborði lands. Hin 90 prósentin eru þó fjarri því að vera einsleit víðernissvæði, Það eru mismunandi skoðanir á því hvort og þá hvernig eigi að nýta hin óbyggðu svæði heims.
Aðeins um 15% fólks í ríkari hluta heimsins býr í meira en klukkustundar fjarlægð frá næstu borg. Í fátækari hluta heimsins er hlutfallið 65%. Hér er kynnt nýstárleg nálgun á myndrænni framsetningu og skilningi á hinum afskekktu landsvæðum jarðar sem eru að líkindum hennar síðustu víðerni. Notuð er tækni sem kalla má „bjöguð hnitvörpun“ (gridded cartogram transformation). Tæknin er notuð til kortleggja hversu fjarlæg svæði eru í hugum meirihluta mannkyns. Niðurstöður sýna umfang afskektra svæða eins og það birtist með tilliti til ferðatíma til næstu borgar, hvort sem er yfir land, vötn eða sjó. Stærð hverrar svæðiseiningar byggir á útreikningi þess tíma. Kortið gefur afskekktum svæðum aukið rými og veitir nýja sýn á svæðisbundið umfang afskekktra svæða í hlutfalli við þéttbýl svæði.

Wilderness - Icelandic
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Urbane Veränderungsprozesse in Stadtregionen Deutschlands

This is a German-language poster contribution looking at processes of change in the major urban agglomerations in Germany and novel ways of visualising these using cartogram visualisation techniques. Continue reading

Global Gender Gap in Secondary Education

100% Equality was the theme of a session at this year’s Nexus Europe Youth Summit in London last week. As a member of the panel I started off by giving a global overview of the state of gender (in)equality and how this is being measured by different institutions, such as the United Nations Development Programme, the World Economic Forum, or the European Institute for Gender Equality. While they draw very different pictures in their detailed indicators, there are also a lot of similarities, with the European Nordic countries almost always being in the top spots of the overall index, which does not mean that in any of these countries absolute gender equality has been achieved. Globally seen, health equality is furthest progressed, why empowerment and participation remain amongst the most pressing issues.
The following map is from my slides that I have shown and displays the gender gap in secondary education around the world projected on an equal-population projection using a gridded cartogram transformation:

Map of the global gender education gap
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Demographies of China


This week I joined the Department of Asian Studies at Palacký University Olomouc (Czech Republic) as a visiting lecturer by invitation of the CHINET project. In my lecture about New Geographies of China I built on the work I have presented earlier this year at the Conference on the Socio-Economic Transition of China at the same place, teaching the students not only how China’s position is in the global context of demographic, social and economic change, but also how we can visualise this in novel ways. The following three maps are an extract from my presentation that gave an overview of this lecture.
The maps show the distribution of the different age groups in the country divided into children (age 0 to 14), working age (age 15 to 64) and elderly (above age 64) as they are counted in the official Chinese Census released by the National Bureau of Statistics. As the most recent Census figures have not been released at the same level of detail, the following three maps show the state of 2000. Here is an animated version of the three maps showing all three groups one after another (the individual maps are displayed below):

Animation of demographic groups in China projected on a gridded population cartogram
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Inequality and Sustainability

“We should … dethrone the idea that maximising the growth in measured prosperity, GDP per capita, should be an explicit objective of economic and social policy.”
Adair Turner, Chair of the UK Financial Services Authority, 2007

Today I gave a talk at the meeting of the Sustainability Knowledge Alliance and the Environment Audit Committee (EAC) of the UK Parliament at the British Academy in London. The event aimed at discussing the relationship between growing inequality and sustainability. As the meeting’s announcement explains, “in so many ways inequality is a backdrop to many features of modern political, economic and social arrangements where structures of self-reinforcing power and influence combine to buttress non-sustainability. We see this in the lobbying for the perpetuation of a carbon economy, in the promotion of the “war on terror”, and in the huge biases built into the interweaving connections between business, politics, regulation and consumerism.”
In my talk I explained how inequality and a consumption correlate. I looked at the issue mainly from a global perspective, using evidence that Danny Dorling and I compiled to find out to what extent inequality and (un)sustainability correlate. The following series of charts give in insight into how the level of inequality and a range of indicators related to consumerism and consumption compare:

Inequality and the ecological footprint
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China’s gender gap: Man-made problems?

CHINET“In recent decades, the world has witnessed the enormous economic, social, cultural and political development of China. As the most populous country in the world, China’s transition process influences directly one fifth of the world’s population and indirectly almost all the rest of the world. Chinese economic activities cover the whole globe, Chinese living overseas constitute the largest diaspora, and China’s political and economic influence is significant. On the other hand, China and its government face many challenges, as Chinese society as well as the environment are affected by these massive processes.” These challenges were the theme of a Conference on the Socio-Economic Transition of China at Palacký University in Olomouc (Czech Republic) where the opportunities and potential threats for China are discussed from an interdisciplinary perspective organized by the CHINET (Forging a scientific team and international networking in the field of Chinese Studies) project.
Part of that was an invited contribution which I prepared in collaboration with Adam Horálek of Palacký University. Our talk titled ‘Mapping Perspectives of Changing China’ presented a global as well as national context to the topic, framing China’s socio-economic place in the globalised world and highlighting some of the trends that started transforming the Chinese society considerably over the past three decades. While the most recent Census is not yet available in larger detail, we focussed on an analysis of some key aspects of the previous Census in more detail (and also discussed the quality and reliability of data from official statistics there).
The following map showing the gender gap was part of our slides (see below) and stands for one of the demographic challenges and existing tensions in the contemporary society. These are not only characterized by the changing age structures (with very distinct geographic patterns of ageing populations), but also by the considerable imbalance between the male and female population in most parts of the country. According to the most recent 2010 Census, this was at 1.18 males per female, and thus increased to the already high ratio that was stated 10 years before. In some regions, there are now over 130 men for 100 woman, with the fear (and sometimes reality), “that the excess will lead to increased sexual violence, general crime and social instability” (quoted from the Guardian). It is very much a man-made problem as in the early 1980s the ratio was at 108:100 and therefore only slightly above the natural rate, after which the 1979 introduced one child policy started having an effect that we see in its full extent today. This map, showing the sex ratio on an equal population projection (a gridded cartogram transformation where each grid cell is resized according to the total number of people in an area). It reveals, that the surplus of men is common throughout the country, while the opposite (a considerable surplus of women) is true for very few of the populated spaces in China (such as in the Shenzhen area of the Pearl River Delta where female migrants are the majority of workers under precarious employment conditions).
The authorities appear to become aware of the emerging problems, and according to the Guardian article, China’s “new Five Year Plan sets an ambitious target of cutting the ratio to 112 or 113 by 2016”. For the time being, the pattern in this map remains prevalent and puts pressure on a society that is feeling the full impact of China’s transformation to a new global player over the past decades.

Male to Female Sex Ratio in China
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