Thursday, August 30, 2007

87 Putting it all together...

Message no. 87[Branch from no. 85] Posted by Thomas Culhane (1311520071) on Thursday, January 25, 2007 1:35am Subject: Putting it all together...

Bravo! Well done Michelle -- and great teamwork (thanks for explaining how Kenisha!).

Now a question: What effect does it have on you seeing the landscape profiles in full color and detail of the various areas where your fellow students live? What effect does it have to see neighborhoods you once lived in as they look today?

It will be interesting to store these photographs, print them out and regoogle each year and see how the landscape changes. Many of you talk about how the areas looked when you first saw them years and years ago, and how they have been altered. We have the impression that change is always for the worse. We have the impression that rural areas and farmland and woods have been progressively turned into urban and suburban developments. Is this empirically true? Are there places where "de-urbanization" has taken place? Are there places where farms that were cleared from forests have gone back to forest? Places where towns have turned back into farmland? What evidence do we have?

Can you find any maps from pre-google days -- aerial photographs perhaps, showing what the environments you lived in looked like 100 years ago?

How about forward up (perspective from the ground) photos?

Without such empirical evidence we can't REALLY be sure that our sense of change is accurate. What do we really know about changing patterns of land use? Can we be sure these aren't just stories we've heard (like the horrible myths that "all Arabs are terrorists")?

Environmental psychology is a SCIENCE, and as such deals in probabilities and reduction of uncertainties. Throughout this course we will strive to collect statistical evidence to back up our sense impressions. This is the only way to conquer our prejudices (how we pre-judge what we believe to be trends in environment and behavior) and get closer to "truth".

What I would love to see now is for somebody (or groups of you) to stitch together the maps and photographs so we can see how to compare our worlds. Anybody up for the task? (Note: I've made a start by posting Pat's word document (the same as she put on her blog) as an html file on our course materials page. When we have everybodies stuff I will put it up as well -- but it would be great if y'all would put the master document together...)

Let me know...

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