2016 Midwest Undergraduate Geography Symposium
Macalester College, Saint Paul, Minnesota USA

Saturday, April 23, 2016

9:00 AM – 10:20 AM

SESSION 1a – Geographies of Migration 1 (CC 206)
Session Moderator: Holly R. Barcus, Macalester College

9:00am – 9:20 am // Gage Garretson, Macalester College, Migration, Asylum, and Identity: Gender and Sexual Minority Refugees in the Mediterranean Refugee Crisis

How refugees are perceived affects their access to resources. Rights-based approaches to emergency situations alone do not adequately address the experiences of gender and sexual minorities. Incorporating gendered migration and queer theory, I argue that refugees with non-normative sexualities, gender identities, and gender expressions are at increased risk, even more so for those claiming non-Western identities, during migration. I will demonstrate how this population of refugees requires a broadening of policy-enforced labels. A combination of secondary interview data sources as well as discourse analysis of both scholarly and news articles will inform my analysis of the gaps for gender and sexual minority refugees created through linguistic distinction in international policies and migration literature.

9:20am – 9:40am // Elizabeth Isaac-Herzog, Macalester College, The State of the (Jewish) State: Migration to Israel and Reinforcement of the Jewish-Israeli Narrative

What does a self-described ethnic state do when migration patterns begin to change its ethnic makeup? How does it change or re-inscribe its state and national narrative? In this paper, I examine these questions through a case study of Israel and the present-day migration trends of American Jews, asylum-seekers, and labor migrants into the country. While Israel was founded as a “Jewish state,” the current reality is that it is experiencing migration from many groups that are not Jewish. I argue that asylum-seekers, labor migrants, and even American Jews are perceived, on some level, as threats to this ethno-nationalist narrative, and that Israel’s implementation of such policies and programs as the Law of Return and Taglit/Birthright, coupled with their largely ineffective and inhumane policies for handling non-Jewish groups of migrants, are methods of reinforcing its narrative when it is challenged by these changing demographics.

9:40am – 10:00am // Ben Kaufman, Macalester College, Interstate Student Migration: Factors that Impact the Decision to Attend College Out of State  

This paper investigates the factors that influence a student’s decision to migrate to a different state to receive higher education. Specifically, the paper explores the significance of economic vs. non-economic factors in this decision process by incorporating a case study of semi-structured interviews with current undergraduate college students who are attending schools outside of their home states. This paper challenges prior research which has found that economic factors play the largest role in this decision, and hypothesizes that the non-factors are just as important, if not more, when the decision strictly involves moving out-of- state.

10:00am – 10:20 am // Jesse Meisenhelter, Macalester College, Mitigating climate-induced migration: sustainable development as a security approach in Morocco.

This paper argues that development-as-security approaches to tackling the root causes of migration will be more politically feasible and economically affordable than extending legal protections to environmental migrants or increasing border security. My case study identifies how current implementation of development in Morocco impedes the capacity of development-as-security approaches to reduce migration. With specific policy changes the E.U.’s Global Approach can serve the dual purposes of an effective security mechanism for Europe and stabilizing rural livelihoods in Morocco. My case study advocates for investment in localized development to establish sustainable rural livelihoods and alternative strategies for adapting to climate change than migration.

SESSION 1b – Geographies of Transportation 1 (CC 214)
Session Moderator: Laura Smith, Macalester College

9:00 – 9:20am // Gordon Moore, Macalester College, From Jaywalking to Walkability: The Evolution of Pedestrians’ Rights and Rhetoric

During the last century, the public discourse around the pedestrian has undergone a series of dramatic shifts. While the overall reorientation of American transport systems in the 20th century has long enjoyed robust discussion and scholarship, the evolution of pedestrians’ rights over the same period has not always commanded similar attention. This paper analyzes the pedestrian’s place in the United States, beginning with the pre- mass auto era and ending with current trends around walkability, pedestrians’ rights, and Vision Zero. In American sociopolitical discourse, the pedestrian has been both neglected and the subject of high controversy, with competing social constructions of pedestrianism and the street constantly at odds with one another. With the advent of walkability and widespread pedestrians’ rights and safety movements, it may appear that we have come full circle—abandoning the conception of the pedestrian as a jaywalking nuisance and beginning a return to the pre-auto conception of the pedestrian and the street. The success of these movements has started to improve conditions for pedestrians, but the broader cultural and sociopolitical implications have yet to play out. The American pedestrian is presently stuck in limbo between the socially constructed status quo that has existed since the mid-1920s and the promise of more equitable future streetscapes.

9:20 – 9:40am // Joseph Klein, Macalester College, The Role of NIMBY in Community Resistance to Interstate 35E Construction in St. Paul, Minnesota

The construction of the Interstate Highway System was frequently met with resistance, as communities across the country feared the impact that highway construction would have on their neighborhoods and the environment. Dominant narratives that surround freeway resistance portray this opposition as a positive example of community engagement, where residents pushed back against bureaucratic planners and took agency over the direction of their neighborhood. In St. Paul, Minnesota, the proposed construction of Interstate 35E spurred similar levels of resistance from an affluent neighborhood and a well-connected community organization. This paper explores how residents of St. Paul were able to successfully win compromises in Interstate 35E’s construction, while other communities opposing similar freeways were not as successful. I will argue that, by prioritizing their own neighborhood over the needs of the entire region, the delays in I-35E’s construction disrupted the greater transportation network in the Twin Cities and created problems which are still being resolved to this day.

9:40 – 10:00am // Talia Moorman, Gustavus Adolphus College, Streetcar to Lightrail: Public Transit and Segregation in the Twin Cities

This presentation explores the relationship between transportation usage and urban development. One of the most influential forms of transportation effecting urban development has been public transportation. Public transportation has been one of the means through which racial and class segregation has been shaped in cities over time. This presentation will be a critical analysis of the Twin Cities in order to determine if segregation patterns are organized by public transportation usage. There have been many previous studies on segregation of class and race, as well as studies on the effects of transportation on urban form. However, these two studies are rarely combined. By combining the knowledge from these two types of studies, it is expected that an explanation to why the Twin Cities is segregated will become clear. This research would like to uncover the reasons as to why this trend of segregation continues today by studying the effects of transportation geographies on urban form. It will do so by investigating the history of the city, and its public transportations in particular.

10:00 – 10:20am // Shruthi Kamisetty, Macalester College, Healthy Cities mean Healthy People: Assessing the Need for and Health Impacts of Transport by Urban Biking and Walking

Obesity is a pervasive public health issue and disproportionately burdens certain communities in the US. One of the root causes of obesity in the US is anchored in urban sprawl, heavy reliance on motorized forms of transportation and other characteristics of the built environment that have supported inactive lifestyles. Thus, in order to effectively combat the “obesity epidemic”, the public health community and urban planning community must come together to critically evaluate ways to modify built environment variables to support increased urban biking and walking. Biking and walking, in particular for commuting purposes, has many health benefits in addition to reducing noxious greenhouse gases and creating vibrant cities. Healthy land use policies and rigorous health impact assessments of alternative transport projects can help create healthier cities for all.

SESSION 1c – Buffalo and the Plains (CC 215)

Session Moderator: Kelsey McDonald, Macalester College

9:00 – 9:20am // John Mayer, University of St. Thomas, Utilizing a Buffalo Commons to promote short- and long-term economic growth in the Plains

This presentation proposes the best possible area for a Buffalo Commons, or American Bison sanctuary, and suggests a process by which the Plains region can experience economic growth. This ideal habitat shows low population densities and relatively low agricultural potential. Specifically, this agricultural potential takes into account the value per acre of farmland, the amount of subsidies received by these farms, and the percentage of cropland in the region. For this presentation, the most attractive areas are those that have a low value, especially when subsidies are taken into account, and have a high percentage of pasture (low percentage of predominately manipulated land i.e. cropland). With this ideal corridor pinpointed, a development proposal is put forth. The creation of a Buffalo Commons and a Bison Corridor require a plethora of jobs including engineers, biologists, wildlife management specialists and many creative-class workers. Initially, the Buffalo Commons will provide mass short-term employment to the proposed region as rewilding efforts and habitat restoration take place. Due to the complexity of the greenprint and ever-adapting landscape, workers will be needed to provide protection, upkeep of the grounds, and troubleshooting of anthropocentric and biocentric dilemmas. Through the creation and implementation of the Buffalo Commons, the Plains region will experience an increase in environmental health and longevity and economic growth and diversification.

9:20 – 9:40am // Giovani Moreno-Hernandez, University of St. Thomas, Rewilding land for bison in the United States

I will look other parts of the world where rewilding projects are currently being done (Rewilding Europe) and focus on rewilding agricultural areas in the United States that are not working but rewilding can be done. I want to use Europe as an example because it has similar economy and terrain in the U.S. There are a few things to consider in regards to rewilding such as: Where should rewilding be done? Why should we restore areas of the United States and what will be outcome to the land? Will rewilding affect private land? What are the benefits for humans? What animals/plants will come back?

9:40 – 10:00am // Jacob Pauna, University of St. Thomas, How viable is habitat restoration in the Great Plains?

The Buffalo Commons proposal has been a controversial subject since its introduction in 1987 by Frank and Debra Popper. Because of the inherent distaste many people feel for the phrase “Buffalo Commons”, it is easy to lose sight of the benefits of large scale restoration. Whether someone loved or hated it, the idea served the purpose of starting a conversation about habitat restoration in Great Plains areas with waning populations. Still, due to the technological and data limitations of the time, research into the viability of the Buffalo Commons was constrained to county level demographic data. In this presentation, GIS is used to create a more well-rounded analysis of the viability in the Great Plains for restoration. In addition to population trends, new variables for assessing large scale conservation include: transportation, infrastructure, the agriculture census, protected lands, and investment. The result shows the optimal location for large scale restoration in the Great Plains. Habitat restoration is an important action to undertake, and the opportunity presented in the plains should not be ignored.

10:00 – 10:20am // Murphy Sinsky, University of St. Thomas, How Fracking has changed the Buffalo Commons landscape

By observing the impact fracking has on its landscape and the scope at which it is utilized in the Great Plains, we can set out more clear boundaries for the Buffalo Commons. Fracking has become a main component of mining in the United States, and the effects of this form of mining can have devastating effects on the ecosystems and landscapes of the area. The plan for this project is to observe how we can move buffalo through the Great Plains without creating health hazards for the bison, all while creating a restoring habitat in the areas in which mining has occurred. We will use GIS mapping to create a digital landscape for the bison to move throughout the Plains, while maintaining a set distance from these extraction sites. This will ensure that any environmental degradation from mining will not negatively impact the bison and their grazing patterns.

The GIS map renderings will consist of current mining sites, as well as impact areas and potential mining sites within the Great Plains. This will allow us to decide what mines may need to be remediated sooner rather than later to allow for the bison to roam as they would need, as well as how the mines could impact the agriculture in the Great Plains by forcing bison to move in certain directions. Our hope is that we can pinpoint locations in which bison can freely roam, with adequate space, and not be concerned with the negative impacts that mining has on our environment.

10:30 AM – 11:40 AM (DAVIS LECTURE HALL)  

Professor CAROLINE FARIA, University of Texas at Austin

Showcasing African brides and undergraduate research: A study of the wedding industry in Kampala, Uganda

In June 2015, the city of Kampala, Uganda hosted the 7th “Bride and Groom” Expo. Demonstrating the dramatic and lucrative rise of the wedding industry in East Africa, and its highly diversified form, the trade fair exhibited a myriad of products and services related to the big day. These included everything from lavish hotel event planning, car rental, and invitation design to wedding photography and the “honeymoon of a lifetime”. But the key attraction was the promise of a sneak peek at the latest in bridal fashions, with runway models showcasing a host of glimmering gowns and emerging Ugandan design talent. Influenced by South Asian, Western and African trends, produced in the US, China and locally, and journeying in the suitcases and cargo holds of transnational traders, these dresses both reflect and are remaking pathways of East African globalization. The trade fair raises a set of questions that demand a feminist geographic lens: How are new transnational trade networks reflected in sparkling sequined styles? What does the popularity in diamante design say about new economies of desire? And how is the liberalization of a nation-state refashioning bridal bodies? In short, what can a wedding gown tell us about the world? In this talk I discuss the in-process research methods, preliminary findings and emergent directions of a collaborative undergraduate-faculty research project that explores the rapid rise of the “white wedding” industry in Uganda.


Jenna Abrahamson, Elliott Allen, and Darian Zimmerman, University of St. Thomas, Nature’s Strongholds: Conservation in the Face of Climate Change

Global climate change has given conservationists a new question to ask: how will protected lands be affected by changing climate? Increased global temperatures, precipitation change, and altered growing seasons could pose a major threat to species, even those in protected habitats. This also creates a new set of constraints that need to be applied when purchasing land for preservation. Conservationists, including Mark Anderson, believe the solution can be found through targeting geophysical properties of the landscape, focusing on the stage (geology) and not the actors (biology). We focused on bedrock geology, elevation, wetland density, and habitat connectedness, with the goal of finding hot spots that are resistant to climate change. Through a GIS model that analyzes landscape traits associated with resilience, we targeted areas in Southeastern Minnesota that would act as a stage for long-term evolutionary processes. Our hope is to help agencies such as The Nature Conservancy to utilize limited conservation funds in the most efficient means possible.

Sophia Ali, Macalester College, WASH Coverages and the Spatial Epidemiology of Active Trachoma in Ethiopia

This project is aimed at investigating the spatial epidemiology of active trachoma in Ethiopia. Given that safe drinking water, adequate sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) are key interventions targeted at the control and elimination of trachoma, this project aims to explore the relationship between WASH coverages and the prevalence of active trachoma in Ethiopia. Using cluster and regression analyses, this project will examine the extent to which WASH programs have been utilized in Ethiopia and the significance of these practices on the prevalence of trachoma. I hypothesize that, given the success of WASH practices in preventing the transmission of NTDs and other infectious diseases, areas with improved WASH coverages will have lower active trachoma cases as compared to regions with poor coverages.

Silas Cleveland and Jacob Wright, University of St. Thomas, A Guide to Understanding Minnesota’s Community Solar Garden Legislation

We explain how legislation and public policy drives Minnesota’s increasing investment in solar energy. In 2013, Minnesota passed Statute 216B.1691 Subd. 2f, which established new solar energy standards for the state’s many public utilities. The details of Subd. 2f explain that, “by 2020 at least 1.5 percent of a utility’s total retail electric sales to retail customers in Minnesota is generated by solar energy.” One proposed solution to achieve the goals set by the state is to create community solar gardens. The legislation behind community solar projects is relatively new, currently evolving and rather confusing. State Statute 216B.1641, commonly referred to as the Community Solar Garden legislation, along with other related policy will be outlined in a simplified visual presentation. Aided by the detailed public policy regarding community solar gardens, Minnesota could be a leader in the push to expand renewable energy sources throughout the United States.

Hannah Currens, Macalester College, The Politics Behind STIs: Matching the Presence of Federally-Funded Family Planning Programs to STI Clusters in the United States

This research investigates if changes in STI rates (specifically syphilis, chlamydia, and gonorrhea) can be associated with fluctuations in federal support using national level point data on family planning entities participating in 340B Discount Drug Pricing (from the Health Resources and Services Administration or HRSA) and county-level data obtained on STI cases and rates (from the CDC’s NCHHSTP Atlas). This poster will particularly focus on if any of these changes are evident in a national-level spatial pattern. That is, if changes in 340B participation are regionally clustered and/or if significant STI rates are clustered, and how these groupings change in relation to federal policy. Methods such as Local Indicators of Spatial Autocorrelation, Moran’s I, and time series visualization will be used to test the hypothesis that changes in disease clusters will have an inverse relationship to presence and density of entities that receive 340B discount drug pricing.

Xing Gao, Macalester College, Understanding how Distance to Facility and Quality of Care Affect Maternal Service Utilization in Kenya and Haiti: A Comparative GIS Study

Access to maternal health services impacts utilization, and in turn affect health outcomes. This study aims to understand how distance to facility and quality of care, as components of access, affect maternal service utilization in Kenya and Haiti. Furthermore, this study examines how this relationship may change or hold between urban and rural regions. Using Geographic Information Systems, data from the United States Agency for International Development Demographic & Health Survey and Service Provision Assessment are linked spatially. A gravity model based methodology measures the relationship between access, which considers both distance to facility and quality of care, and maternal health service utilization. As the results show, in both rural and urban regions, access to services and service utilization share similar spatial patterns. In urban regions, pockets of maternal health disparities exist despite close distance to facility and standard quality of care. In rural regions, some areas have long distance to facility and low quality of care, resulting in poor maternal service usage. This preliminary GIS study highlights the importance of access in maternal healthcare and the usefulness of Geographic Information Systems as a tool to evaluate disparities in maternal healthcare provision and usage.

Samia Habli, Macalester College, Transportation and Food Accessibility in the Twin Cities, Minnesota

This project aims to investigate the spatial distribution of food deserts in the Twin Cities, Minnesota. Data on supermarkets and grocery stores were obtained from ReferenceUSA and geocoded, and data on mode of transportation to work were obtained from American FactFinder. Using network analysis tools and transportation data on the census tract level, this project aims to shed light on how households’ available mode of transportation influences whether they are located in a food desert or not. We hypothesize that census tracts with more limited access to cars are more likely to be located in food deserts.

Katie Jurenka, Macalester College, Suburban Rail Transit and Land Use: A Spatiotemporal Study of Violent Crime in Bloomington, MN

Popular perception often connects the introduction of suburban public transportation to increases in crime. Criminological approaches also propose links between the urban environment, increased criminal mobility and access to vulnerable populations moving through unfamiliar space. These perspectives have bolstered negative public opinion and opposition to suburban­serving transit systems. However, statistically rigorous studies produce varied results specific to place and time, and no such research has studied the Twin Cities Metropolitan Area. This study presents a spatio­temporal analysis of violent crime incidence, land use and proximity to Metro Transit’s BLUE Line stations in Bloomington, MN in 2005 and 2015. This study utilizes kernel density analysis and local measures of cluster to understand spatial patterns of assaults, as well as a spatial regression to elucidate the relationship between assaults, land use, and proximity to rail transit stations. Ultimately, this project hopes to contribute to growing scholarship on transit­related crime, as impressions of safety influence the ways in which residents interact with the urban landscape and may help public safety officials make informed decisions regarding transit station design to ensure the physical safety and health of their customers.

McKenzie Maidl, Macalester College, Spatial Relationships Between Asthma Prevalence, Air Pollution, and Socioeconomic Status in Los Angeles County, California

Asthma is a chronic respiratory condition that affects nearly ten percent of the nation’s population. Although the causes of asthma are not yet understood, air pollution likely exacerbates its symptoms. This research aims to identify the relationship between asthma prevalence and air pollution, and considers which groups of people are most affected by both. Los Angeles County in California contains the nation’s smoggiest city, and is the geographic focus of this study. In 2014, the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment released a data set containing information on environmental, health, and demographic factors throughout the state. This study uses measurements of ozone and fine particle pollution (PM2.5) from the data set as indicators of air pollution, and poverty and race as gauges of socioeconomic status. It utilizes a geographic information system (GIS) to visualize the variables and identify spatial autocorrelation of high and low rates of asthma, as measured by emergency room visits for asthma related incidents, through local indicators of spatial association (LISA). Using regression analysis, this research will test the relationships between asthma, air pollution, and demographic characteristics. Based on the visual overlays of variables, particularly LISA clusters; I hypothesize that a relationship will exist between high rates of asthma, air pollution, and low socioeconomic status in LA County.

Eleanor McGrath, Macalester College, Spatial Correlation between HIV and Income Inequality in Washington DC

This project focuses on the correlation between HIV and income inequality within Washington DC. Infectious diseases, like HIV, have been largely overlooked in terms of health outcomes in relation to income inequality and social capital. Across the US, the rate of HIV is generally low. However it is clustered and significantly higher in urban areas, where it particularly impacts socially disenfranchised populations. Most studies have not considered these geographic factors. This issue is particularly pertinent in Washington DC due to its significant rates of both HIV and income inequality. This study uses HIV rates and demographic data by census tract to do this comparison. Income inequality was measured using the Gini Index and decile ratios and compared HIV to both of these measures and to the distribution of income throughout the city. The spatial clustering for each of these variables will be analyzed using statistical methods, such as Morans I and LISA and a regression analysis will be run to further understand the relationship. Both the high prominence of HIV and income inequality in DC and the known connection of HIV and impoverished populations indicate that the observed relationship will be explicit within Washington DC.

Sanober Mirza, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Influences on Carbon Dynamics and Variation in Tropical Soils

Carbon and nitrogen are involved in a number of important processes in soils, which affect soil fertility and the chemical composition of the atmosphere, with direct effects on climate. There are many factors that can influence these processes and change the composition of soils. Some of these factors such as land use, elevation, soil order, and soil texture can affect soil microbial processes and, in turn, the decomposition of organic matter. Land management can alter the fluxes and stocks of nutrients within soils. The distribution of soil particle sizes, or soil texture, can influence soil physical and chemical properties, including water holding capacity and organic matter content. In this multifaceted study, we investigated tropical soils in terms of their land use and texture proportions. We used carbon-to- nitrogen (C:N) ratios and soil particle size analysis to answer large-scale questions on soil carbon dynamics and what causes its variation among different settings in the tropics. This research provides a comprehensive look at soil heterogeneity in Puerto Rican soils through a focus on particle size analysis and land-use change.

Rose Misey, University of St. Thomas, Exploring National and Local Relationships between Obesity and Education

The Center for Disease Control declared obesity an epidemic in the United States in 1999. By 2004, the National Center for Health Statistics determined that two-thirds of Americans age 20 and older, are overweight or obese. Obesity related medical care has been going up as well; $99.2 billion was spent in 1995 alone. One study estimated an entirely obese nation by 2102, provided current trends continue. Public health researchers have discovered several behavioral and genetic factors spatially autocorrelated with the presence of obesity. Additionally, there is a disconnect between medical practitioners and public beliefs on causes and solutions to obesity, resulting in ineffective treatment. Our research uses GIS to explore the relationship between education (in terms of bachelor’s degrees) and obesity at the county level. Nationally, these maps demonstrate a strong negative correlation, but they also unveil some interesting local exceptions to the prevailing trend. Studying these outliers could inform effective obesity prevention measures within less educated populations by fine-tuning treatment to local conditions.

Julia Morgan, Macalester College, Holes in the Hospice Care Movement: Analyzing Access to Hospice Care Facilities in Washington

Hospice care is widely regarded as an improvement in end of life care. It has been shown to improve pain management, increase likelihood of dying in preferred place of death, and lower healthcare costs for terminal patients. However, many studies have shown disparities in the use of and access to hospice care due to race, socioeconomic status, and age. Accordingly, this study seeks to investigate the geographic disparities in access to hospice care in the state of Washington. Addresses for hospice care facilities were obtained from the Washington Hospice and Palliative Care Association and geocoded, all other demographic and geographic data was obtained from the US Census. The network analyst extension was used in ArcMap to create time-sensitive catchment areas around each hospice facility and identify census tracts within 60 minutes of a facility. Additionally, localized cluster analysis was done to identify areas with high rates of hospice and home death (an indicator of hospice use). Finally, odds ratios and two- tailed t-test statistics were done to identify differences in access based on race, socioeconomic status, and median age.

Asia Sageman, Macalester College, The Relationship of Toxic Release Inventory Sites and Prostate Cancer Rates in Michigan Counties (2008-2012)

The EPA has extensive rules restricting the release of chemicals toxic to humans and the environment.  Despite these regulations, thousands of facilities violate them.  The goal of this study is to explore the relationship between TRI sites and public health in Michigan.  Currently, Michigan has 1,505 facilities in violation of EPA regulations.  Prostate cancer rates by county (2008 – 2012) from the National Cancer Institute were used as the health indicator to compare against TRI sites compiled by the EPA.  Using Moran’s I, odds ratio, and OLS regression the statistical significance of cancer clustering and the relationship between cancer rates and number of TRI sites can be analyzed.  Presently, the Moran’s I test has confirmed the statistical significance of cancer clusters in Michigan.  The odds ratio test has found that men have 16.5 times the odds of having prostate cancer if they live in a county with above the median number of TRI sites for Michigan counties (TRI > 8) versus a county with below the median number of TRI sites (TRI < 8).  These preliminary results suggest that toxic releases may contribute to heightened cancer rates.  This research should serve to inform the chemical industry of the public health repercussions that may result from releasing toxic chemicals in violation of EPA regulations.

Chloe Shoemaker, Macalester College, Attempting to utilize Late Stage Breast Cancer and Medicare to Determine Geographic Health Disparities

Health disparities is a growing concern in healthcare since 1985. Utilizing certain conditions as proxies for the quality of a region’s health infrastructure can help determine whether there is an uneven access to health services and facilities. The stage at which breast cancer is diagnosed is an important predictor in the health outcome, and a high percentage of cases diagnosed as Late Stage Breast Cancer (LSBC) can indicate geographic disparities as shown by previous research (Tatalovich et al 2015, McLafferty et al, 2011). LSBC has associated high risk factors such as socioeconomic characteristics, and health insurance characteristics. This project looks at Medicare as an indicator of LSBC to determine whether or not it can be utilized like race or educational attainment. This project will accomplish this determination by utilizing geographic information systems (GIS) to determine whether or not Medicare can also highlight geographic disparities to the same degree by comparison to Tatalovich et al.’s results from New Jersey in the period of 2000-2010.

Millie Varley, Macalester College, Clean Cars and Healthy Humans: The Effects of PM2.5 on Health in California  

This research project investigates the connection between environmental degradation and poor human health by examining the health impacts of California’s Clean Car Law. Fine particulate matter (PM2.5) is released by the combustion process in motor vehicles and exposure is linked to several negative health outcomes (Mar et al. 2005; Chalbot et al. 2014). I address whether and where the 2009 regulations to reduce greenhouse gasses in new passenger vehicles have also reduced levels of PM2.5 in California. Data on PM2.5 is collected at stationary sources and has been spatially interpolated using ordinary kriging to estimate annual PM2.5 levels by census tract for 2009 and 2014. To examine the correlation between positive health outcomes and reductions in PM2.5, I calculate the local and global Moran’s I for percent change in asthma, hypertension, and heart disease between 2009 and 2014. I then use regression analysis to determine whether there is a statistically significant connection between percent change in health outcomes and levels of PM2.5. I expect to find that areas with reductions in PM2.5 are associated with spatial clusters of decreased rates of asthma, hypertension, and heart disease between 2009 and 2014.

1:15 PM – 2:35 PM

SESSION 2a – Environmental Geography and Alternative Energy  (CC 206)
Session Moderator: David Kelley, University of St. Thomas

1:15 – 1:35pm  // Jenna Abrahamson, Elliott Allen, Jesse Sabota, and Darian Zimmerman, University of St. Thomas, Assessing potential impacts of energy sprawl on Minnesota landscapes due to ethanol

Due to extensive fossil fuel use and increased greenhouse gas emissions, the world is now facing the threat of climate change.  Ethanol is proposed as a cleaner alternative to fossil fuels, but it results in extensive amounts of energy sprawl. The negative consequences of energy sprawl, along with the necessary land-use changes required for the production of corn-grain ethanol are capable of actually increasing net greenhouse gas emissions rather than lowering them.  We developed a GIS model that estimates the maximum possible extent of corn production in Minnesota.  These results were used to estimate how much gas consumption could be offset by the use of “heroic corn”. Our results illustrate the inefficiency of ethanol production in the US, even from a ‘best-case scenario’ perspective.  Despite its bad reputation in the renewable energy community, ethanol is the most widely used form of “clean” energy in the United States, due to the endorsement of a multitude of lobbyists and government subsidies.  We propose that it is time for The United States to reevaluate its energy goals in regards to the subsidization of ethanol.

1:35 – 1:55 pm // Kenzi Coborn, Autumn Reynolds-Lillibridge, Nicholas Villwock, Jake Wood, and Katelyn Zelenka, University of St. Thomas, Bioenergy and prairie restoration on Minnesota landscapes: a thought experiment

Last December, political leaders from all over the world came together to create a global climate change initiative. Minnesota has pledged to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and in doing so, explored different forms of energy including bioenergy. The most heavily subsidized bioenergy source is ethanol, but it has its problems including energy sprawl, soil degradation, carbon debt, and questionable energy efficiency. A potentially sustainable alternative to ethanol are low-input high-diversity biofuels. Some benefits of LIHD biofuels are prairie restoration, increased biodiversity, minimized competition with food production, and high carbon sequestration. For these reasons, low-input high-diversity (LIHD) biofuels have become a more environmentally sustainable bioenergy alternative. We developed a GIS model that examines the hypothetical effects of converting ten percent of Minnesota’s corn and soybean crops located in former prairie ecosystems within ten miles of existing reserves. We then estimate a wide range of benefits that may happen as a result.

1:55 – 2:15 pm // Courtney Eickhoff, Chad Helland, Peter Holmes, and Jacob Pauna, University of St. Thomas, Analysis of hybrid energy landscapes: combining solar pollinating gardens in Minnesota

The first solar garden in Minnesota was developed in 2013. Over 4,000 acres of land are proposed to be used for solar gardens in 2016, a movement that will enhance Minnesota’s commitment to renewable resources. The Minnesota 2015 Statute declares that by 2020 at least 1.5 percent of retail electric sales must come from solar power. The footprint of solar power has been a cause for concern due to natural landscape fragmentation by industrial solar development. Combining solar and pollinating gardens into hybrid landscapes could solve this problem by enhancing biodiversity along with improving the health of local bee colonies. Through the use of ArcGIS, a model targeting optimal locations can be applied when placing solar pollinating farms in the state of Minnesota. Looking at the lot sizes needed to have a functional solar pollination garden allows for the delegation of the area necessary to fulfill Minnesota’s mandate.  With hypothetical statistics on the placement of solar pollination farms along with the health impacts on bee colonies, the effects of solar pollination gardens can be analyzed

2:15-2:35 pm // Jack Kellner, Sophie Van Pelt, Aaron Sather, Marianne Sciamanda, and Claire Spangenberg, University of St. Thomas, Minimizing sprawl, maximizing generation: Minnesota’s wind energy futures

At the 2015 United Nations climate conference in Paris (COP21), the United States committed to reducing carbon emissions by 28% by the year 2025. Minnesota law requires a shift to 20% renewable energy by 2020. Wind energy contribution will help Minnesota reach this goal.  Careful planning of turbine technology and site location can reduce energy sprawl, in which renewable energy technologies dominate the landscape. Our ArcGIS model explores optimal land use potential for wind energy in Minnesota by incorporating average wind speeds, profitability, land use per wind turbine, siting regulations, and emerging technologies. Additionally, this paper will present options for creating hybrid landscapes that promote conservation efforts such as prairie restoration. Through the implementation of this sustainable energy alternative, Minnesota can reach its renewable energy production goal while balancing land for alternative uses, including farming, and recreation.

SESSION 2b – Geographies of Transportation 2 (CC 214)
Session Moderator: Claude Péloquin, Macalester College

1:15 – 1:35pm // Rachel Auerbach, Macalester College, Mobilizing the Highly Mobile: Examining the Role of Public Transportation in the Lives of Individuals Experiencing Homelessness

This paper examines the ways in which individuals experiencing homelessness interact with public transportation in urban areas around the US.  It looks at how public transportation can be used to alleviate obstacles for individuals experiencing homeless, and also the barriers that prevent public transit from being completely accessible to unhoused individuals. Aside from looking at public transportation as a potential tool for physical and social mobility, this paper also considers public transportation as an alternative to overnight shelters for people who cannot or prefer not to sleep in overnight shelters.

1:35 – 1:55 pm // Hannah Bonestroo, Macalester College, The Modern Streetcar: Trolley or Folly?

This paper examines the ways in which individuals experiencing homelessness interact with public transportation in urban areas around the US.  It looks at how public transportation can be used to alleviate obstacles for individuals experiencing homeless, and also the barriers that prevent public transit from being completely accessible to unhoused individuals. Aside from looking at public transportation as a potential tool for physical and social mobility, this paper also considers public transportation as an alternative to overnight shelters for people who cannot or prefer not to sleep in overnight shelters.

1:55 – 2:15 pm // Martine Cartier, Macalester College, Lima’s Transit Reform: Balancing City Health and Informal Livelihoods

This paper addresses the effects of the formalization proposals of Lima’s transit system on the city’s informal sector. Currently, private transit companies operate the colorful buses vying for passengers at nearly every corner. As essential as these private, informal bus lines are to the daily transportation of nearly 80 percent of Lima’s population, they are major causes of congestion, accidents, and pollution. To address these issues, the Lima Metropolitan government is increasing regulation of the private transit and implementing a system of electric trains, BRT, and buses along major corridors throughout the city. These new lines will displace thousands of transit vehicles, end many transit workers jobs, and also affect the informal vendors that rely on these buses for their customer base. Although some social mitigation programs have been proposed for certain transit workers, many workers will lose their livelihoods. However, my research shows that modernizing and integrating the informal transit fleet into the formal sector, rather than replacing it, would address many of the transportation concerns while also improving the living conditions many informal workers.

2:15 – 2:35 pm // Alex Edelmann, Macalester College, Alleys: An Unrealized Resource

Alleys have long been neglected from general urban planning discourse. Largely viewed as a byproduct of street creation and building construction, the space allies represent within cities has been stigmatized and relegated to the bottom of any list of planner’s development priorities. The perception of the American alley as the trash filled, backwater domain of criminals and miscreants has caused urbanists to overlook one of the greatest networks of developable space available to cities. I investigate alleys’ potential to become viable public space and pedestrian focused streetscapes while maintaining their functional role as service access routes. Several cities across the US have initiated programs to focus on alley activation, successfully transforming alleys for alternative use. These spaces capture the unseen, fragmented history of cities, their long periods of underuse enables the unintentional preservation of form and structure, giving them an immediate sense of place and making them a unique, sustainable setting for development.

SESSION 2c – Buffalo and the Plains 2 (CC 215)
Session Moderator: Jeff La Frenierre, Gustavus Adolphus College

1:15 – 1:35pm // Christopher Morgan, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Do Seed Traits Mediate Plant Community Changes in Wisconsin’s Unburned Prairies?

Historically, both natural and man-made fires have burned their way across North American prairies, providing a necessary disturbance that grassland systems are adapted to. With human activity fragmenting these prairies at an accelerated rate since the 1950s, the few prairies that do remain are often fire suppressed, and woody plant species with larger seeds may have a competitive advantage under contemporary conditions. This study seeks to quantify the mechanisms underpinning biodiversity loss from invading woody plants in order to better understand prairie alteration and disappearance. To do so, we investigated the effects of functional seed traits, fire history, and prairie extent, ultimately providing valuable information on best management practices for prairies and solid evidence on the effects of landscape conversion on our natural ecosystems.

1:35 – 1:55 pm // Emily Carroll, University of St. Thomas, Adolescence, Rehabilitation and the Buffalo Commons

Historically, both natural and man-made fires have burned their way across North American prairies, providing a necessary disturbance that grassland systems are adapted to. With human activity fragmenting these prairies at an accelerated rate since the 1950s, the few prairies that do remain are often fire suppressed, and woody plant species with larger seeds may have a competitive advantage under contemporary conditions. This study seeks to quantify the mechanisms underpinning biodiversity loss from invading woody plants in order to better understand prairie alteration and disappearance. To do so, we investigated the effects of functional seed traits, fire history, and prairie extent, ultimately providing valuable information on best management practices for prairies and solid evidence on the effects of landscape conversion on our natural ecosystems.

1:55 – 2:15 pm // Nathaniel Bettin, University of St. Thomas, Modeling Landscape Suitability and Connectivity to Promote Bison Conversation on Native American Tribal Lands

Historically, both natural and man-made fires have burned their way across North American prairies, providing a necessary disturbance that grassland systems are adapted to. With human activity fragmenting these prairies at an accelerated rate since the 1950s, the few prairies that do remain are often fire suppressed, and woody plant species with larger seeds may have a competitive advantage under contemporary conditions. This study seeks to quantify the mechanisms underpinning biodiversity loss from invading woody plants in order to better understand prairie alteration and disappearance. To do so, we investigated the effects of functional seed traits, fire history, and prairie extent, ultimately providing valuable information on best management practices for prairies and solid evidence on the effects of landscape conversion on our natural ecosystems.

2:15-2:35 pm // Michael Hermann, University of St. Thomas, Federal lands, conservation effectiveness and economic viability in the Great Plains

Historically, both natural and man-made fires have burned their way across North American prairies, providing a necessary disturbance that grassland systems are adapted to. With human activity fragmenting these prairies at an accelerated rate since the 1950s, the few prairies that do remain are often fire suppressed, and woody plant species with larger seeds may have a competitive advantage under contemporary conditions. This study seeks to quantify the mechanisms underpinning biodiversity loss from invading woody plants in order to better understand prairie alteration and disappearance. To do so, we investigated the effects of functional seed traits, fire history, and prairie extent, ultimately providing valuable information on best management practices for prairies and solid evidence on the effects of landscape conversion on our natural ecosystems.

SESSION 2d – Geographies of Migration 2 (Davis Lecture Hall)
Session Moderator: Holly R. Barcus, Macalester College

1:15 – 1:35pm // Wynonna Ardiansyah, Macalester College, Leisurely Getaways or Political Statements? The Transformation of Urban Landscapes of Power by Foreign Migrant Workers in Southeast Asian and East Asian Weekend Enclaves

The creation of weekend enclaves within Southeast Asian and East Asian city centers by foreign migrant workers is a phenomenon that has existed for decades. Despite this, literature on the transformative, transnational and sociopolitical aspects remains limited. By analyzing the gendered micropolitics of public and private space as well as urban geographies of power in the Southeast Asian and East Asian context, this paper highlights how state, civil society and foreign migrant worker dynamics influence the role of weekend enclaves in the urban landscape. Ultimately, this paper offers a perspective to complicate the idea that foreign migrant workers are mere ‘victims’ who flock to the ‘sanctuary’ of weekend enclaves. Rather, these spaces are sites of not only resistance against dominant actors in the urban landscape, but also of empowerment and self-expression.

1:35 – 1:55 pm // Delia Walker-Jones, Macalester College, Transnational Identity of the Iranian Diaspora in the Twin Cities through Ethnic Markets

This research explores Iranian diasporic identity in the United States, with a focus on the Twin Cities. In this project I approach the question of identity through the lens of ethnic markets, discussing how and to what extent ethnic Iranian markets and restaurants support a transnational Iranian identity, particularly through the consumption of nostalgic Iranian goods. This research makes use of a variety of migration theories and research methods. First, I explicate the concepts of nostalgia, migration networks, and transnationalism, and how these ideas connect together to support my conception of an ethnic market and transnational identity. Next I give an overview of Iranians in the Twin Cities based on data collected by Iranian American organizations and news sources, and my own research and observations. Then I describe my research methods: a combination of observational fieldwork, memoirs of Iranian Americans, and supplementary interviews with Iranians in the Twin Cities. Finally I synthesize this research with my theories: my readings of Iranian American memoirs support the concept of nostalgia, my observational research supports the popular theory of migration networks, and finally my interviews pull together a picture of a comprehensive transnational Iranian American identity. I argue that by purchasing Iranian goods at ethnic Iranian markets, Iranian migrants in the Twin Cities are able to create a sustainable migration network that facilitates a complex transnational identity through their consumption of nostalgic goods.

1:55 – 2:15 pm // Katelyn Kack, Macalester College, From Seasonal Migration to the Individual: Investigating the Decision of Purchasing a Seasonal Lake Home

Seasonal migration to a second home occurs for a reason. The individual is at the heart of the decision. Second homeowners have the privilege of deciding why and where to migrate. This study will take a behavioral approach for understanding what second homeowners of lake homes consider, when thinking of a second home. More specifically, this article examines how place attachment impacts the purchasing decision of second- homeowners in Alexandria, MN. The type of methodology used will be a case study. The case study will examine multiple aspects of Minnesota lake culture and demographics of Alexandria. Conclusions are drawn based upon the examination of different place attachment theories in relation to the case study. The findings suggest that second homeowners of lake cabins find multiple factors to be important in the decision to purchase their second home. Place attachment is just one of these factors.

2:15 – 2:35 pm // Katherine Brown, Macalester College, Relearning Womanhood; A Gendered Analysis of German-Turkish Return Migrants in Istanbul

In recent years, Turkey has seen an influx of ethnic Turks ‘returning’ to the country after growing up in Germany. This paper examines female return migrants’ strategies to adjust to life in Istanbul. Using ethnographic data, it explores independence, gender, and the role the city plays in these women’s hybrid and transnational identities. Drawing on feminist literature, it proposes that in the face of contradictory expectations from German and Turkish societies, female return migrants must choose between remaining foreigners in their ethnic homeland and renouncing their German-instilled values. Istanbul offers anonymity and cosmopolitanism, thereby making it an attractive destination for women who wish to maintain German values while living in Turkey.

2:45 PM – 4:05 PM

SESSION 3a – Geographies of Migration 3 (CC 206)

Session Moderator: Holly Barcus, Macalester College

2:45 – 3:05pm // Katherine Fadelli, Katya Mullendore, and Breana Nehls, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Return to the Walking City: Consumer Experience and the History of Transportation and Business on State Street in Madison, Wisconsin

Directly connecting the Wisconsin State Capitol and the eastern edge of the University of Wisconsin – Madison, State Street has long been the premier transportation artery as well as the cultural and economic heart of the city. In order to track how the shifts in transportation affected the business landscape at this micro-scale, the authors collected and categorized the total number of businesses present on State Street for selected years between 1858 to 2014. Trends in the business categories that the authors identified, including Retail, Professional Services, Entertainment, and Industry, changed in relation to the major transportation events on State Street, such as the implementation and removal of the streetcar and the conversion to a transit mall. State Street’s identity evolved from a thoroughfare that supported industry and staple goods to a pedestrian focused shopping and entertainment destination. Our review of archival business directories shows that transportation and the business landscape co-evolved through time.

3:05 – 3:25pm // Elliot Mohler and Cameron Reischauer, Gustavus Adolphus College, Cities for Whom? A Community-Based Learning Project in North Mankato

The purpose of this research is to study the overall effect of the one year rental moratorium currently in effect in the city of North Mankato, Minnesota. The study underway by the city is meant to explore possible options to resolve an “over- concentration” of rental homes in the eastern half of Lower North Mankato. It is critical to note who benefits from such a policy, as well as those who do not benefit but rather are disadvantaged by it. Additionally, data pertaining to rental property concentration within North Mankato will be analyzed along with its comparison to property values. Various other examples of implemented rental license moratoriums within the state of Minnesota are compared to the case of North Mankato. Rental license moratoriums have multiple effects, both positive and negative, that must be taken into account. This research was conducted as part of a community-based learning project with an advocacy group called Friends of North Mankato. We shared our results with the group who is currently contesting the city council’s moratorium. Our guiding question was ‘cities for whom?’ We address that question in the presentation.

3:25 – 3:45pm // Claire Hofius, Macalester College, Environmental Risk, Health and Residential Mobility: A Neighborhood-Scale Assessment

Environmental exposures such as elevated lead levels, proximity to toxic release sites, and even noise pollution are inimical to health and well-being.  Given that people in the United States are highly mobile and residential choice opportunities are constrained; what types of health-environment factors should people consider when choosing a new neighborhood? Using area level data, my research examines population behaviors and characteristics using ESRI tapestry segmentations, health data, and environmental exposure data to assess the tradeoffs made in terms of health outcomes when making residential mobility decisions. I argue that environmental risk can and ought to be used to describe neighborhood level disparities because making these data available creates opportunities for citizen action. This research integrates literature from Environmental Justice research which illustrates disproportionate exposures to environmental risks in minority populations, and life course perspectives to residential mobility. In doing so, it seeks to link health, place and residential mobility at the neighborhood level. These findings not only contribute data and empirical evidence on how environmental risk relates to residential factors, but also further the discussion of how environmental risk creates citizen action, and should influence mobility decisions.

3:45 – 4:05pm // Kate Hayes, University of Wisconsin-Madison, A 12,000 record of the fire regime of Bonnet Lake, Ohio  

Fire is an integral force in ecosystem dynamics and a necessary component to understand in the context of climate change. Fire events produce charcoal which is deposited in lakes locally within watersheds. We sampled 10 meters of a lake sediment core taken from Bonnet Lake, Ohio and performed macroscopic charcoal analysis to count and identify charcoal fragments throughout the core. These counts were used to establish both background and peak rates of charcoal accumulation. These accumulation rates illuminate fire frequency at a local level. Through the comparison of multiple core charcoal records, we intend to establish a fire history for the lower Mid-west and determine how that history has been influenced by climate change and anthropogenic forces. This fire history will illuminate past environmental conditions in an area heavily influenced by human activity.

SESSION 3b – Buffalo & the Plaines 3 (CC 214)
Session Moderator: Paul Lorah, University of St. Thomas

2:45 – 3:05pm // Anthony King-Foreman, University of St. Thomas, Rewilding buffalo highways through the Great Plains

This project uses GIS to locate optimal locations for prairie rewilding and for corridors that would improve bison habitat. I plan on using data layers such as isolation from humans, age of a farm owner, water, and cropland profitability that will allow me to display places that can connect to create a buffalo highway.

  • Isolation from humans – To allow for safe travel of both humans and buffalo
  • Age of a farm owner – Which farm owners are willing to sell their land for rewilding and restoration
  • Proximity to Water – Buffalo need a source of water to survive and travel distances
  • Cropland Profitability – Which pieces of farm land are not working/profiting and will be more willing to sell for rewilding

Buffalo movement is important because a buffalo’s resources to survive are not static; they are always moving and changing with weather, seasons, and human growth. Some buffalo may need to travel vast distances to find a new food source, to reproduce, or to find new habitat. In many cases these criteria are vitally important for the survival of a species. Buffalo are also important because many places in the Great Plains are showing signs of decline economically, socially, and in young people. With little opportunity to succeed in rural areas the youth of the Great Plains are moving into urban communities and the effects are now showing. The rehabilitation and conservation of buffalo can boost local economies, provide jobs, and eventually bring young people back to succeed in the Great Plains ecosystem. There is a great possibility of a new frontier using the buffalo commons model.

3:05 – 3:25pm // Gregory Kruger, University of St. Thomas, Where is the most economically viable location for rewilding bison habitat in the Great Plains?

I am looking for areas in the Great Plains where the average government subsidies per farm are high but average net income per farm are low. I am using GIS to look for areas where the government could buy less productive and less valuable farmland and give the farmers 10 years’ worth of subsidies upfront in order to re-wild that land for bison. The area would need to be about one million acres so there will have to be a large enough area that is doing poor economically to be a contender because it would be unfair to kick people off their profitable land just because their neighbor is not as profitable. I will compare areas with poor economic production to the areas suitable for bison. Those places that are doing poorly economically that are also suitable for bison will be the target areas.

3:25 – 3:45pm // Karen Lally, University of St. Thomas, Promoting Conservation: the InterTribal Bison Cooperative, Restoration and Development

The InterTribal Bison Cooperative (ITBC) is an organization whose membership includes over 50 tribes from North America. The ITBC is dedicated to restoring the bison to the American landscape, with a mission promoting “cultural enhancement, spiritual revitalization, ecological restoration, and economic development” (ITBC Newsletter, Fall 2015). This presentation focuses on the marketing and development strategies utilized by the ITBC in their restoration efforts and, to a certain extent, how successful these strategies have been. In many of the ITBC promotions, bison restoration is presented as a holistic concept, in which culture and development are inextricably linked. While this makes it more challenging to isolate how the return of bison will influence development, ecology, or culture individually, it does offer insight to values that are reshaping Native American landscapes.

3:45 – 4:05pm // Benjamin John, University of St. Thomas, Rediscovering and refining the Popper’s Buffalo Commons proposal

The InterTribal Bison Cooperative (ITBC) is an organization whose membership includes over 50 tribes from North America. The ITBC is dedicated to restoring the bison to the American landscape, with a mission promoting “cultural enhancement, spiritual revitalization, ecological restoration, and economic development” (ITBC Newsletter, Fall 2015). This presentation focuses on the marketing and development strategies utilized by the ITBC in their restoration efforts and, to a certain extent, how successful these strategies have been. In many of the ITBC promotions, bison restoration is presented as a holistic concept, in which culture and development are inextricably linked. While this makes it more challenging to isolate how the return of bison will influence development, ecology, or culture individually, it does offer insight to values that are reshaping Native American landscapes.

4:05 – 4:25pm // Caitlin Woodard, University of St. Thomas, Where the Buffalo Roamed: Using historical relationships to foresee the effect of the Buffalo Commons on Native American Populations

I have recently been introduced to Frank and Deborah Popper’s idea of the Buffalo Commons, which is the concept of converting degraded areas of the Great Plains into native prairie for the reintroduction of the American bison. This notion stems from the argument that the current usage of the short grass prairie within the Great Plains could be more sustainable. According to the Poppers, restoring the Great Plains to native prairie for the revitalization of the American bison population is more sustainable. Various Native American populations, who reside within the Great Plains, have a historically significant connection to the American bison. Limited research has been conducted to understand the ramifications the Buffalo Commons would potentially have on Native American populations. This presentation focuses on understanding the historical relationship between the American bison and Native American populations. Understanding this relationship is integral to predicting the effect the Buffalo Commons would have on Native American populations within the Great Plains.

SESSION 3c – Urban Geographies (CC 215)
Session Moderator: I-Chun Catherine Chang, Macalester College

2:45 – 3:05pm // Thao Hoang, Vergianti Agustini, and Lynda Chao, Macalester College, Nike Shoes: Global Commodity Chains and Their Implications in Asia

This paper aims to reveal the global commodity chains of Nike shoes. Based on literature research conducted in Fall 2015, this paper traces Nike shoes’ sources of raw materials, manufacturing process, Nike’s relationships with subcontractors, distribution and marketing strategies. The market value of how a pair of Nike shoes is derived further suggests that Nike has owned much of its victory and success at the expense of others and exploitation of cheap labor in Asian countries. This paper helps us better understand the operation of global economic networks, the role of Asian subcontractors, and the necessity of more ethical practices in the production of consumer goods.

3:05 – 3:25pm // Dakota Baker, Andra Boca, and Alex Gutfleish, Macalester College, Uneven Development and Spatial Segregation in Jakarta, Indonesia

This paper investigates the urban development policies implemented by the Indonesian government in the capital city of Jakarta from Indonesian Independence in 1945 to the present day, with emphasis on the contemporary Reformasi period, beginning in 1998. This paper critically evaluates the implementation of these policies and their consequences through spatial analysis, literature review, and interviews with residents. Through these methodologies, it is clear that these policies have attracted an abundance of foreign domestic investment, particularly through the development of heavy industry, toll roads and real estate in the form of new towns. Such development has, in turn, triggered massive rural-urban migration. However, these urban policies have created stark social inequality and spatial segregation, which is exemplified in the lack of adequate housing to the majority of the population, the proliferation of kampungs and a disparity in access to affordable transportation and sanitation. Thus, this paper argues for addressing these current issues, as well as accounting for the lower income communities when future urban policies are discussed and implemented.

3:25 – 3:45pm // Alex Abramson, Macalester College, The Perception of Greenery in a Time of Water Scarcity

This paper focuses on the changing perceptions of water and green space in the Los Angeles area. Over the past five years, the Los Angeles area has experienced a historic, and possibly portentous drought, forcing hard choices regarding the use of scarce water resources.  One of the uses being questioned is the practice of lush landscaping by both public and private actors in urban areas. While the presence of greenery in urban areas has varied and well-documented ecological benefits, maintaining this landscape consumes considerable amounts of water.  Through a review of existing literature, analysis of public policy, and collection of first and second hand data, I first analyze the tension between the urge to preserve greenery and the urge to conserve water, revealing how it is shaped by existing social class, ethnic conflict, public policy, and social norms. I further examine how this tension has changed residents’ perceptions and valuations of both water and greenery as resources, luxuries, and necessities. This preliminary study helps construct a multifaceted picture of how a changing climate intersects with preexisting socio-economic factors, ultimately impacting residents’ relationship with the artificially constructed urban landscape.

3:45 – 4:05 pm // Hannah Shumway and Angelina Malagodi, Macalester College, Nairobi: Geography of the City Under the Sun

This paper interrogates the progression of Nairobi’s urbanization based on literature research conducted in Fall 2015. We specifically analyzed the spatial structure of Nairobi and applied perspectives about splintering, post-colonial and southern urbanisms to understand its urban built environment. We also supplemented our findings with government documents of Nairobi’s history and an interview with a native Nairobian. Our spatial analysis shows that the major structure of Nairobi has features of both inverse concentric zone and multiple nuclei spatial models due to its colonial history. The city’s expansion since Kenya’s independence has been influenced by various modernization efforts. While these multilayer urban structures shape the major infrastructure arrangements in the city, it is, however, the different forms of informal economies that are indispensable to residents’ everyday life. The informal bus system, matatus are a prime example. Our findings reinforce arguments previously established by post-colonial urbanization theories but also demonstrate the importance of interconnectivity between the informal and formal economies/landscapes in the urban development process in a city of the global South. The findings also help reinterpret Nairobi’s successes and failures in the post-colonial period and point to new directions for further research.