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27 November 2022 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General Reading Time:  < 1 minute

Christmas Hanukkah decoration - Pariser Platz - Berlin - 2020 © Leonhard Lenz

Christmas tree and Hanukkah menorah on Pariser Platz in front of the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin © Leonhard Lenz

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Nelson in New Zealand

20 November 2022 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General Reading Time:  10 minutes

© Markus Koljonen/cc-by-sa-3.0

© Markus Koljonen/cc-by-sa-3.0

Nelson (Māori: Whakatū) is a city on the eastern shores of Tasman Bay / Te Tai-o-Aorere. Nelson is the oldest city in the South Island and the second-oldest settled city in New Zealand – it was established in 1841 and became a city by royal charter in 1858. Nelson City is bordered to the west and south-west by Tasman District Council and to the north-east, east and south-east by Marlborough District Council. The Nelson urban area has a population of 50,800, making it New Zealand’s 15th most populous urban area. Nelson is well known for its thriving local arts and crafts scene; each year, the city hosts events popular with locals and tourists alike, such as the Nelson Arts Festival. The annual Wearable Art Awards began near Nelson and a local museum, World of WearableArt now showcases winning designs alongside a collection of classic cars.   read more…

Urban planning

20 October 2022 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, Architecture, Environment, Building Automation, Green Buildings, Intelligent Buildings, Living, Working, Building, Sustainability Reading Time:  15 minutes

Plan of an ideal city of 100 000 inhabitants by Jean-Jacques Moll from 1801

Plan of an ideal city of 100 000 inhabitants by Jean-Jacques Moll from 1801

Urban planning, also known as town planning, city planning, regional planning, or rural planning, is a technical and political process that is focused on the development and design of land use and the built environment, including air, water, and the infrastructure passing into and out of urban areas, such as transportation, communications, and distribution networks and their accessibility. Traditionally, urban planning followed a top-down approach in master planning the physical layout of human settlements. The primary concern was the public welfare, which included considerations of efficiency, sanitation, protection and use of the environment, as well as effects of the master plans on the social and economic activities. Over time, urban planning has adopted a focus on the social and environmental bottom-lines that focus on planning as a tool to improve the health and well-being of people while maintaining sustainability standards. Sustainable development was added as one of the main goals of all planning endeavors in the late 20th century when the detrimental economic and the environmental impacts of the previous models of planning had become apparent. Similarly, in the early 21st century, Jane Jacob‘s writings on legal and political perspectives to emphasize the interests of residents, businesses and communities effectively influenced urban planners to take into broader consideration of resident experiences and needs while planning.   read more…

Fiordland National Park in New Zealand

17 October 2022 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, Palaces, Castles, Manors, Parks, UNESCO World Heritage Reading Time:  5 minutes

Milford Sound © Bernard Spragg. NZ

Milford Sound © Bernard Spragg. NZ

Fiordland National Park occupies the southwest corner of the South Island of New Zealand. It is by far the largest of the 13 national parks in New Zealand, with an area of 12,607 square kilometres (4,868 sq mi), and a major part of the Te Wahipounamu World Heritage Site. The park is administered by the Department of Conservation.   read more…

Klerksdorp in South Africa

14 October 2022 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General Reading Time:  10 minutes

Protea Hotel © Jthapelo060/cc-by-sa-4.0

Protea Hotel © Jthapelo060/cc-by-sa-4.0

Klerksdorp is located in the North West Province, South Africa. Klerksdorp, the largest city in the North West Province, is located 165 km south-east of Mahikeng, the provincial capital. Klerksdorp was also the first capital of the then Transvaal Republic and used to be the home of the first Stock Exchange in the region. It became an important trading town linking Kimberley to Johannesburg. It became home to a mix of farmers, miners and immigrants servicing the two industries.   read more…

University of Cape Town

3 October 2022 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, Universities, Colleges, Academies Reading Time:  5 minutes

Upper Campus at Groote Schuur on the slopes of Devil's Peak © Adrian Frith/cc-by-sa-3.0

Upper Campus at Groote Schuur on the slopes of Devil’s Peak © Adrian Frith/cc-by-sa-3.0

The University of Cape Town (UCT) is a public research university in Cape Town, South Africa. Established in 1829 as the South African College, it was granted full university status in 1918, making it the oldest university in South Africa and the oldest university in Sub-Saharan Africa in continuous operation.   read more…

70 years Luxembourg Agreement

10 September 2022 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General Reading Time:  16 minutes

Luxembourg City Hall © Cayambe/cc-by-sa-3.0

Luxembourg City Hall © Cayambe/cc-by-sa-3.0

The Reparations Agreement between Israel and the Federal Republic of Germany (“Luxembourg Agreement”, “Wiedergutmachungsabkommen” or “Reparations Agreement”) was signed on September 10, 1952, and entered in force on March 27, 1953. According to the Agreement, West Germany was to pay Israel for the costs of “resettling so great a number of uprooted and destitute Jewish refugees” after the war, and to compensate individual Jews, via the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany, for losses in Jewish livelihood and property resulting from Nazi persecution.   read more…

Geopolitics and geostrategy: the heartland theory

27 August 2022 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General Reading Time:  13 minutes

Map of the "Heartland Theory", as published by Halford Mackinder in 1904

Map of the “Heartland Theory”, as published by Halford Mackinder in 1904

The Geographical Pivot of History” is an article submitted by Halford John Mackinder in 1904 to the Royal Geographical Society that advances his heartland theory. In this article, Mackinder extended the scope of geopolitical analysis to encompass the entire globe. According to Mackinder, the Earth’s land surface was divisible into:   read more…

Theme Week Belarus – Minsk

30 July 2022 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General Reading Time:  21 minutes

Babrujskaja street © Viktar Palstsiuk/cc-by-sa-4.0

Babrujskaja street © Viktar Palstsiuk/cc-by-sa-4.0

Minsk is the capital and the largest city of Belarus, located on the Svislach and the now subterranean Niamiha rivers. As the capital, Minsk has a special administrative status in Belarus and is the administrative centre of Minsk Region (voblasć) and Minsk District (rajon). As of January 2021, its population was 2 million, making Minsk the 11th most populous city in Europe. Minsk is one of the administrative capitals of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) and the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU). First documented in 1067, Minsk became the capital of the Principality of Minsk before being annexed by the Grand Duchy of Lithuania in 1242. It received town privileges in 1499. From 1569, it was the capital of the Minsk Voivodeship, an administrative division of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth. It was part of a region annexed by the Russian Empire in 1793, as a consequence of the Second Partition of Poland. From 1919 to 1991, after the Russian Revolution, Minsk was the capital of the Byelorussian Soviet Socialist Republic, in the Soviet Union. In June 2019, Minsk hosted the 2019 European Games.   read more…

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