24 November 2014

Money

I have been thinking about this post for a while.  Since it is so large, I will probably split into several different blogs in order to give the topic the attention it deserves.

First is cash.

Now, I am by no means a major world traveler, but I have been travelling overseas for over 30 years and have some stories to tell.  Bullets for this topic:

Get some local currency, if possible, before your trip.  You can always get some cash at the airport, and from my experience, this can be as expensive as your local bank with fees and exchange rates.  But do try to have some local currency in your pocket.  Sometimes I have some money left over from a previous trip and can use that.

Know the current exchange rate.  I round that figure so I can do some basic conversions in my head.  For web access try http://www.xe.com/.  And get an app for your phone.  And understand the rate both to US Dollars (in my case) and from it.  So right now, as I write this, $1 US is equal to 0.804 Euros, and one Euro is good for 1.242 US Dollar.  It will likely be different next week.

If you are someplace that uses US dollars, remember the costs of things can be higher or lower than back home.  So you might not be able to buy from the dollar menu from the local McDonald's.

And some places will take US dollars even if they have there own currency.  Your change may be in the local currency, and in some places you can get dollars back.  If you have a choice, think ahead on how much cash you may need and how easy or costly it might be to get more.  I will write about getting cash and other spending issues at a later post.

At the end of the trip, if you have local currency, you can spend it as extra tips, donate to a local charity, spend it at the airport, and/or throw into you luggage for your next trip to that destination.

Finally, some places you might be counting the costs to make sure you have enough through your trip without breaking the bank.  Other places, you may be living like royalty due to the lower cost of living.  In either case, with some careful planning you can enjoy the trip and not worry too much about money.

21 November 2014

Roy Wolfe RIP

Roy I. Wolfe, Professor of Geography Emeritus, York University, died on November 15, 2014.

http://v1.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/Deaths.20141120.93352753/BDAStory/BDA/deaths

Some of his works include:

Wolfe, Roy I. 1951. “Summer cottagers in Ontario.” Economic Geography, 27, no. 1: 10-32.
Wolfe, Roy I. 1952. “Wasaga Beach: The divorce from the geographic environment.” Canadian Geographer, 1, no. 2: 57-66.
Wolfe, Roy I. 1962. “The Summer Resorts of Ontario in the Nineteenth Century.” Ontario History, 54: 149–161.
Wolfe, R.J. (1964) ‘Perspectives on outdoor recreation: a bibliographical survey’, The Geographical Review, 54(2): 203–38.
Wolfe. Roy I. 1965. “About cottages and cottagers.” Landscape, 15, no. 1: 6–8.
Wolfe, R.J. (1967) ‘Recreational travel: the new migration’, Geographical Bulletin, 9: 73–9.
Wolfe, Roy I. 1970. “Discussion of vacation homes, environmental preferences and spatial behavior.” Journal of Leisure Research, 2, no. 1: 85-87.

Essential reading for my grad school work at Southern Illinois University.

(thanks to C.M. Hall for compiling this bib for RTS Listserv)

19 November 2014

TCI stats online

That's Turks and Caicos for you guys.  I like the tourism stats. but I wish they published links and such instead a fancy animations of gifs of tables.  Raw numeric data is of interest to recreation and tourism geographers.

But it is certainly more up current than the data found on OneCaribbean.org.

05 November 2014

Faculty Search!

Hi,
we are hiring for a new Geographer.  See the link here for more information.

04 November 2014

RIP Tom Magliozzi

You might not recognize the name but if I say Click and Clack, the Tappet Brothers, you will immediately recognize Car Talk on NPR.  He passed last Monday at 77.

He will be missed.

03 November 2014

Public Participation for Recreation Planning

My colleague, Marijoan Bull is highlighted in the current report in Planning.

Elevating Public Participation 
Every planner knows public participation is fundamental to our work—it is in our code of ethics, our academic training, and our laws. And we have all heard the warning stories of projects that have failed for lack of critical stakeholder involvement or knowledge. Yet often our practice of participation is shallow and perfunctory, or even completely ineffective. As planners we need to elevate our practice of and commitment to public participation. For many of our projects, the demands are great and the funds are low. We believe in public participation, but it is just one piece of the complex planning projects we manage. We are scrupulous about the legally mandated requirements, but it is well documented that routine public hearings are not conducive to community dialogue and problem solving.  Participation has received some bad press lately because some see public involvement as an obstacle to change, or they worry that decisions based on public input are made purely on the basis of narrow self-interest or often repeated untruths. I fear this could fuel a backlash. We need to critically assess our own role in these processes. Taking participation seriously, we can invest resources in designing ethical approaches, including diverse views, and supporting equitable outcomes. Of late, if engagement gets attention it is all about a new technology. There is a real danger of getting swept up with these tools because basic principles, not technology, should lead the process. My recent experience in a marginalized low-income neighbor- hood reinforced this observation. Our CPAT group [APA’s Community Planning Assistance Team] developed a survey tool and went to residents with the survey on tablets (no data entry needed!) and some hard copies. The old-fashioned paper copies were overwhelmingly preferred and the tablets went back in the box. My take-away is: be flexible. Good practice means we must match the approach to the context and population. Certainly new technologies integrated into a well-developed participation plan may expand our reach or enrich the experience. However, our primary obligation is to design an effective, high-quality, inclusive engagement process.    Sister organizations such as the National Coalition for Dialogue and Deliberation, National Civic League, Deliberative Democracy Consortium, International Association for Public Participation, and International Association of Facilitators can help. These groups offer webinar training, case studies, research results, and modeling by professionals with engagement expertise. I am not actually a Pollyanna about engagement. I acknowledge there is truth in the critiques. I know engagement can be lengthy and costly, and some individuals wear blinders while others build opposition on inaccuracies. Further, land-use decisions involve a technical and legal understanding that exceeds the common knowledge of most residents. There’s a wider societal phenomenon at play: Americans need civics lessons that go beyond how to express self-interest; they need to know how people can work together as a community. Planners can help. Meaningful engagement may require that participants learn new concepts, gain a wider understanding of the workings of government, or develop the skills to critically evaluate claims. The benefits of participation are well known: inclusion of voices that are too often unheard, better decisions due to enhanced information, support for implementation, and more efficient permitting. But planners bear an added responsibility for doing it right. The public’s experience in our engagement processes can color their attitude toward government as a whole and affect future—planning and nonplanning—participatory processes. Finally, we need to standardize evaluation as part of the process. A project should not be considered complete until we have assessed the effectiveness of its public involvement. Our response to engagement challenges should not be less participation, but better participation.
Marijoan Bull, aicp, is an associate professor of geography and regional planning at Westfield State University in Westfield, Massachusetts. She has 23 years of professional planning experience in Massachusetts and Rhode Island, has participated in two CPAT projects, and is currently a board member of the International Association of Public Participation.



30 October 2014

Halloween is one of my favorite seasons

Seasons, since the weather is turning cooler, the leaves are changing color and horror films are found on the tube.  While most of the 1000 TV channels favor the contemporary films that are filled with blood and guts, I prefer the classics from the 1930s-1950s.

Tonight on Turner Classics is

8:00 PM
HOUSE ON HAUNTED HILL (1958)
 
A millionaire offers total strangers a fortune to spend the night in a haunted house.
Dir: William Castle Cast:  Vincent Price , Carol Ohmart , Richard Long .
BW-75 mins, CC, Letterbox Format

and tomorrow

8:00 PM
NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD (1968)
 
A space probe unleashes microbes that turn the dead into flesh-eating zombies.
Dir: George A. Romero Cast:  Judith O'Dea , Russell Streiner , Duane Jones .
BW-96 mins, CC,