The Urban Agenda model allows for people to be themselves.  The study of geography has expanded to include the cultures of various regions.  The study of geography also includes the differences between geographic areas.  The Urban Agenda can help teachers use student-selected issues to teach geography in a number of means.  Almost any issue ranging from diseases and AIDS to homelessness and gun control can be utilized to teach the skill set of geography. 

Some examples of issues applied to the study of Geography:

1.       For example, homelessness is a concern in every community.  However, homelessness in an urban area is much different than that of a rural area and homelessness in temperate climates versus harsh continental climates has its own concerns.  A unit on the urban/rural split can be taught while students use the unit skills to look at their issue. They can study homelessness in different areas and address the different geographic characteristics as factors that may impact the level of homelessness or the conditions by which people become homeless.  For instance, California’s homeless population is some measure can be understood in the context of the state’s climate. Similar criteria can be evaluated for numerous other issues of general concern to students.  

Moreover, there are many factors involved in a person being homeless.  Natural disasters and other geographic phenomenon can cause homelessness.  Not only do students gain insight into their geography class, but they also learn to expand their definitions and categorizations.

2. The issue of disease and AIDS can also be utilized in the geography classroom.  Disease is primarily a geographic issue.  The SARS epidemic is just one example.  From restrictions on travel to quarantining, students can use skills learned in a geography classroom to not only identify the importance of geography on their issue, but also analyze the conditions and synthesize the solutions to geographic diseases.  AIDS can be a way to transition a geography lesson to study Africa, a hot bed of AIDS. Or one might look at the rural-urban dichotomy of the AIDS epidemic in American cities.  Similarly, students could look at insect-carried diseases like malaria and West Nile Virus and how geography does or does not play a role in the impact such diseases and their progression within a given region.

3. Gun control is a political issue often skewed by geographic region.  In the Southern Highlands, the issue of gun control is much different than it is to inner-city children in Detroit who view guns as weapons and not as means of hunting food.  Thus, students in the geography class can look at gun violence and ownership through geographic means. 


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