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November 21, 2010

Not seen the URBAN EARTH films before? Scroll down.

2011 is going to be a really exciting year. While Mission:Explore encourages young people to go out on adventures (and we have 2 new books out in April 2011 and a BIG announcement), we in The Geography Collective love exploring ourselves.

In 2008 I started a project called URBAN EARTH which is described below. I hope you like the films. I am going to be crossing some more cities in 2011 and sponsor allowing, hope to traverse some fun ones. You will be able to follow URBAN EARTH on this blog from now on, with a new sister blog starting up next year.

POLAR LONDON, my new project will begin in 2011. Essentially this is about travelling to London’s extremes.. from the least to most deprived, healthy, populated, green etc. wards in the city. Like URBAN EARTH I will be using lots of UPPER CASE letters, but unlike URBAN EARTH, POLAR LONDON will capture audio stories and feature people instead of fast moving images.

Finally, in early 2011 I will be stepping out for an extraordinary solo expedition into the unknown. Confronting a range of dangers and risking his life in the process, I will set a new world record while discovering extreme, remote and strange people and places. It’s going to be fun.


new page on this blog


Started by The Geography Collective’s Daniel Raven-Ellison, URBAN EARTH is a project to (re)present our habitat by walking across some of Earth’s biggest urban areas. The media distorts the way we see our world(s) with stereotypical images highlighting the most extremes of places. URBAN EARTH aims to expose what our cities really look like away from the bias and spin of commercial agendas.

A photograph is taken every 8 steps (roughly) across each city and then edited together to make films which reveal an alternative way of experiencing cities. Each photo is always taken looking directly forward without bias, presenting an urban view which is emotionally challenging for the photographer whose gaze is drawn towards specific people, objects and places.

Geography is more important than many people think. A random route across a city may expose many things, but an URBAN EARTH walk is special because it attempts to reveal what a city is like for the people who live in it. URBAN EARTH is not about following the tourist trail or tracking down the most extreme places… it is about finding normality.

The routes are carefully designed to show the distribution of deprivation within cities. For example, where the poorest 20% of the population might occupy 14% of urban space, roughly 14% of the walk travels through these most deprived areas. The length of the walk is also propotionate to the size of the city. Where possible the route also travels through areas with the greatest population densities.

URBAN EARTH out there…

> Download the ‘Explore’ edition of Susology Magazine featuring URBAN EARTH

> If you are a teacher, get ideas for using URBAN EARTH from the Geographical Association

> URBAN EARTH has appeared at Harvard GSD Ecological Urbanism as an installation, Glastonbury in the dance village, the Secret Garden Party and other major events.

> Books that feature URBAN EARTH include:

Organised by Daniel Raven-Ellison

Mapping by Kay Kitazawa

Sponsored by SUSO

Support from the Geographical Association and TVU


Salisbury: Daniel

London: Daniel and Menah

Mexico City: Daniel, Anna, Etienne, Marilin, Negro + on day 1 Omar and Nicole

Mumbai: Daniel, Dipti, Gita, Navaneet, Sharada + on day 1 Babu, Maitrayee, Amrita, Sonali, Sushant, Sainath, Manjeet, Rajesh, Ashish, Pritika and Seema

Bristol: Daniel, Menah, David, Kay, David, Eve, Mauro, Samia, Matt, Ben, Chris and Aled

Manchester: Daniel, Kye, Phil, Sheena-Anne, Anna, Izzy, Vicky, Richard, Andy, Marie, Liam, Jane, Iris, Pete and Richard

Tyneside: Daniel, Kye, Dick and Larch

For more information, to request use of the photographs or to sponsor a walk contact

Daniel will be mounting a new expedition in 2011 and also launching a new project, POLAR LONDON.

The first URBAN EARTH film looked to (re)present the size of Salisbury’s ecological footprint.

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