All human activity takes place on a geographic stage of great diversity and constant transformation. For more than a century, the Geography Department at Berkeley has been a leading center of scholarship about earth’s landscapes and human relationships to the environment. Our inquiries encompass a wide range of topics, from the economies and cultures of cities and built landscapes, to tropical climates and the flow of polar ice sheets. We combine rigorous empirical work with deeply conceptual theoretical analyses, always recognizing the importance of both spatial processes and accumulated histories. We use geographic analyses to illuminate the abiding problems of the modern world.

geo-categories-ess-smEarth System Science is the study of the interconnected components of our environment—the atmosphere, hydrosphere, lithosphere, cryosphere, and biosphere—and how they interact to produce an integrated whole. It utilizes the fundamental disciplines of mathematics, physics, chemistry, and biology and applies them in the context of human activities and landscapes to understand the Earth, at scales ranging from single watersheds to the entire globe.

geo-categories-hg-smHuman Geography is a social science distinguished by its attention to the relation of humanity to the earth, in two regards. The first concerns the interaction of people with nature, including the extraction of natural resources, the environmental impact of people and their activities, and the effects of natural forces on society. The second concerns the spatial organization of societies at all scales from the local to the global (and from minutes to millennia) and the production of place, territory and landscape by human imagination and activity.


Featured Project – Intranational International Boulevard: A street’s atlas

Intranational International Boulevard: A Street’s Atlas

The CAGE Lab is at it again! Mapping communities at a hyper-local scale and compiling the  maps into an atlas. Our last project, Mission Possible: A Neighborhood Atlas, was  published in 2012, and can be viewed at missionpossiblesf.org.

Our current project is titled Intranational International Boulevard.  International  Boulevard is a major thoroughfare that spans 107 blocks of Oakland, from  downtown to the border of San Leandro and runs through the neighborhoods of  Eastlake, San Antonio, The Fruitvale, and East Oakland. The atlas project endeavors to create a holistic picture of place and uncover the  alternative narratives that may run counter to the historically uni-dimensional  reputation of East Oakland.

We’ve already created more than twenty maps, including such things as the diversity of churches, the density of public  art, the ethnic identity of sweet shops, Taco Trucks of East Oakland, and much more. We’re also mapping some of the more challenging aspects of this community like the abundance of check-cashing businesses and the lack of banks, the value of land  and the density of trees with the prevalence of childhood asthma.

This is a project of experiential learning—our cartographers go into the field to  collect data and to taste the experience of East Oakland. Read more and find out how to contribute here.

The CAGE Lab, UC Berkeley’s Cartography and GIS Education Lab, in the Department of Geography, is part of UC Berkeley’s Crowdfunding Initiative pilot launch.