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Assignment # 1 - Geography of Everyday Life - Essay Example

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My gym is located in my apartment building, and it is rarely busy, so I have a lot of free space and solitude for the hour or two I am there. The gym, though…
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Assignment # 1 - Geography of Everyday Life
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Real Life Geography – Assignment I often enjoy going to the gym first thing in the morning because it helps relax me and get my day off on the right foot. My gym is located in my apartment building, and it is rarely busy, so I have a lot of free space and solitude for the hour or two I am there. The gym, though not so big in size has a lot of equipment for performing various exercises. The place is normally well arranged and mainly contains equipment made of metal and rubber; weights, treadmills, cycles, rowing machines, vibration plates. The gym is simply arranged as to give ample room for performing various exercises. Although people inside the gym are normally few in the mornings, the place normally smells of sweat as people strain and flex their body muscles under various loads.
The gym is decorated with pictures of people with a lot of muscle and strength. Whenever I get inside this place, I first feel some temporary tension especially when I think of having to bear the load of weights I will lift. Visiting the gym daily makes me feel more confident about my physical appearance and makes me feel strong, fit and physically powerful. For many people, the gym is a place where one expends some energy to rejuvenate the mind while at the same time strengthening muscles. This is a place where people invest their confidence in to control their Body Mass Index (BMI), blood pressure and boost their muscular endurance.
After showering, eating, and spending a little time in the privacy of my home, I walk down to the harbour on a regular basis. The Lakeshore Harbour is a commercial area which welcomes millions of tourists each year, especially in the summertime. It is a huge open area where public events are held daily during the summer, and almost every weekend until extreme weather hits. The interesting thing about the harbour is that it is an extremely busy public area open for anyone, yet it is also the place I like to go when I feel the need for some peace and quiet. The sound of water gently hitting the beach is normally very pleasant to my ears. Although the sound is never pleasant during turbulent weather, the site of the pace is usually captivating during such times. The site of people relaxing, children playing and people rowing in boats or riding on floats is quite delightful to me especially when the sky above is clear. Urban parks, such as the harbour surroundings, are highly valued landscapes. They represent sources of pleasure, leisure, and escape from the concrete of the streets, and everyday sensuous encounters with ‘nature’. If there is a place that people like to come to escape the hustle and bustle of city life, it is at the harbour.
Open spaces are appreciated not only for their so-called natural qualities but also as spaces for social encounters. Watching the flora and fauna of the harbour and beach is a favourite pastime for people of all ages, social and ethnic backgrounds. Many couples especially take advantage of the serenity of the place to share peaceful moments and make friends.
Downtown is another area which I visit or cross at some point almost every single day. Millions of people spend a large portion of their time in the downtown area because that is where the true life and culture of the city can be experienced. When visiting downtown, it is a completely different feel than being on the harbour, for example. Everything downtown seems faster passed and rushed, while the harbour gives people a sense of westcoast, laid back, hippie culture. Downtown is also the prominent district for multiculturalism and diversity where you can walk two blocks and see hundreds of people of different nationalities and backgrounds; downtown symbolises public life, with all its human contact, conflict, and tolerance. It has been romanticized and celebrated as the site of political action, an environment from unmediated encounters with strangers, and a place of inclusiveness.
Downtown is also a place where various social amenities and facilities are found including hotels, restaurants, shopping malls, cinema theatres and curio shops. Public and private transport is part of the common features in this area. I particularly like to go downtown to shop and window shop. High-rise buildings, skyscrapers, beautifully decorated buildings and statues are found in almost every street of downtown. Some of the magnificent buildings host powerful personalities including offices of top government officials, celebrities, and wealthy business people. In particular, the size and density of urban populations mean that cities are places where all different sorts of people are thrown together. This diversity and the juxtapositions it produces offer many positive possibilities but they can also produce tensions and conflicts. In effect, downtown is normally perceived by many to be the seat of political and economic power. Considering the magnificence of the place and the security features and persons in downtown, one normally has the feeling that they are being watched closely by visible and invisible eyes.
When I am not at home or in the gym, downtown or walking along the harbour, I spend a lot of time in school— in the classroom amongst peers or at the library studying. School can best be described as a place of two worlds. First, there is the world of the institution; this is the professor-controlled formal school - a world of official structures. The world of timetables and lessons organized on a principle of spatial segregation by field of study. Then there is the informal world consisting of the students themselves forming social networks and peer group cultures. Universal education was established in order to keep children off the streets and to transform working-class ‘street-urchins’ into respectable adults-to-be. The same applies for continuing post-secondary studies— those who go on to complete university degrees are placed on platforms or in a separate social class from those who decide to take a different route in life. The school environment is often associated with knowledge and high intelligence. Consisting of several buildings, well manicured lawns, forest areas, residential areas, car parks, and dining areas, the school compound is quite expansive. The various parts and facilities of the institution is connected by a network of roads while communication here is made easier here with the availability of high speed internet in various centres. There seems to be universal hierarchy associated with education and a presumed respect given to educated individuals, especially in the western world.
Although I visit any places each and every day, there are four places I visit almost every week if not everyday. These places include the gym, harbour, downtown and school. I chose to discuss these places for their significance to me as social centres and places where people get to achieve certain specific objectives. The places are remarkable for their special characteristics and widespread benefits to people across the board. Just like I treasure these places, so many other people treasure them and assign special emotions to them.
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