A symbolic event took place in China in the first week of July 2006: the inaugural journey of a train linking China's capital, Beijing, with Lhasa, the capital of Tibet. Laid by 100,000 construction workers across icy mountains, the final 710 miles (1140 km) of the track constitutes an engineering marvel, climbing as high as 16,640 feet (5000 m) across permafrost-ridden terrain. No other railway in the world reaches such altitudes; the carriages of the "Sky Train," with a total capacity of 900 passengers, are sealed and pressurized like the fuselage of an airplane.
Author, professor and television personality Harm de Blij
(pronounced duh Blay) for seven years was the popular Geography Editor on ABC's "Good Morning America". In 1996 he joined NBC News as Geography Analyst, appearing mostly on MSNBC. His series "The Power of Place" continues to air on PBS stations.
He specializes in geopolitical and environmental issues, and has held named chairs at Georgetown University, Marshall University, and the Colorado School of Mines. Dr. de Blij currently is Distinguished Professor of Geography at Michigan State University, where he also taught throughout the decade of the 1960s. In the interim, he chaired the Geography Department at the University of Miami and served as editor at the National Geographic Society. His advocacy of Geography in the media and on the public lecture circuit has taken him to virtually all corners of the United States; his work in research, teaching, and television has spanned the globe. In 1994 National Geographic Society President Gilbert Grosvenor appointed Dr. de Blij an Honorary Life Member of the Society.
Peter O. Muller is Professor of Geography at the University of Miami. Dr. Muller is a nationally recognized expert on suburbanization in the U.S. His primary research interest involves the changing geography of employment within large U.S. metropolitan areas. Jobs are steadily suburbanizing as cities continue their restructuring. It is commonly believed that employment is heavily concentrating in suburban downtowns or "edge cities" but the evidence he has gathered so far suggests that the dispersion of commercial-office-based activity is the more important force. He therefore hypothesizes the presence of "edgeless cities." This may indicate that suburban sprawl may be as pervasive for nonresidential activities as it is for residential decentralization.