Human geography

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Human geography

  1. 1. PrefaceIntroduction OrganizationThis seventh edition of Human Geography benefits from The emphasis on human geographic current events andsome format revisions suggested by helpful users of ear- interpretations builds on our felt initial obligation to setlier versions, but retains the basic format of its predeces- the stage in Chapter 1 by briefly introducing students tosors. It does contain, of course, significant content the scope, methods, and background basics of geographychanges, including revised and new tables, maps, and as a discipline and to the tools—especially maps—that alltext, required by rapidly altering world cultural, eco- geographers employ. It is supplemented by Appendix Anomic, and political patterns. In all regards, however, the giving a more detailed treatment of map projections thancurrent edition maintains the structure and objectives of is appropriate in a general introductory chapter. Both areits earlier versions. designed to be helpful, with content supportive of, not es- sential to, the later chapters of the text. The arrangement of those chapters reflects our own sense of logic and teaching experiences. The chapters areAudience unevenly divided among five parts, each with a brief orient- ing introduction. Those of Part I, “Themes and Fundamen-Designed for students enrolled in a one-semester or one- tals,” examine the basis of culture, culture change, andquarter course, the text seeks to introduce its users to cultural regionalism, review the concepts of spatial interac-the scope and excitement of human geography and its tion and spatial behavior, and consider population struc-relevance to their daily lives and roles as informed citi- tures, patterns, and change. Parts II through IV (Chapters 5zens. We recognize that for many of its readers their through 12) discuss the landscapes of cultural distinctioncourse in human geography may be their first or only and social organization resulting from human occupance ofwork in geography and this their first or only textbook the earth. These include linguistic, religious, ethnic, folk,in the discipline. For those students particularly, we and popular differentiation of peoples and societies and thetake seriously the obligation not only to convey the rich- economic, urban, and political organization of space. Chap-ness and breadth of human geography but also to give ter 13—Part V—draws together in sharper focus selected as-insight into the nature and intellectual challenges of the pects of the human impact on the natural landscape tofield of geography itself. Our goals have been to be in- make clear to students the relevance of the earlier-studiedclusive in our content, current in our data, and relevant human geographic concepts and patterns to matters of cur-in our interpretations. These goals are elusive. Because rent national and world environmental concern.of the time lapse between world events and the publica- Among those concepts is the centrality of gender is-tion of a book, inevitably events outpace analysis. We sues that underlie all facets of human geographic inquiry.therefore depend on a continuing partnership with Because they are so pervasive and significant we felt it un-classroom instructors to provide the currency of infor- wise to relegate their consideration to a single separatemation and the interpretation of new patterns of human chapter, thus artificially isolating women and women’sgeographic substance. concerns from all the topics of human geography for Preface ix
  2. 2. which gender concerns are relevant. Instead, we have in- the end of each chapter and defined in an inclusivecorporated significant gender/female issues within the cross-referenced glossary at the end of the text. Eachseveral chapters where those issues apply—either within chapter also includes other repeated pedagogical aids.the running text of the chapter or, very often, highlighted Summary reiterates the main points of the chapter andin boxed discussions. provides a bridge to the chapter that follows. For Review We hope by means of these chapter clusters and se- contains questions that direct student attention to im-quence to convey to students the logic and integration we portant concepts developed within the chapter and thatrecognize in the broad field of human geography. We rec- may serve, if the instructor chooses, as the basis forognize that our sense of organization and continuity is not written assignments. Selected References suggests a num-necessarily that of instructors using this text and have de- ber of book and journal articles that expand on topicssigned each chapter to be reasonably self-contained, able presented within the chapter.to be assigned in any sequence that satisfies the arrange- Appendix B at the end of the book is a modified ver-ment preferred by the instructor. sion of the Population Reference Bureau’s 2001 World Pop- ulation Data Sheet containing economic and demographic data and projections for countries, regions, and conti-Features nents. Although inevitably dated, these provide a wealth of useful comparative statistics for student projects andInstructor contributions and suggestions are gratefully ac- study of world patterns. Finally, Appendix C, a single-pageknowledged by the content changes incorporated in this “Anglo American Reference Map,” provides name identifi-seventh edition. The basic structure of the book and its in- cation of all U.S. states and Canadian provinces and show-structional philosophy and teaching aids have, however, ing the location of principal cities.been retained. The chapter title page “Focus Preview”alerting students to the three, four, or five main themes ofthe chapter and the summarizing “Focus Follow-up” sec-tion in the end-of-chapter material remain as does our use What’s New in this Editionof map and photograph captions as teaching opportuni- A great deal of new or expanded text has been incorpo-ties, conveying additional information and explanation as rated in this seventh edition of Human Geography, includ-integral parts of the text. ing revised considerations of how maps show data and As in earlier editions of Human Geography, chapter fundamentals of GIS in Chapter 1. Part I benefits fromintroductions take the form of interest-arousing vignettes new material on stimulus diffusion; globalization and cul-to focus student attention on the subject matter that fol- tural convergence; gender and migration; and the popula-lows. The boxed inserts that are part of each chapter ex- tion impact of AIDS. Part II revisions and additionspand on ideas included within the text proper or introduce include immigrant language contributions, migration andrelated examples of chapter concepts and conclusions, ethnicity impacts, and changing national and world demo-often in gender-related contexts. Almost every chapter graphic patterns. Part III incorporates new or reconsid-contains at least one special-purpose box labeled “Geogra- ered treatments of the intensification of agriculture andphy and Public Policy” introducing a discussion of a topic the green revolution; changing trends in world tradeof current national or international interest and conclud- flows; post-Fordist, just-in-time, and flexible manufactur-ing with a set of questions designed to induce thought and ing processes; world industrial patterns; and tourism as aclass discussion of the topic viewed against the background tertiary activity, while major revisions of central elementsof human geographic insights students have mastered. of the urban and political geography chapters help re- Increasingly for today’s students, the learning structure Part IV. These and many other text changes areprocess is electronically based. We have therefore included supplemented by totally new or extensively revised andin each chapter a preliminary guide to Internet and World updated content and “public policy” boxed discussions inWide Web sources of information related to the contents of all chapters and by more than a score of new and revisedthe chapter. We do not pretend that the references given maps and graphs and updated tables and statistics.are exhaustive or represent the best sites currently avail-able on the given topics; we hope, however, they will beuseful starting points for student exploration and forinstructor-supplied corrections and additions. We also peri-odically update these “On-Line” reports on the text’s home Supplements and Learning Aidspage maintained by the publisher at http://www.mhhe.com/ A book-specific website is located at http://www.mhhe.com/earthsci/geography/fellmann7e/. earthsci/geography/fellmann7e. This site provides compli- This current edition of Human Geography contin- mentary access to PowerWeb Geography—McGraw-Hill’s on-ues our practice of identifying new terms and special us- line articles from the popular press as well as links andages of common words and phrases by boldface or italic quizzing. Bookmark this URL so you can review material ortype. Many of these are included in the Key Words list at prepare for class. Here’s what you will find:x Preface
  3. 3. For Instructors: Diego State University and the University of California,Please note that all instructor’s material is password pro- Santa Barbara—and all others who have given generouslytected to ensure that students do not gain access to this of their time and knowledge in response to our requests.portion of the site. These have been identified in earlier editions and al- though their names are not repeated here they know of • Instructor’s Manual our continuing appreciation. • Test Item File We specifically, however, wish to recognize with • Lecture Outlines gratitude the advice, suggestions, corrections, and general • PowerPoint Lectures assistance in matters of content and emphasis provided by • FREE access to PowerWeb Geography the following reviewers of the manuscript for this edition.For Students: • Frank Ainsley, University of North Carolina—Wilmington • Student Study Guide is available for FREE • Jeff Allender, University of Central Arkansas • Online Quizzing • David Anderson, Louisiana State University— • Geography Crossword Puzzles Shreveport • Flashcards • A. Steele Becker, University of Nebraska—Kearney • Links to Chapter-Specific Web Sites • Margaret Boorstein, C.W. Post College • FREE access to PowerWeb Geography • Henry Bullamore, Frostburg State UniversityOther Supplements: • Susan Davgun, Bemidji State University • Daniel Donaldson, University of Central Oklahoma • Transparencies • Roy Doyon, Ball State University • Slides • Richard Grant, University of Miami • MicroTest Hybrid CD-ROM • Harold Gulley, University of Wisconsin—Oshkosh • PowerPoint CD-ROM • J. Douglas Heffington, Middle Tennessee State • Visual Resource Library CD-ROM containing University 544 images from various McGraw-Hill GeoScience • Andrew Herod, University of Georgia texts, many specific to Human Geography • John Hickey, Inver Hills Community College • Qualified adopters can choose from an extensive • Bella Bychkova Jordan, University of Texas—Austin GeoScience Videotape Library • Michael Kelsey, Aims Community College • Paul Larson, Southern Utah University • Jose Lopez, Minnesota State University—MankatoPackaging Opportunities • James Lowry, East Central University • Ralph Meuter, California State University—ChicoMany helpful, inexpensive supplements are available for • John Milbauer, Northeastern State Universitypackaging. Check with your McGraw-Hill sales representa- • David Nemeth, University of Toledotive for specific ISBN information and pricing. All of the • Karen Nichols, SUNY—Geneseofollowing items are available at a significant discount • Walter Peace, McMaster Universitywhen packaged with Human Geography: • Neil Reid, University of Toledo • Allen: Student Atlas of World Geography • James Saku, Frostburg State University • Allen: Student Atlas of World Politics • Wendy Shaw, Southern Illnois • Dorling/Kindersley: EyeWitness World Atlas University—Edwardsville CD-ROM • Thomas Tharp, Purdue University • Fuson: Fundamental Place-Name Geography • George White, Frostburg State University • Getis: You Can Make a Difference: Be We appreciate their invaluable help, as we do that of the Environmentally Responsible many other previous reviewers recognized in earlier edi- • Pitzl: Annual Editions - Geography tions of this book. None except the authors, of course, is • Rand McNally: New Millennium CD-ROM responsible for final decisions on content or for errors of (windows only) fact or interpretation the reader may detect. • Rand McNally: Atlas of World Geography A final note of thanks is reserved for the publisher’s “book team” members separately named on the copyright page. It is a privilege to emphasize here their professional competence, unflagging interest, and always courteousAcknowledgements helpfulness.It is with great pleasure that we again acknowledge our J. D. F.debts of gratitude to both departmental colleagues—at the A. G.University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign and at both San J. G. Preface xi
  4. 4. 1C H A P T E R Introduction: Some Background BasicsThe Trans-Alaskapipeline carriesthe imprint ofhuman action tothe remotest ofNorth America’snaturallandscapes. Focus Preview 1. The nature of geography and the role of human 4. Why geographers use maps and how maps show geography, pp. 2–5. spatial information, pp. 19–26. 2. Seven fundamental geographic observations and 5. Other means of visualizing and analyzing spatial the basic concepts that underlie them, pp. 5–15. data: mental maps, systems, and models, 3. The regional concept and the characteristics of pp. 26–28. regions, pp. 15–19. 1
  5. 5. Getting StartedThe fundamental question asked by geographers is “Does it content of the different areas and places you frequent.make a difference where things are located?” If for any one You carry out your routine activities in particular placesitem or group of objects the answer is “You bet it does!” the and move on your daily rounds within defined geographicgeographer’s interest is aroused and geographic investiga- space, following logical paths of connection between dif-tion is appropriate. For example, it matters a great deal that ferent locations.languages of a certain kind are spoken in certain places. Just as geography matters in your personal life, so itBut knowledge of the location of a specific language group matters on the larger stage as well. Decisions made by cor-is not of itself particularly significant. Geographic study of a porations about the locations of manufacturing plants orlanguage requires that we try to answer questions about warehouses in relation to transportation routes and mar-why and how the language shows different characteristics kets are spatially rooted. So, too, are those made by shop-in different locations and how the present distribution of its ping center developers and locators of parks and gradespeakers came about. In the course of our study, we would schools. On an even grander scale, judgments about thelogically discuss such concepts as migration, acculturation, projection of national power or the claim and recognitionthe diffusion of innovation, the effect of physical barriers of “spheres of influence and interest” among rival coun-on communication, and the relationship of language to tries are related to the implications of distance and area.other aspects of culture. As geographers, we are interested Geography, therefore, is about space and the contentin how things are interrelated in different regions and give of space. We think of and respond to places from theevidence of the existence of “spatial systems.” standpoint not only of where they are but, rather more Geography is often referred to as the spatial science, importantly, of what they contain or what we think theythat is, the discipline concerned with the use of earth contain. Reference to a place or an area usually calls upspace. In fact, geography literally means “description of the images about its physical nature or what people do thereearth,” but that task is really the responsibility of nearly all and often suggests, without conscious thought, how thosethe sciences. Geography might better be defined as the physical objects and human activities are related. “Col-study of spatial variation, of how—and why—physical and orado,” “mountains,” and “skiing” might be a simple exam-cultural items differ from place to place on the surface of ple. The content of area, that is, has both physical andthe earth. It is, further, the study of how observable spatial cultural aspects, and geography is always concerned withpatterns evolved through time. If things were everywhere understanding both (Figure 1.1).the same, if there were no spatial variation, the kind ofhuman curiosity that we call “geographic” simply wouldnot exist. Without the certain conviction that in some in-teresting and important way landscapes, peoples, and op-portunities differ from place to place, there would be no Evolution of the Disciplinediscipline of geography. Geography’s combination of interests was apparent even in But we do not have to deal in such abstract terms. the work of the early Greek geographers who first gaveYou consciously or subconsciously display geographic structure to the discipline. Geography’s name was reputedlyawareness in your daily life. You are where you are, doing coined by the Greek scientist Eratosthenes over 2200 yearswhat you are doing, because of locational choices you ago from the words geo, “the earth” and graphein, “to write.”faced and spatial decisions you made. You cannot be here From the beginning, that writing focused both on the physi-reading this book and simultaneously be somewhere cal structure of the earth and on the nature and activities ofelse—working, perhaps, or at the gym. And should you the people who inhabited the different lands of the knownnow want to go to work or take an exercise break, the world. To Strabo (ca. 64 B.C.–A.D. 20) the task of geographytime involved in going from here to there (wherever was to “describe the several parts of the inhabited world . . .“there” is) is time not available for other activities in other to write the assessment of the countries of the world [and] tolocations. Of course, the act of going implies knowing treat the differences between countries.” Greek (and, later,where you are now, where “there” is in relation to “here,” Roman) geographers measured the earth, devised the globaland the paths or routes you can take to cover the distance. grid of parallels and meridians (marking latitude and longi- These are simple examples of the observation that tude), and drew upon that grid surprisingly sophisticated“space matters” in a very personal way. You cannot avoid maps (Figure 1.2). Employing nearly modern concepts, theythe implications of geography in your everyday affairs. discussed patterns and processes of climates, vegetation,Your understanding of your hometown, your neighbor- and landforms and described areal variations in the naturalhood, or your college campus is essentially a geographic landscape. Against that physical backdrop, they focusedunderstanding. It is based on your awareness of where their attention on what humans did in home and distantthings are, of their spatial relationships, and of the varying areas—how they lived; what their distinctive similarities and2 Introduction: Some Background Basics
  6. 6. Figure 1.1 The ski development at Whistler Mountain, British Columbia, Canada clearly shows the interaction of physical environment andhuman activity. Climate and terrain have made specialized human use attractive and possible. Human exploitation has placed a culturallandscape on the natural environment, thereby altering it.Figure 1.2 World map of the 2nd century A.D. Greco-Egyptian geographer-astronomer Ptolemy. Ptolemy (Claudius Ptolemaeus) adopteda previously developed map grid of latitude and longitude based on the division of the circle into 360°, permitting a precise mathematicallocation for every recorded place. Unfortunately, errors of assumption and measurement rendered both the map and its accompanying six-volume gazetteer inaccurate. Ptolemy’s map, accepted in Europe as authoritative to the time of Columbus and later, was published in manyvariants in the 15th and 16th centuries. The version shown here summarizes the extent and content of the original. Introduction: Some Background Basics 3
  7. 7. differences were in language, religion, and custom; and how made assignment of place information more reliable andthey used, altered, and perhaps destroyed the lands they comprehensive. During the 19th century, national cen-inhabited. suses, trade statistics, and ethnographic studies gave These are enduring and universal interests. The an- firmer foundation to human geographic investigation.cient Chinese, for example, were as involved in geography By the end of the 19th century, geography had be-as an explanatory viewpoint as were Westerners, though come a distinctive and respected discipline in universitiesthere was no exchange between them. Further, as Chris- throughout Europe and in other regions of the worldtian Europe entered its Middle Ages between A.D. 500 and where European academic examples were followed. The1400 and lost its knowledge of Greek and Roman geo- proliferation of professional geographers and geographygraphical work, Muslim scholars—who retained that programs resulted in the development of a whole series ofknowledge—undertook to describe and analyze their increasingly specialized disciplinary subdivisions.known world in its physical, cultural, and regional varia-tion (see “Roger’s Book”). Modern geography had its origins in the surge ofscholarly inquiry that, beginning in the 17th century, gave Geography and Human Geographyrise to many of the traditional academic disciplines we Geography’s specialized subfields are not divisive but areknow today. In its European rebirth, geography from the interrelated. Geography in all its subdivisions is charac-outset was recognized—as it always had been—as a terized by three dominating interests. The first is in thebroadly based integrative study. Patterns and processes of areal variation of physical and human phenomena on thethe physical landscape were early interests, as was con- surface of the earth. Geography examines relationshipscern with humans as part of the earth’s variation from between human societies and the natural environmentsplace to place. The rapid development of geology, botany, that they occupy and modify. The second is a focus onzoology, and other natural sciences by the end of the 18th the spatial systems1 that link physical phenomena andcentury strengthened regional geographic investigationand increased scholarly and popular awareness of the in- 1A “system” is simply a group of elements organized in a way that everytricate interconnections of items in space and between element is to some degree directly or indirectly interdependent withplaces. By that same time, accurate determination of lati- every other element. For geographers, the systems of interest are thosetude and longitude and scientific mapping of the earth that distinguish or characterize different regions or areas of the earth. Roger’s Book T he Arab geographer Idrisi, or Edrisi (ca. A.D. 1099–1154), a descen- dant of the Prophet Mohammed, was (300 pounds). Lost to looters in 1160, the map is survived by “Roger’s Book,” containing the information amassed Though Idrisi worked in one of the most prestigious courts of Eu- rope, there is little evidence that his directed by Roger II, the Christian by Idrisi’s academy and including a work had any impact on European king of Sicily in whose court he world map, 71 part maps, and 70 sec- geographic thought. He was strongly served, to collect all known geographi- tional itinerary maps. influenced by Ptolemy’s work and cal information and assemble it in a Idrisi’s “inhabited earth” is di- misconceptions and shared the then truly accurate representation of the vided into the seven “climates” of common Muslim fear of the un- world. An academy of geographers Greek geographers, beginning at the known western ocean. Yet Idrisi’s and scholars was gathered to assist equator and stretching northward to clear understanding of such scientific Idrisi in the project. Books and maps the limit at which, it was supposed, truths as the roundness of the earth, of classical and Islamic origins were the earth was too cold to be inhabited. his grasp of the scholarly writings of consulted, mariners and travelers in- Each climate was then subdivided by his Greek and Muslim predecessors, terviewed, and scientific expeditions perpendicular lines into 11 equal and the faithful recording of infor- dispatched to foreign lands to observe parts beginning with the west coast of mation on little-known portions of and record. Data collection took Africa on the west and ending with Europe, the Near East, and North 15 years before the final world map the east coast of Asia. Each of the re- Africa set his work far above the was fabricated on a silver disc some sulting 77 square compartments was mediocre standards of contemporary 200 centimeters (80 inches) in diame- then discussed in sequence in Christian geography. ter and weighing over 135 kilograms “Roger’s Book.”4 Introduction: Some Background Basics
  8. 8. human activities in one area of the earth with other areas.Together, these interests lead to a third enduring theme, Demo graphthat of regional analysis: geography studies human– n ce y cieenvironmental—“ecological”—relationships and spatial sys- lS litica Popu latems in specific locational settings. This areal orientation Po l Geog tion ica y raphy Urb rban Plan Scpursued by some geographers is called regional geography. lit ph U ce, Po gra ien an Soc ning Other geographers choose to identify particular o Ge Stu ial Ge Ur raph die ogclasses of things, rather than segments of the earth’s sur- ba Sociology, History s, Anthropology, n y Geographyface, for specialized study. These systematic geographers Culturalmay focus their attention on one or a few related aspects of HUMAN GEOGRAPHYthe physical environment or of human populations and so- die e,cieties. In each case, the topic selected for study is exam- hy og al Stu uag rap s Ge Sociined in its interrelationships with other spatial systems and ous ng B ligi , Laareal patterns. Physical geography directs its attention to the G eha eo v Re ologynatural environmental side of the human–environment gr ior ap al Ps omic cistructure. Its concerns are with landforms and their distri- yc hy Econ aphy So Ec h on ol om og Geogrbution, with atmospheric conditions and climatic patterns, ics y, mics,with soils or vegetation associations, and the like. The other cono nal E Regio conomicssystematic branch of geography—and the subject of this Ebook—is human geography.Human Geography Figure 1.3 Some of the subdivisions of human geography and the allied fields to which they are related. Geography, “the mother ofHuman geography deals with the world as it is and with sciences,” initiated in antiquity the lines of inquiry that later led tothe world as it might be made to be. Its emphasis is on the development of these and other separate disciplines. Thatpeople: where they are, what they are like, how they in- geography retains its ties to them and shares their insights and data reinforces its role as an essential synthesizer of all data, concepts,teract over space, and what kinds of landscapes of human and models that have integrative regional and spatial implications.use they erect on the natural landscapes they occupy. Itencompasses all those interests and topics of geographythat are not directly concerned with the physical environ-ment or, like cartography, are technical in orientation. Its earth. Its models and explanations of how things are inter-content provides integration for all of the social sciences, related in earth space give us a clearer understanding offor it gives to those sciences the necessary spatial and sys- the economic, social, and political systems within whichtems viewpoint that they otherwise lack. At the same we live and operate. Its analyses of those spatial systemstime, human geography draws on other social sciences in make us more aware of the realities and prospects of ourthe analyses identified with its subfields, such as behav- own society in an increasingly connected and competitiveioral, political, economic, or social geography (Figure 1.3). world. Our study of human geography, therefore, can help Human geography admirably serves the objectives of make us better-informed citizens, more able to under-a liberal education. It helps us to understand the world we stand the important issues facing our communities andoccupy and to appreciate the circumstances affecting peo- our countries and better prepared to contribute to their so-ples and countries other than our own. It clarifies the con- lutions. Importantly, it can also help open the way to won-trasts in societies and cultures and in the human derfully rewarding and diversified careers as professionallandscapes they have created in different regions of the geographers (see “Careers in Geography”). Background Basics phenomenon they will inquire: What is it? Where is it?Basic Geographic Concepts How did it come to be what and where it is? Where is it in relation to other things that affect it or are affected byThe topics included in human geography are diverse, it? How is it part of a functioning whole? How does its lo-but that very diversity emphasizes the reality that all cation affect people’s lives and the content of the area ingeographers—whatever their particular topical or re- which it is found?gional specialties—are united by the similar questions These questions are spatial in focus and systems ana-they ask and the common set of concepts they employ to lytical in approach and are derived from enduring centralconsider their answers. Of either a physical or cultural Introduction: Some Background Basics 5
  9. 9. Careers in Geography G eography admirably serves the objectives of a liberal education. It can make us better informed citizens, environmental studies, regional sci- ence, locational economics, and other interdisciplinary programs. Their work may include assessing the environmental impact of proposed de- velopment projects on such things as more able to understand the impor- Because of the breadth and di- air and water quality and endangered tant issues facing our communities, versity of the field, training in geogra- species, as well as preparing the envi- our country, and our world and better phy involves the acquisition of ronmental impact statements re- prepared to contribute solutions. techniques and approaches applicable quired before construction can begin. Can it, as well, be a pathway to to a wide variety of jobs outside the Human geographers work in employment for those who wish to academic world. Modern geography is many different roles in the public sec- specialize in the discipline? The an- both a physical and social science and tor. Jobs include data acquisition and swer is “Yes,” in a number of different fosters a wealth of technical skills. analysis in health care, transporta- types of jobs. One broad cluster is con- The employment possibilities it pre- tion, population studies, economic cerned with supporting the field itself sents are as many and varied as are development, and international eco- through teaching and research. Teach- the agencies and enterprises dealing nomics. Many geography graduates ing opportunities exist at all levels, with the natural environment and find positions as planners in local and from elementary to university post- human activities and with the acquisi- state governmental agencies con- graduate. Teachers with some train- tion and analysis of spatial data. cerned with housing and community ing in geography are increasingly in Many professional geographers development, park and recreation demand in elementary and high work in government, either at the planning, and urban and regional schools throughout the United States, state or local level or in a variety of planning. They map and analyze land reflecting geography’s inclusion as a federal agencies and international or- use plans and transportation systems, core subject in the federally adopted ganizations. Although many positions monitor urban land development, Educate America Act (Public Law 103- do not carry a geography title, physi- make informed recommendations 227) and the national determination cal geographers serve as water, min- about the location of public facilities, to create a geographically literate so- eral, and other natural resource and engage in basic social science ciety (see “National Geography Stan- analysts, weather and climate experts, research. dards,” p. 8). At the college level, soil scientists, and the like. An area of Most of these same specializa- specialized teaching and research in recent high demand is for environ- tions are also found in the private all branches of geography have long mental managers and technicians. Ge- sector. Geographic training is ideal been established, and geographically ographers who have specialized in for such tasks as business planning trained scholars are prominently as- environmental studies find jobs in and market analysis; factory, store, sociated with urban, community, and both public and private agencies. and shopping center site selection;themes in geography.2 In answering them, geographers understanding how people live on and shape the earth’sdraw upon a common store of concepts, terms, and meth- surface. That understanding is not just the task and interestods of study that together form the basic structure and vo- of the professional geographer; it should be, as well, part ofcabulary of geography. Collectively, they reflect the the mental framework of all informed persons. As the pub-fundamental truths addressed by geography: that things are lication Geography for Life summarizes, “There is now arationally organized on the earth’s surface and that recog- widespread acceptance . . . that being literate in geographynizing spatial patterns is an essential starting point for is essential . . . to earn a decent living, enjoy the richness of life, and participate responsibly in local, national, and in- ternational affairs.” (See “The National Standards.”)2Five fundamental themes of geography—basic concepts and topics that Geographers use the word spatial as an essentialare essential elements in all geographic inquiry and at all levels of modifier in framing their questions and forming their con-instruction—have been recognized by a joint committee of the NationalCouncil for Geographic Education and the Association of American cepts. Geography, they say, is a spatial science. It is con-Geographers. They are: (1) the significance of absolute and relative cerned with spatial behavior of people, with the spatiallocation; (2) the distinctive physical and human characteristics of place; relationships that are observed between places on the(3) relationships, including human–environmental relationships, withinplaces; (4) movement, expressing patterns and change in human spatial earth’s surface, and with the spatial processes that create orinteraction; and (5) how regions form and change. maintain those behaviors and relationships. The word6 Introduction: Some Background Basics
  10. 10. community and economic develop- required in geographic research and GIS, who are knowledgeable about ment programs for banks, public util- analysis gives geography graduates a data sources, hardware, and software, ities, and railroads, and similar competitive edge in the labor market. are finding that they have ready ac- applications. Publishers of maps, at- These field-based skills include famil- cess to employment opportunities. lases, news and travel magazines, and iarity with geographic information The following table, based on the the like employ geographers as writ- systems (GIS), cartography and com- booklet “Careers in Geography,”* sum- ers, editors, and map makers. puter mapping, remote sensing and marizes some of the professional op- The combination of a tradi- photogrammetry, and competence in portunities open to students who have tional, broadly based liberal arts per- data analysis and problem solving. In specialized in one (or more) of the spective with the technical skills particular, students with expertise in various subfields of geography. Geographic Field of Concentration Employment Opportunities Cartography and geographic information systems Cartographer for federal government (agencies such as Defense Mapping Agency, U.S. Geological Survey, or Environmental Protection Agency) or private sector (e.g., Environmental Systems Research Institute, ERDAS, Intergraph, or Bentley); map librarian; GIS specialist for planners, land developers, real estate agencies, utility companies, local government; remote-sensing analyst; surveyor Physical geography Weather forecaster; outdoor guide; coastal zone manager; hydrologist; soil conservation/agricultural extension agent Environmental studies Environmental manager; forestry technician; park ranger; hazardous waste planner Cultural geography Community developer; Peace Corps volunteer; health care analyst Economic geography Site selection analyst for business and industry; market researcher; traffic/route delivery manager; real estate agent/broker/appraiser; economic development researcher Urban and regional planning Urban and community planner; transportation planner; housing, park, and recreation planner; health services planner Regional geography Area specialist for federal government; international business representative; travel agent; travel writer Geographic education or general geography Elementary/secondary school teacher; college professor; overseas teacher *”Careers in Geography,” by Richard G. Boehm. Washington, D.C.: National Geographic Society, 1996. Previously published by Peterson’s Guides, Inc.spatial comes, of course, from space, and to geographers it • Places have location, direction, and distance withalways carries the idea of the way items are distributed, respect to other places.the way movements occur, and the way processes operate • A place has size; it may be large or small. Scale isover the whole or a part of the surface of the earth. The important.geographer’s space, then, is earth space, the surface area • A place has both physical structure and culturaloccupied or available to be occupied by humans. Spatial content.phenomena have locations on that surface, and spatial in- • The attributes of places develop and change overteractions occur between places, things, and people within time.the earth area available to them. The need to understand • The elements of places interrelate with other places.those relationships, interactions, and processes helps • The content of places is rationally structured.frame the questions that geographers ask. • Places may be generalized into regions of Those questions have their starting point in basic ob- similarities and differences.servations about the location and nature of places and abouthow places are similar to or different from one another. These are basic notions understandable to everyone.Such observations, though simply stated, are profoundly im- They also are the means by which geographers express fun-portant to our comprehension of the world we occupy. damental observations about the earth spaces they examine Introduction: Some Background Basics 7
  11. 11. The National Standards G eography is a core subject in the national Educate America Act. Its inclu- sion reflects a national conviction that process, and report information from a spatial perspective. 2. How to use mental maps to organize 10. The characteristics, distribution, and complexity of Earth’s cultural mosaics. a grasp of the skills and understand- information about people, places, and 11. The patterns and networks of ings of geography are essential in an environments in a spatial context. economic interdependence on Earth’s American educational system “tailored 3. How to analyze the spatial surface. to the needs of productive and re- organization of people, places, and 12. The processes, patterns, and sponsible citizenship in the global environments on Earth’s surface. functions of human settlement. economy.” The National Geography 13. How the forces of cooperation and Places and Regions Standards 1994 were developed to help conflict among people influence the achieve that goal. They specify the es- 4. The physical and human division and control of Earth’s surface. sential subject matter, skills, and per- characteristics of places. Environment and Society spectives that students who have gone 5. That people create regions to interpret through the U.S. public school system Earth’s complexity. 14. How human actions modify the should acquire and use. Although not 6. How culture and experience influence physical environment. all of the standards are relevant to our people’s perceptions of places and 15. How physical systems affect human study of human geography, together regions. systems. they help frame the kinds of under- 16. The changes that occur in the Physical Systems standing we will seek in the following meaning, use, distribution, and pages and suggest the purpose and ben- 7. The physical processes that shape the importance of resources. efit of further study of geography. patterns of Earth’s surface. The Uses of Geography The 18 standards from Geogra- 8. The characteristics and spatial phy for Life tell us: distribution of ecosystems on Earth’s 17. How to apply geography to interpret surface. the past. The geographically informed person knows and understands: Human Systems 18. How to apply geography to interpret The World in Spatial Terms the present and plan for the future. 9. The characteristics, distribution, and Source: Geography for Life: National Geography 1. How to use maps and other geographic migration of human populations on Standards 1994. Washington, D.C.: National tools and technologies to acquire, Earth’s surface. Geographic Research and Exploration, 1994.and put those observations into a common framework of Absolute location is the identification of place byreference. Each of the concepts is worth further discussion, some precise and accepted system of coordinates; it there-for they are not quite as simple as they at first seem. fore is sometimes called mathematical location. We have several such accepted systems of pinpointing positions.Location, Direction, and Distance One of them is the global grid of parallels and meridiansLocation, direction, and distance are everyday ways of as- (discussed later on page 20). With it the absolute locationsessing the space around us and identifying our position of any point on the earth can be accurately described byin relation to other items and places of interest. They are reference to its degrees, minutes, and seconds of latitudealso essential in understanding the processes of spatial in- and longitude (Figure 1.4).teraction that figure so importantly in the study of human Other coordinate systems are also in use. Survey sys-geography. tems such as the township, range, and section description of property in much of the United States give mathemati-Location cal locations on a regional level, while street address pre-The location of places and objects is the starting point of all cisely defines a building according to the referencegeographic study as well as of all our personal movements system of an individual town. Absolute location is uniqueand spatial actions in everyday life. We think of and refer to to each described place, is independent of any other char-location in at least two different senses, absolute and relative. acteristic or observation about that place, and has obvious8 Introduction: Some Background Basics
  12. 12. Figure 1.5 The reality of relative location on the globe may beFigure 1.4 The latitude and longitude of Hong Kong is 22° 15 N, strikingly different from the impressions we form from flat maps.114° 10’ E (read as 22 degrees, 15 minutes north; 114 degrees, The position of Russia with respect to North America when viewed10 minutes east). The circumference of the earth measures from a polar perspective emphasizes that relative location properly360 degrees; each degree contains 60 minutes and each minute has viewed is important to our understanding of spatial relationships and60 seconds of latitude or longitude. What are the coordinates of interactions between the two world areas.Hanoi?value in the legal description of places, in measuring the East Side not solely by reference to the street addresses ordistance separating places, or in finding directions be- city blocks they occupy, but by their spatial and functionaltween places on the earth’s surface. relationships to the total land use, activity, and population When geographers—or real estate agents—remark patterns of New York City.that “location matters,” however, their reference is usu- In view of these different ways of looking at loca-ally not to absolute but to relative location—the posi- tion, geographers make a distinction between the sitetion of a place in relation to that of other places or and the situation of a place. Site, an absolute locationactivities (Figure 1.5). Relative location expresses spatial concept, refers to the physical and cultural characteris-interconnection and interdependence. On an immediate tics and attributes of the place itself. It is more thanand personal level, we think of the location of the school mathematical location, for it tells us something about thelibrary not in terms of its street address or room number internal features of that place. The site of Philadelphia,but where it is relative to our classrooms, or the cafete- for example, is an area bordering and west of the Delawareria, or some other reference point. On the larger scene, River north of its intersection with the Schuylkill Riverrelative location tells us that people, things, and places in southeast Pennsylvania (Figure 1.6). Situation, on theexist not in a spatial vacuum but in a world of physical other hand, refers to the external relations of a locale. Itand cultural characteristics that differ from place is an expression of relative location with particular refer-to place. ence to items of significance to the place in question. New York City, for example, may in absolute terms The situation of Chicago might be described as at thebe described as located at (approximately) latitude deepest penetration of the Great Lakes system into the40° 43 N and longitude 73° 58 W. We have a better un- interior of the United States, astride the Greatderstanding of the meaning of its location, however, when Lakes–Mississippi waterways, and near the western mar-reference is made to its spatial relationships: to the conti- gin of the manufacturing belt, the northern boundary ofnental interior through the Hudson–Mohawk lowland cor- the corn belt, and the southeastern reaches of a majorridor or to its position on the eastern seaboard of the dairy region. Reference to railroads, coal deposits, andUnited States. Within the city, we gain understanding of ore fields would amplify its situational characteristicsthe locational significance of Central Park or the Lower (Figure 1.7). Introduction: Some Background Basics 9
  13. 13. Figure 1.7 The situation of Chicago helps suggest the reasons for its functional diversity.Figure 1.6 The site of Philadelphia.Direction Absolute distance refers to the spatial separationDirection is a second universal spatial concept. Like loca- between two points on the earth’s surface measured bytion, it has more than one meaning and can be expressed in some accepted standard unit such as miles or kilometersabsolute or relative terms. Absolute direction is based on for widely separated locales, feet or meters for morethe cardinal points of north, south, east, and west. These closely spaced points. Relative distance transforms thoseappear uniformly and independently in all cultures, de- linear measurements into other units more meaningfulrived from the obvious “givens” of nature: the rising and for the space relationship in question.setting of the sun for east and west, the sky location of the To know that two competing malls are about equidis-noontime sun and of certain fixed stars for north and south. tant in miles from your residence is perhaps less impor- We also commonly use relative or relational tant in planning your shopping trip than is knowing thatdirections. In the United States we go “out West,” “back because of street conditions or traffic congestion one isEast,” or “down South”; we worry about conflict in the “Near 5 minutes and the other 15 minutes away (Figure 1.8).East” or economic competition from the “Far Eastern coun- Most people, in fact, think of time distance rather than lin-tries.” These directional references are culturally based and ear distance in their daily activities; downtown is 20 min-locationally variable, despite their reference to cardinal utes by bus, the library is a 5-minute walk. In somecompass points. The Near and the Far East locate parts of instances, money rather than time may be the distanceAsia from the European perspective; they are retained in transformation. An urban destination might be estimatedthe Americas by custom and usage, even though one would to be a $10 cab ride away, information that may affect ei-normally travel westward across the Pacific, for example, to ther the decision to make the trip at all or the choice ofreach the “Far East” from California, British Columbia, or travel mode to get there.Chile. For many Americans, “back East” and “out West” are A psychological transformation of linear distance isreflections of the migration paths of earlier generations for also frequent. The solitary late-night walk back to thewhom home was in the eastern part of the country, to car through an unfamiliar or dangerous neighborhoodwhich they might look back. “Up North” and “down South” seems far longer than a daytime stroll of the same dis-reflect our accepted custom of putting north at the top and tance through familiar and friendly territory. A first-south at the bottom of our maps. time trip to a new destination frequently seems much longer than the return trip over the same path. DistanceDistance relationships, their measurement, and their meaning forDistance joins location and direction as a commonly un- human spatial interaction are fundamental to our under-derstood term that has dual meanings for geographers. standing of human geography. They are a subjectLike its two companion spatial concepts, distance may be of Chapter 3, and reference to them recurs throughoutviewed in both an absolute and a relative sense. this book.10 Introduction: Some Background Basics
  14. 14. Size and Scale When we say that a place may be large or small, we speak both of the nature of the place itself and of the gen- eralizations that can be made about it. In either instance, geographers are concerned with scale, though we may use that term in different ways. We can, for example, study a problem—say, population or agriculture—at the local scale, the regional scale, or on a global scale. Here the reference is purely to the size of unit studied. More technically, scale tells us the mathematical relationship between the size of an area on a map and the actual size of the mapped area on the surface of the earth. In this sense, scale is a feature of every map and essential to rec- ognizing the areal meaning of what is shown on that map. In both senses of the word, scale implies the degree of generalization represented (Figure 1.9). Geographic inquiry may be broad or narrow; it occurs at many different sizeFigure 1.8 Lines of equal travel time (isochrones) mark off scales. Climate may be an object of study, but research anddifferent linear distances from a given starting point, depending onthe condition of the route and terrain and changes in the roads and generalization focused on climates of the world will differ intraffic flows over time. On this map, the areas within 30 minutes’ degree and kind from study of the microclimates of a city.travel time from downtown Los Angeles are recorded for the period Awareness of scale is very important. In geographic work,1953 to 1971. concepts, relationships, and understandings that haveRedrawn by permission from Howard J. Nelson and William A.V. Clark,The Los Angeles Metropolitan Experience, page 49, Association of American meaning at one scale may not be applicable at another.Geographers, 1976. For example, the study of world agricultural patterns may refer to global climatic regimes, cultural food prefer- ences, levels of economic development, and patterns of world trade. These large-scale relationships are of little (a) (b)Figure 1.9 Population density and map scale. “Truth” depends on one’s scale of inquiry. Map (a) reveals that the maximum populationdensity of Midwestern states is no more than 123 people per square kilometer (319 per sq mi). From map (b), however, we see that populationdensities in two Illinois counties exceed 494 people per square kilometer (1280 per sq mi). Were we to reduce our scale of inquiry even further,examining individual city blocks in Chicago, we would find densities as high as 2000 people per square kilometer (5200 per sq mi). Scale matters! Introduction: Some Background Basics 11
  15. 15. concern in the study of crop patterns within single coun- Virtually every human activity leaves its imprint on anties of the United States, where topography, soil and area’s soils, water, vegetation, animal life, and other re-drainage conditions, farm size, ownership, and capitaliza- sources and on the atmosphere common to all earthtion, or even personal management preferences may be of space. The impact of humans has been so universal andgreater explanatory significance. so long exerted that essentially no “natural landscape” any longer exists.Physical and Cultural Attributes The visible expression of that human activity is theAll places have physical and cultural attributes that distin- cultural landscape. It, too, exists at different scalesguish them from other places and give them character, po- and different levels of visibility. Differences in agricul-tential, and meaning. Geographers are concerned with tural practices and land use between Mexico and south-identifying and analyzing the details of those attributes ern California are evident in Figure 1.11, while theand, particularly, with recognizing the interrelationship signs, structures, and people of, for instance, Los Ange-between the physical and cultural components of area: les’s Chinatown leave a smaller, more confined imprintthe human–environmental interface. within the larger cultural landscape of the metropolitan Physical characteristics refer to such natural aspects of area itself.a locale as its climate and soil, the presence or absence of Although the focus of this book is on the humanwater supplies and mineral resources, its terrain features, characteristics of places, geographers are ever aware thatand the like. These natural landscape attributes provide the physical content of an area is also important in under-the setting within which human action occurs. They help standing the activity patterns of people and the intercon-shape—but do not dictate—how people live. The resource nections between people and the environments theybase, for example, is physically determined, though how re- occupy and modify. Those interconnections and modifica-sources are perceived and utilized is culturally conditioned. tions are not static or permanent, however, but are subject People modify the environmental conditions of a to continual change.given place simply by occupying it. The existence of theU.S. Environmental Protection Agency (and its counter-parts elsewhere) is a reminder that humans are the activeand frequently harmful agents in the continuing interplaybetween the cultural and physical worlds (Figure 1.10). Figure 1.11 This Landsat image reveals contrasting cultural landscapes along the Mexico-California border. Move your eyes fromFigure 1.10 Sites (and sights) such as this devastation of the Salton Sea (the dark patch at the top of the image) southward to theruptured barrels and petrochemical contamination near Texas City, agricultural land extending to the edge of the image. Notice how theTexas are all-too-frequent reminders of the adverse environmental regularity of the fields and the bright colors (representing growingimpacts of humans and their waste products. Many of those impacts vegetation) give way to a marked break, where irregularly shaped fieldsare more hidden in the form of soil erosion, water pollution, and less prosperous agriculture are evident. Above the break is theincreased stream sedimentation, plant and animal extinctions, Imperial Valley of California; below the border is Mexico.deforestation, and the like. © NASA.12 Introduction: Some Background Basics
  16. 16. The Changing Attributes of Place their management and alteration of the now no longerThe physical environment surrounding us seems eternal “natural” environment. Even the classical Greeks notedand unchanging but, of course, it is not. In the framework how the landscape they occupied differed—for the worse—of geologic time, change is both continuous and pro- from its former condition. With growing numbers of peo-nounced. Islands form and disappear; mountains rise and ple and particularly with industrialization and the spreadare worn low to swampy plains; vast continental glaciers of European exploitative technologies throughout theform, move, and melt away, and sea levels fall and rise in world, the pace of change in the content of area acceler-response. Geologic time is long, but the forces that give ated. The built landscape—the product of human effort—shape to the land are timeless and relentless. increasingly replaced the natural landscape. Each new Even within the short period of time since the most settlement or city, each agricultural assault on forests,recent retreat of continental glaciers—some 11,000 or each new mine, dam, or factory changed the content of re-12,000 years ago—the environments occupied by humans gions and altered the temporarily established spatial inter-have been subject to change. Glacial retreat itself marked a connections between humans and the environment.period of climatic alteration, extending the area habitable Characteristics of places today, therefore, are the re-by humans to include vast reaches of northern Eurasia and sult of constantly changing past conditions. They are, asNorth America formerly covered by thousands of feet of well, the forerunners of differing human–environmentalice. With moderating climatic conditions came associated balances yet to be struck. Geographers are concerned withchanges in vegetation and fauna. On the global scale, these places at given moments of time. But to understand fullywere natural environmental changes; humans were as yet the nature and development of places, to appreciate thetoo few in numbers and too limited in technology to alter significance of their relative locations, and to comprehendmaterially the course of physical events. On the regional the interplay of their physical and cultural characteristics,scale, however, even early human societies exerted an im- geographers must view places as the present result of thepact on the environments they occupied. Fire was used to past operation of distinctive physical and culturalclear forest undergrowth, to maintain or extend grassland processes (Figure 1.12).for grazing animals and to drive them in the hunt, and, You will recall that one of the questions geogra-later, to clear openings for rudimentary agriculture. phers ask about a place or thing is: How did it come to be With the dawn of civilizations and the invention and what and where it is? This is an inquiry about processspread of agricultural technologies, humans accelerated and about becoming. The forces and events shaping theFigure 1.12 The process of change in a cultural landscape. Before the advent of the freeway, this portion of suburban Long Island, NewYork, was largely devoted to agriculture (left). The construction of the freeway and cloverleaf interchange ramps altered nearby land use patterns(right) to replace farming with housing developments and new commercial and light industrial activities. Introduction: Some Background Basics 13
  17. 17. physical and explaining the cultural environment of Geographers study the dynamics of spatial relation-places today are an important focus of geography. They ships. Movement, connection, and interaction are part ofare, particularly in their human context, the subjects of the social and economic processes that give character tomost of the separate chapters of this book. To under- places and regions (Figure 1.13). Geography’s study ofstand them is to appreciate more fully the changing those relationships recognizes that spatial interaction ishuman spatial order of our world. not just an awkward necessity but a fundamental organiz- ing principle of human life on earth.Interrelations between PlacesThe concepts of relative location and distance that we ear- The Structured Content of Placelier introduced lead directly to a fundamental spatial real- A starting point for geographic inquiry is how objects areity: Places interact with other places in structured and distributed in area—for example, the placement of churchescomprehensible ways. In describing the processes and pat- or supermarkets within a town. That interest distinguishesterns of that spatial interaction, geographers add accessi- geography from other sciences, physical or social, andbility and connectivity to the ideas of location and distance. A basic law of geography tells us that in a spatialsense everything is related to everything else but that re-lationships are stronger when items are near one another.Our observation, therefore, is that interaction betweenplaces diminishes in intensity and frequency as distancebetween them increases—a statement of the idea of dis-tance decay, which we explore in Chapter 3. Consideration of distance implies assessment ofaccessibility. How easy or difficult is it to overcome the“friction of distance”? That is, how easy or difficult is it tosurmount the barrier of the time and space separation ofplaces? Distance isolated North America from Europeuntil the development of ships (and aircraft) that reducedthe effective distance between the continents. All parts ofthe ancient and medieval city were accessible by walking;they were “pedestrian cities,” a status lost as cities ex-panded in area and population with industrialization. Ac-cessibility between city districts could only be maintainedby the development of public transit systems whose fixedlines of travel increased ease of movement between con-nected points and reduced it between areas not on thetransit lines themselves. Accessibility therefore suggests the idea ofconnectivity, a broader concept implying all the tangibleand intangible ways in which places are connected: byphysical telephone lines, street and road systems,pipelines and sewers; by unrestrained walking acrossopen countryside; by radio and TV broadcasts beamedoutward uniformly from a central source. Where routesare fixed and flow is channelized, networks—the patternsof routes connecting sets of places—determine the effi-ciency of movement and the connectedness of points. There is, inevitably, interchange between connected Figure 1.13 The routes of the 5 million automobileplaces. Spatial diffusion is the process of dispersion of an trips made each day in Chicago during the late 1950s are recorded on this light-display map. The boundaries of the region of interactionidea or an item from a center of origin to more distant that they created are clearly marked and document the centrality ofpoints with which it is directly or indirectly connected. The Chicago at that time as the employment destination of city-fringerate and extent of that diffusion are affected by the distance and suburban residents. Those boundaries (and the dynamic regionseparating the originating center of, say, a new idea or tech- they defined) were subject to change as residential neighborhoodsnology and other places where it is eventually adopted. Dif- expanded or developed, as population relocations occurred, and as the road pattern was altered over time. If made today, the light-fusion rates are also affected by population densities, display would show a much more complex commuting pattern, withmeans of communication, obvious advantages of the inno- most trips between suburbs and not from suburbs to the central city.vation, and importance or prestige of the originating node. From Chicago Area Transportation Study, Final Report, 1959, Vol. I, p. 44, figure 22These ideas of diffusion are further explored in Chapter 2. “Desire Lines of Internal Automobile Driver Trips.”14 Introduction: Some Background Basics
  18. 18. underlies many of the questions geographers ask: Where is If the entire population of a metropolitan countya thing located? How is that location related to other items? were all located within a confined central city, we mightHow did the location we observe come to exist? Such ques- say the population was clustered. If, however, that sametions carry the conviction that the contents of an area are population redistributed itself, with many city residentscomprehensibly arranged or structured. The arrangement moving to the suburbs and occupying a larger portion ofof items on the earth’s surface is called spatial distribution the county’s territory, it would become more dispersed. Inand may be analyzed by the elements common to all spatial both cases, the density of population (numbers in relationdistributions: density, dispersion, and pattern. to area of the county) would be the same, but the distribu- tion would have changed. Since dispersion deals with sep-Density aration of things one from another, a distribution thatThe measure of the number or quantity of anything might be described as clustered (closely spaced) at onewithin a defined unit of area is its density. It is therefore scale of reference might equally well be considered dis-not simply a count of items but of items in relation to the persed (widely spread) at another scale.space in which they are found. When the relationship isabsolute, as in population per square kilometer, for exam- Patternple, or dwelling units per acre, we are defining arithmetic The geometric arrangement of objects in space is calleddensity (see Figure 1.9). Sometimes it is more meaningful pattern. Like dispersion, pattern refers to distribution,to relate item numbers to a specific kind of area. Physio- but that reference emphasizes design rather than spacinglogical density, for example, is a measure of the number of (Figure 1.15). The distribution of towns along a railroad orpersons per unit area of arable land. Density defined in houses along a street may be seen as linear. A centralizedpopulation terms is discussed in Chapter 4. pattern may involve items concentrated around a single A density figure is a statement of fact but not neces- node. A random pattern may be the best description of ansarily one useful in itself. Densities are normally em- unstructured irregular distribution.ployed comparatively, relative to one another. High or low The rectangular system of land survey adopted indensity implies a comparison with a known standard, with much of the United States under the Ordinance of 1785an average, or with a different area. Ohio, with (2000) creates a checkerboard rural pattern of “sections” and107 persons per square kilometer (277 per sq mi), might be “quarter-sections” of farmland (see Figure 6.26). As a re-thought to have a high density compared to neighboring sult, in most American cities, streets display a grid or recti-Michigan at 68 per square kilometer (175 per sq mi), and a linear pattern. The same is true of cities in Canada,low one in relation to New Jersey at 438 (1134 per sq mi). Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa, which adopted similar geometric survey systems. The hexagonal patternDispersion of service areas of farm towns is a mainstay of centralDispersion (or its opposite, concentration) is a state- place theory discussed in Chapter 11. These references toment of the amount of spread of a phenomenon over an the geometry of distribution patterns help us visualize andarea. It tells us not how many or how much but how far describe the structured arrangement of items in space.things are spread out. If they are close together spatially, They help us make informed comparisons between areasthey are considered clustered or agglomerated. If they are and use the patterns we discern to ask further questionsspread out, they are dispersed or scattered (Figure 1.14). about the interrelationship of things. Place Similarity and Regions The distinctive characteristics of places in content and structure immediately suggest two geographically impor- tant ideas. The first is that no two places on the surface ofFigure 1.14 Density and dispersion each tell us something (a) (b) (c)different about how items are distributed in an area. Density is simplythe number of items or observations within a defined area; it remains Figure 1.15 Pattern describes spatial arrangement and design.the same no matter how the items are distributed. The density of The linear pattern of towns in (a) perhaps traces the route of a road orhouses per square mile, for example, is the same in both (a) and (b). railroad or the course of a river. The central city in (b) with its nearbyDispersion is a statement about nearness or separation. The houses in suburbs represents a centralized pattern, while the dots in (c) are(a) are more dispersed than those shown clustered in (b). randomly distributed. Introduction: Some Background Basics 15

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