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Basic concepts in Geography


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Basic concepts in Geography

  1. 1. GEOG 1: “BASIC GEOGRAPHIC CONCEPTS”HUMAN GEOGRAPHY 2. DISTANCE is the measure of how far apart 2 places are.• study of the spatial organization of human activity & of This can either be: people’s relationship with the environment. a. Absolute – physical, actual measure whose units may• It is about recognizing & understanding interdependence be in terms of km, m, cm, in, mm etc. among places & regions without losing sight of the b. Relative – distance measured in terms of time, cost individuality & uniqueness of specific places and effort c. Cognitive - the distance that people perceive to existKnowledge on human geography can: in a given situation • help us understand how places affect & are affected by one another; Other concepts: • provides better understanding of the place we live in; • Psychological Distance & Social Distance and • FRICTION OF DISTANCE: the deterrent or inhibiting • help us locate & map events that happen effect of distance on human activity. Could be in terms of time or cost of overcoming distance, that is, the1. LOCATION – Precise point on the earth’s surface,can higher the friction , the harder to overcome distance.either be: • DISTANCE-DECAYFUNCTION: the rate at which a. Nominal – actual name of the place activity or processes diminishes with increasing b. Relative – uses a reference point; fixed in terms of site distance; as distance increases, movement decreases. (the physical attributes of the location such as terrain, This reflects people’s behavioral response to soil, & water sources) or situation (the location of a place opportunities and constraints in time and space. In relative to other places and human activities). short, this is a function of utility(the usefulness of a c. Absolute – uses the grid coordinate system (latitude specific place or location to a particular person or and longitude) group). d. Cognitive – refers to the mental perception of a given Nearness Principle (Richard Morill) – people will place; subjective. The cognitive image or our mental seek to maximize the overall utility of a place with maps is also the psychological representations of minimum effort; maximize connections among locations which are created from people’s individual ideas places at minimum cost; and locate related and impressions of these locations. activities as close together as possible. Thus, pattern of behavior, locational decisions, andEuropeans started navigation and came up with the idea of interrelations between people and places come tolatitude and longitude. take on a fairly predictable and organized pattern.• PARALLEL: imaginary horizontal lines on the earth’s global system. Basic law of geog: everything is related to everything,• MERIDIAN: imaginary lines running from the poles. but relationships are stronger when things are near one• EQUATOR: 0° latitude neither east nor west another and weaken as distance increases.• LATITUDE: the angular distance of a point on the earth’s surface, measured in degrees, minutes and 3. SPACE – The container of our activities; the extent of an second, north or south of the equator. Describes how area, usually expressed in terms of the earth’s surface. far north or south of the equator a place is. A circle From this meaning derives the term spatial; and spatial joining places of the same latitude is called parallel of relationships are at the heart of geography latitude. (1° ≈ 110 km )• LONGITUDE: the angular distance of a point in the • TIME - SPACE CONVERGENCE: the rate at which earth’s surface, measured east or west from the Prime places move closer together in travel or communication Meridian. Measures position east or west of a half circle time or costs. Results from a decrease in the friction of drawn from the North to the South Pole, and passing distance as new technologies and infrastructure through the Royal Observatory at Greenwich, London, improvements successively reduce travel and England. Lines joining places of the same longitudes communication time between places. are called meridians of longitude. • PERSONAL SPACE• The position of the Prime Meridian was chosen by an international conference in 1884. 4. ACCESSIBILITY – opportunity for contact or for• DATELINE is 15° (30°/24hrs). Topographic distortion & interaction from a given point or location, in relation to other political influences determines the timeline in a locations; ease of movement between places. particular place. The reference point used is the • Implies proximity or nearness to something. Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) • It is a function of Distance, Connectivity, & Mobility.• Topographic distortion & political influences determines • Contact and interaction are dependent on channels of the timeline in a particular place. communication and transportation such as highways, telephone lines etc. It is a function both of spatialOther important concepts: GPS, Champlain’s astrolabe, structure and of the transportation system.Dava Sobel, Cognitive Image • accessibility means propensity for interaction.----------------------------------------------------------------------------
  2. 2. GEOG 1: “BASIC GEOGRAPHIC CONCEPTS”5. SPATIAL INTERACTION – Interdependence between Importance: helps to reconstruct the dispersal of culturalplaces and regions can only be sustained through and technological ideas in the past. To predictmovements and flows. Spatial Interaction is basically allkinds and flows that involve human activity. Swedish Geographer TORSTEN HAGERSTRAND (1952,EDWARD ULLMAN (1912-1976) suggested the following The propagation of Diffusion waves) identified 2 types:triad of principles to explain SI: 1. Expansion Diffusion – a phenomena spread because1. COMPLEMENTARITY – occurs when one area has a of the proximity of the carrier, or agents of change who surplus of a commodity demanded by a second area. are fixed in their location. Originating from a source The mere existence of a resource in a locality is no affecting a larger area or population. guarantee that trade will develop; that resource must Contagious – diffusion thru direct contact specifically be needed elsewhere. Thus (language), virtually every village, town and complementarity arises from regional variations in both community is affected by expansion diffusion the supply and demand of human and natural shaped by local proximity. resources. The precondition for interdependence 2. Relocation – a phenomena is carried to a distant between places: location and is diffused from there; a phenomenon is a. variation from physical environment & resource diffused as an initial carrier or group of carriers, and endowments from place to place spreads from there, results from movement of people b. international division of labor that derives from 3. Hierarchical – phenomena is diffused from one the evolution of the worlds economic system. location to another without necessarily spreading to c. Economic advantages derived from places in between; diffusion from long distance source; specialization. downward filtering from larger to smaller scale2. TRANSFERABILITY – refers to the ease with which a commodity may be transported between 2 places. Cost 10. PLACE – usually regarded as small-scale areas; Any of item vs. cost of travel. portion of the earth’s surface can be regarded as a place; The capacity to move a good from one place to another Every place is unique, each place has its identifying at a bearable cost features that marks its uniqueness. Distance may be an obstacle. Even though • The physical & human characteristics of a location complementarity exists, the problem of overcoming the distance separating them that trade cannot begin. Uniqueness of Places:3. INTERVENING OPPORTUNITY – alternative origins or • Places are dynamic with changing properties & fluid destinations; the presence of a nearer opportunity that boundaries that are the product of the interplay of a wide greatly diminishes the attractiveness of sites farther variety of environmental & human factors. away. • Places provide settings for people’s daily lives It is important in determining the volume and pattern of • Places exert a strong influence on people’s well-being, movement and flows. their opportunities & their lifestyle choices. • Places contribute to people’s collective memory &6. DIRECTION – orientation (NEWS), up, down, left, right, become powerful emotional & cultural symbols.near far, middle • Places are sites of innovation & change, of resistance & conflict.7. SIZE AND SCALE: when we say large or small, wespeak both of the nature of the place and of other Interdependence of Placesgeneralizations that can be made out of it. Refers to the • Most places are interdependent, each filling adegree of generalization represented. specialized roles in complex and ever-changingCan either be: geographies.a. level of analysis (global, international, regional); b. map • Individual places are tied to wider processes of changescale (relationship of size of an area on a map and its that are reflected in broader geographical patterns.actual size in reality, large, medium, small) Interdependence of Geographic Scales8. DISTRIBUTION – arrangement of phenomena on earth, • Global & Local Scales. Global events affect local peopledescribes how things are arranged on earth; 2 Concepts: in almost all areas of the world (globalization) a. PATTERN - gives basis for observation, geometric arrangement in space (linear, radial, ring, random) • Local events could also have global impacts (gulf war, b. DENSITY – no. of observation per unit area e.g. pop EDSA Revolution I) density Interdependence as a 2-way process9. SPATIAL DIFFUSION – the process of dispersion or • Places are not just distinctive outcomes of geographicalspread of new ideas, products, objects across time and processes, they are part of the processes It is affected by distance, pop density, transport There is a continuous 2-way process in which peoplesystem, ICT. create & modify places while at the same time being influenced by the settings in which they live and work.----------------------------------------------------------------------------
  3. 3. GEOG 1: “BASIC GEOGRAPHIC CONCEPTS”REGIONAL GEOGRAPHY 2. FUNCTIONAL – Formed by a set of places and their• Core of Geography in the late 19th and early 20th interrelated activities, that is, interconnections rather than centuries uniformity. It literally functions as a unit, economically or• Evaluates the differences among places, based on administratively, and is usually organized by transport recognizing the uniqueness of some places and features routes, focusing on a dominant city. that several places may have in common. - dynamic geographic entities interacting with other regions• It provides an informed approach to assessing the roles in national and global geographic patterns. of global processes and their impacts on people in different places. 3.VERNACULAR – this is the local region identified by the region’s own inhabitants.11. REALMS – Largest unit into which the inhabited worldcan be divided. PROBLEMS OF THE REGIONAL APPROACH• Criteria include physical and human/social yardsticks. • Not scientific? (e.g. South America). • Regionalizing is subjective and arbitrary• Result of interaction of human societies and natural • Defining a region – few have clearly defined environment – a functional interaction revealed by boundaries transport routes, farms, & other features on the • Scale – too small or too large landscape. • Globalization – changes the conception of local• It must represent the most comprehensive and diversity encompassing definition of a great cluster of humankind in the world today. GEOGRAPHY’S 5 THEMES: 1. Location: 12 WORLD REALMS Where is it? Why is it Located there?1. Europe 7. Subsaharan Africa 2. Place:2. Russia 8. South Asia What is it like?3. North America 9. East Asia 3. Human-Environment Interaction:4. Middle America 10. South-East Asia How do people interact with and change their5. South America 11. Australia environment?6. North Africa/West Asia 12. Pacific Depend; Adapt; Modify 4. Movement:12. REGIONS – An area on the earth’s surface marked by How are people and places linked by communication,certain properties of commonality or functionality. and the flow of people, ideas, and goods?• Classifying tool. 5. Region:• Scientific devices that allow us to make spatial What are their unifying features and how do they form generalizations, based on artificial criteria established and change over time? for the purpose of constructing them.• Makes studying the earth’s surface manageable by grouping those areas that are similar and connected & COMMON PARADIGMS looking for patterns of organization.• Regions are mental constructs. 1. Environmental Determinism – simple model of nature- society relation where nature or the environment shapes orPROPERTIES limits the society. The physical environment controls human1. Area/Spatial Extent – not abstractions, they exist & actions, molds human behavior and conditions culturaloccupy space on the Earth’s surface. development.2. Boundaries – not self-evident & must be determined onthe basis of criteria established for that purpose. 2. Cultural Possibilism – as opposed to determinism, man3. Location is the active component while nature is passive. It holds4. Hierarchically arranged that man can manipulate nature for his advantages.5. DynamicTYPES1. FORMAL – Essential uniformity / homogeneity /sameness, determined by combination of physical & humangeographic features. It is one that is uniform in terms of aspecific criteria. Example, world regions based on climate;Businesses & governmental bodies use formal regionaldivision to define their marketing & administrative areas.----------------------------------------------------------------------------
  4. 4. GEOG 1: “BASIC GEOGRAPHIC CONCEPTS”Image of the City Kevin LynchA collective image – map or impression – map of a city, a collective picture of what people extractfrom the physical reality of a cityThere are five basic elements which people use to construct their mental image of a city: 1. PATHWAYS – major and minor routes of circulation to move about; the city has a network of major routes and a neighborhood network of minor routes; a building has several main routes which people use to get to it and from it. An urban highway network is a network of pathways for a whole city; the footpaths of a college are pathways for the campus 2. DISTRICTS – a city is composed of component neighborhoods or districts; its center, uptown, midtown, its in-town residential areas, train yards, factory areas, suburbs, college campuses, etc. Sometimes they are distinct in form and extent – ex. Wall Street area on Manhattan. Sometimes they are considerably mixed in character and do not have distinct limits like the midtown of Manhattan 3. EDGES – The termination of a district is its edge. Some districts have no distinct edges at all but gradually taper off and blend into another district. When two districts are joined at an edge, they form a seam. A narrow park may be a joining seam for two urban neighborhoods. 4. LANDMARKS – The prominent visual features of the city; some are very large and are seen at great distances; some are very small and can only be seen up close (e.g. street clock, a fountain, small statue in a park); they help in orienting people in the city and help identify an area; they should be distinct but in harmony with other elements in the setting. They are distinct visual object. 5. NODES – a center of activity; distinguished from a landmark by virtue of its active function; it is a distinct hub of activity. Times Square in New York City is both a landmark and a node.These five elements of urban form are sufficient to make a useful visual survey of the form of a city.They are the skeletal elements of a city form. Upon this framework hangs a tapestry ofembellishments.----------------------------------------------------------------------------