Lecture 1 01/14/2014
Defining Environmental Geography: Environmental geography centrally about understanding the
entanglements of people and the nonhuman world.” (Castree et al. 2009)
Defining ‘Nature’ and the Environment: The Traditional View
Nature is the essence of something (human nature)
Nature and ‘pristine’ environments are areas unaltered by human action, i.e. the environment as a
realm of external to humanity and society.
The rouge looks natural, but its not. It made to LOOK natural.
The physical world in it’s entirety, perhaps including humans, i.e. nature as a universal realm of which
humans, as a species, are a part.
The Ecological View of the Environment and Nature
Ecology treats nature as something ‘objective’ that can be studied.
Nature cant be studied in a rational way, since its must more complicated.
Ecological change is compared to a climax community, which describes a final stage of change.
Any community is compared to a climax community, and humans are generally considered to create the
disturbances which prevent a climax state from being reached.
Thinking Critically about Nature and the Environment
No such thing as ‘human nature’.
Nature and environments are differentiated – many versions of each exist.
‘Environments’, and our understandings of ‘environments’ are the product of political, economic and
Environments always contains the sedimented histories of social relations of class, gender and race.
The environment carries histories & geographies, like the rouge valley. (the fishing industry there
compared to the logging companies there with the clearing the land) Its complicated, whether it’s the
history of settlement or the first nations communities, or it being a dump where a train carrying cargo
and oil through it. Environmentalisms: Key Points
Much like environments are differentiated, the environmental movement is diverse, representing
At stake, is the intervention in different environments ranging from toxic waste dumps, wilderness
spaces to bioreserves.
Every environmental movement is also a social and political movement, therefore we need to attend to
the social, political and environmental effects of different forms of environmentalism.
Forms of environmentalism are scaled ranging from individual consumer activity, to stateled action, to
mass social movements.
Environmental Geography – Bridging the human and environmental domains.
Overall, we must understand the differentiations of ‘the environment’ and ‘nature’ and attend to the
different ways these phenomenon enter into social life.
Forms of environmentalism are always politically loaded, carrying different values, representing
different interests and have distinct ecological and social consequences.
No relevant author
Explain the significance of geography in relating to the question that is asked
Similar to previous midterm, 1 half is short answers, and 2nd half is reading from a article. (EX: analyze
an article through the lense of political economy) Lecture 2: Cities and Environments 01/14/2014
Urban Environments in History
• GGRA03 Lecture 2 January 14, 2014
• Chicago, 1880s
• Previous lecture
• Massive change caused by globalization.
• Will double urban area within next 20 yrs.
• Another billion in cities (50% to 80% urban).
• Facing environmental crisis (global climate change).
• Result: destruction: food, environmental, trade, etc.
• If reduce emission: can slow? (2 degrees)
• 1000x extinction of species.
Cities produce most pollution/waste, but can be solution (more energy efficient).
• Designed for cheap/endless energy consumption. Need to rebuild to make more energy efficient.
• Need energy prices to be higher than they are now. (Gov. against this).
• Europe=most energy efficient.
• 1. Why is history important? Lecture 2: Cities and Environments 01/14/2014
• 2. Why did cities emerge?
• 3. What defines 'Cityness'?
• 4. Major characteristics of Urban Form
5. Changing relationships of City/Nature
• 6. The early Toronto pattern
• St. James St. Montreal, 1910
• Why is History Important?
• • 1. Understanding Why
• • 2. Understanding longterm patterns
• Urban systems, are built
• incrementally on prior systems.
• • 3. Cities are codegenerated
• Historical analysis of urban form, growth, development, and change is key to understanding urban
• • 4. Cities are an expression of values
• Analysis of how cities change over time allows understanding of the civilizations that give rise to
• E.g. Lucca, Italy
• Key Concept 1
• • Cities provide a detailed record of urban values, ideas and choices
• • Contemporary urban systems, structures, and infrastructures, are built incrementally on prior
systems Lecture 2: Cities and Environments 01/14/2014
• • Cities provide evidence of past decisions, in great detail
• • Understanding how particular problems were understood in the past helps to understand the
institutions we are working with today
• UnderstandinWhy – Why questions are usually the most important, and the most interesting.
Knowledge of historical patterns and processes is essential for the development of answers to questions
like: Why are US cities so different from Canadian Cities?
Understanding past=key to understanding future.
• When, where, and why did cities emerge?
• Which of the Competing Theories of Urban Origins is most convincing?
• a. Hydraulic Theory
• b. Economic Theory
c. Military Theory
d. Religious Theories
• Spiro Kostoff
• Hydraulic Theory
• • Control over Water is essential
• • Irrigation systems require a governance system that can mobilize large investments
• • Early cities were almost always established at key locations on rivers
• • Rural patterns of land use, irrigation systems, canals, etc. then have longterm impacts on urban
• E.g. Iran (Mesopotamia).
• Lecture 2: Cities and Environments 01/14/2014
• Economic Theories
Suggest that economic factors are the most important in urban development – ports, raw materials, rich
hinterland, energy sources, transport
e.g. William Cronon (1991) "Nature's Metropolis”
Rapid growth of Chicago in the 19th Century as a process of economic development of a rich hinterland
E.g. Chicago (Juncture b/w Mississippi river & Lake Michiganshipping route).
• Military Theories
• • Settlements established at militarystrategic locations form the core of longterm settlements
• • Military pattern remains influential long after strategic value of settlement is gone
E.g. Palmanuova, Italy (Venetian fort settlement to protect Venice.)
Glacis (field of fire)=the surrounding countryside outside area of fort.
• Religious Theories
• • Centers that are important for religious reasons are the starting point for many cities globally, of
which one of the most famous is Jerusalem
• • Also Mecca, Rome, Lhasa, Varanasi, and many others: Jerusalem
• Political Capitals
• • Some cities are the product of decisions by kings and emperors, or governments
• • In the modern period there have been several new cities planned and built primarily as new
political capitals, including Ottawa, Brasilia, Canberra, and Washington Lecture 2: Cities and Environments 01/14/2014
• E.g. Forbidden City, Beijing, China
• Key Concept 2
• Which theory is the most convincing?
• • All of the above.
• • As Kostoff notes, it is unlikely that we will ever identify a