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Week 1 Lecture 1 GEOG 2200 2012 Notes.docx

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GEOG 2200
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Page1Week 1Lecture 1What are the factors that have created todays worldTechnological advances in both transportation and communications But these advances by themselves do not explain the world todayAlso important is the changing global structural environment Changing possibly controversial shift in how we see the relationship between citizens and states This changing view is expressed through neoliberalismConnections have existed between peoples and places for thousands of years These connections have been established through the migration of peoples the rise and fall of empires and through tradeIt was along trade routes that not only goods flowed but people and ideas as wellAnd consider the myriad of trade routes through history mapsWe can trace these routes by the chattels traded We can see these routes in aerial photographywell worn routes across deserts and steppes Centres of commerce even if they have vanished today or whose glorious times are in the past are permanently found in history books The fabled centres of Timbuktu and Samarkand in what is now Turkistan the island of Zanzibar others and the many other centres dotting the lattice of routes to collectively made up the trade routesThese routes grew over time Merchant traders did not necessarily travel the entire lengths of the routesthe vast majority didnt Adventurers such as Marco Polo were rare Goods were traded from one to another in centres along these routesRoutes radiated outwards from trade centres Most famous of these routes was the Spice Route historian in his series The History of India describes the Spice Route as connecting China India and the poor backward Western end Europe into a complex lattice of connections Advances in Transportation TechnologyImprovements in transportation promoted increased interaction between places and people over wider and wider areas It led to an ever increasing diversity of goods traded Prior to the development of railroads for example overland transportation of heavy or bulky goods was slow and costly limiting such trade often to luxury goods of high value spices precious metals precious stones The movement of heavy raw materials by water was much cheaper and so not surprisingly most the worlds commerce was conducted by water transportation And this led to emergence of maritime citiesportsas centres of wealth power and influenceAn important point to keep in mind is each new advancementeach new form of transportation technologycreates new geographies and annihilates the existing onesThink about the Portuguese example from last week Advances in ship design in navigation both knowledge and devices and the new navigator all combined to help Portugal emerge as a dominant maritime power at the thbeginning of the 16 century These advances created a new maritime power that enabled Portugal to seize control of the Indian Spice TradePage2Consideradvances in shipping and shipping technologiesthe expansion of railroads then roadsthe integration of these forms of transportationWhat has all of these advances resulted in 1We can travel faster to more places in the world today than ever before Consider air travel In the late 1930s it took at DC3 between 15 and 17 hours to fly from New York City to Los Angeles In 1934 it took 12 days to fly between London UK and Brisbane Australia Today a Boeing 747 SP can fly nonstop practically between any two points on the globe meaning that we can travel to any place in the world with an airport from Ottawa in less than 24 hours2Advances in transportation technology create unique geographies Commercial ships do not simply dock in any port along a nations coast Specific maritime centres have become primary ports of entry on continents And their position in global trade networks became increasingly entrenched as new shipping technologies have been introduced The introduction and adoption of container shipping has reinforced the importance of specific ports 3A global network of connected centres has emerged Cities that have become focal points of trade are often closer to each other in relative terms than those centres are with inland centres that were once their hinterlands because of transportation networksContainer technology as an exampleNew technologies and practices emerge from the hybridization of knowledge and the reconfiguration of existing technologies into new configurations Remember what I argued last week when introducing the framework of political economy that economics must be seen in the broad social political and cultural contexts of society And given the right conditions these new technologies can come to represent major turning points in history Today superships power global trade But its not just the ships that define the geography of trade The sophistication of product handling has reinforced the geography of maritime trade such as Long BeachLA Through these hubs maritime and ground infrastructure of linkedTrucking networks are now tied to shipping routes The first container facilities were developed in 1956 By the early 1970s container shipping had become the preferred means of shipping goods long distances Today it is really the only wayAdvent of container shipping reduced the time in ports and integrated further the various forms of transportationship rail and truck This form of shipping has also permitted a dramatic increase in ship speeds from 15 knots in the 1950s to more than 40 knots today It also has contributed to continuing declines in transportation costs Cheaper more efficient modes of transport have widened the reach of the marketboth in terms of sourcing the production of goods and in the delivery of goods to greater number of markets that were once inaccessibleThe global pattern of container ports reflects the shifting nature of the geography of production and trade Up to the 1980s the largest ports in North America were on the Atlantic coast and much of our trade as a continent was with Europe The worlds largest port at that time was Rotterdamthe gateway to Western Europe Today the worlds largest ports are found in AsiaSingapore and Hong Kong And in North America they are located on the Pacific coastLALong Beach Oakland Seattle and Vancouver
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