Geography 1400F/G Study Guide - Midterm Guide: Effective Demand, Distance Decay, Cultural Landscape

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Introduction to Human Geography
Lecture 1
What is Geography?
From Greek words geo (“earth”) and graphei (“to write”)
Evidently Geography means “Description of the Earth
Hence “geography” is often referred to as the Spatial Science
o Study of spatial variation (of how…and why?) physical and cultural items differ across the earth
o How observable spatial patterns evolved through time
Basic concerns of geography
o Spatial patterns description (what?)
o Spatial processes explanation (why?)
o Spatial meaning interpretation (so what?)
Key geographic principle:
Things everywhere are not the same”
What is Human Geography?
Human geography studies the distribution of humans and their activities on the surface of the earth
and the processes that generate these distributions
“What is where, why there, and why care”
Focus on…
What are human beings?
Dynamic we change
Information processors we take in information and process it
Decision makers we make decisions on key issues
Preference makers we have preferences on certain things
Creative/destructive force
Part of the environment
In general…people are “active agents shaping the environment”
What is a place?
Physical site materials located in space (i.e. “material space”)
Sense of place immaterial meanings attributed to physical sits (i.e. “immaterial” or “mental space”)
Sense of place” is created through:
o Direct personal experience and observation
o Secondary sources (ex: media, talk, etc.)
o Intrinsic characteristics of the site itself (ex: Grand Canyon, Eiffel Tower, etc.)
Why Places Matter?
Places matter because they…
Are the setting for our daily lives
Carry meaning and so influence our lives
Allow us to express ourselves
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Help to form personal and group identities
Express political, economic, or religious ideas
What is a landscape?
Scape representation or view of
Land “environment: that which sustains and surrounds us
Human landscape arrangement in physical space of human-made artifacts and activities
Some aspects of landscape:
Evolution of the Discipline
Ancient period
o Eratosthenes
o Strabo
o Herodotus
o Ptolemy
o Idrisi
Non-Western Contributions
Modern Period
European Traditions
Development in Canada
Human-Environment Interaction
o Environmental determinism
o Possibilism
o Probabilism
Evolution from Quantitative to Feminist and Radical approaches
Core Geographic Concepts
The Geographer’s Questions
Space and place
o Absolute (exact location/anything you can measure) and relative (something related to
another thing: east/west of somewhere) space
o Sense of “place” and “placelessness”
Spatial behavior, relationship, and processes
Fundamental characteristics of places
o Absolution location (latitude/longitude)
o Relative location (spatial interconnection)
o Site vs. situation
Absolute location
o The identification of place by some precise and accepted system of coordinates
Relative location
o The position of a place in relation to that of other places or activities
o Expresses spatial interconnection and interdependence (may carry social and economic
o An absolute location concept
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o Refers to the physical and cultural characteristics and attributes of the place itself
o Tells us something about the internal features of that place (climate, soils, water sources,
vegetation, elevation, latitude, longitude)
o Refers to the external relations of a locale and provides insight into the importance of a place
Absolute direction
o Based on cardinal points: north, south, east, west
Relative or relational direction
o Ex: “go west” or “out west”
o Ex: “competition from the far Eastern countries”
Absolute distance
o Spatial separation between two points on the earth’s surface measure by accepted units (ex: km)
Relative distance
o Transforms linear measurements into other units more meaningful for space relationship
Changing attributes of place
Interrelations between places
o Accessibility and connectivity
o Spatial diffusion and globalization
The rational structure of place
o Density
o Dispersion
o Pattern
Size & Scale
A human construct and operates on a continuum from local to global
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
It is a feature of every map and essential to recognizing the areal meaning of what is shown on that map
Implies the degree of generalization represented
Physical & Cultural Attributes
Gives places character, potential, and meaning (every place has them)
Physical characteristics:
Natural aspects of a locale climate and soil, the presence or absence of water supplies and mineral
resources, its terrain features
These natural landscape attributes provide the setting within which human action occurs and help
shape how people live
Cultural landscape:
The visible expression of human activity
Interrelations Between Places
Places interact with other places in structured and comprehensible ways
Tobler’s First Law of Geography everything is related to everything else but that relationships are
stronger when items are near one another (interaction between places diminishes in intensity and
frequency as distance between them increases i.e. distance decay)
Must think about accessibility
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