Geography 1400F/G Midterm: Geography 1400 Midterm Notes

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Published on 29 Aug 2016
School
Western University
Department
Geography
Course
Geography 1400F/G
Professor
Geography 1400 Midterm Notes
Lecture 1
There are two definitions of geography:
oHuman geography: human activities related to the land, how humans interact
with the world
oPhysical geography
What is Geography?
The roots of the word ‘Geography’ are Greek
o“Geo” means ‘the world’
o“Graphei” mean ‘to write’
Evidently geography means “description about the world” or “writing about the world”
Basic concerns of geography
oSpatial patterns—description (what?), what is where?
E.g. what kind of people live in Canada vs. India?
oSpatial processes—explanation (why?)
E.g. why do people live in Toronto vs. London?
oSpatial meaning—interpretation (so what?) what can we do about it?
The Study of Geography
Three themes central to any study of the humans and world:
oRelations between humans and land
oRegionalization
oSpatial analysis
Key geographic principle: “Everywhere is different”
Humans and Land
The human world is the ever-changing product of the activities of human beings to
modify the pre-existing physical conditions of the earth
oAs individuals and as group members working within human and institutional
frameworks (i.e. communities, governments)
Human geographers often focus on the evolution of the human world with reference to
people, their cultures, and physical environments
As human geographers, we are interested in landscape both for what it is and for what it
means to live in it
Regional Studies
To facilitate the task of writing about the world, human geographers often divide large
areas into smaller areas that exhibit a degree of unity
oReferred to as regions
oBuilding on a long tradition, contemporary human geography considers regions
at a wide range of scales—from local to global
oIn acknowledging the relevance of different spatial scales of analysis, human
geography reveals the importance of place in all aspects of our lives
Spatial Analysis
Understanding the human world requires that we explain location (why things are
where they are)
Typically a geographer uses a spatial analysis approach to tackle this question through:
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oTheory construction
oModels
oHypothesis testing
oUsing quantitative methods
Primary goal is to explain locational regularities
Secondary goal is often of identifying alternative locational patterns that might be more
efficient or more equitable
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
**Definition: “What is where, why there, and why care”
The Goal of Human Geography
Writing about the human world to increase our understanding of it
‘People’? What are Human Beings?
Dynamic (change from time to time)
Information processors
Decision makers
Preference makers
Adapters
Creative/destructive force
Part of the environment
In general, people are “active agents shaping the environment”
‘Places’?
What is a place?
oPhysical site of location—an object located in space
oAlso includes the values that we associate with that location
“sense of place”
oPlaces have identities (e.g. home, neighbourhood, country)
oPlace is not about where we live but rather about how we live where we live
‘Sense of place’ created through:
oDirect personal experience and observation
oSecondary sources (e.g. media, talk, etc.)
oIntrinsic characteristics of the site itself
Why Places Matter?
Places matter because they:
oAre the setting for our daily lives
oCarry meaning and so influence our lives
oAllow us to express ourselves
oHelp to form personal and group identities
oExpress political, economic or religious ideas
‘Landscape’?
What is a landscape?
oScape: representation or view of
oLand: ‘environment’ that which sustains and surrounds us
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oHuman landscape: arrangement in physical space of human-made artifacts and
activities
What are some of the aspects of landscape?
oBuildings
oCrops
oInfrastructure
oRocks, trees, soil?
Many ways of viewing or ‘scaping’
oA ‘land’ or ‘environment’
oE.g. nature, problem, history, habitat, wealth/resources, system
Summary
Human geography is the study of complex interplay between people, places, and
landscapes
We study “what is where, why there, and why care”
The goal of human geography is to write about the human world to increase our
understanding of it
Lecture 2
Which Concepts Structure Geographers’ Research Activity?
Human geography involves two basic endeavours:
oNeed to establish facts (geographic literacy)
oNeed to understand and explain the facts (geographic knowledge)
How and why?
Geographic Concepts
Space: areal extent
oAbsolute (objective): heart of mapmaking and spatial analysis
E.g. Western Campus (50 acres within the city of London)
Area dimension
Doesn’t change, is a fixed space
oRelative (perceptual): socially-produced and subject to change
E.g. one would describe Western as very attractive
How would you describe a place
Can change from time to time
Location: refers to a particular position within space, usually a position on the earth’s
surface
oA fixed spot
oAbsolute location
Latitude: 43 00’ 31”
Longitude: 81 16’ 30”
oRelative location
“behind the stairs in UCC”
“is near my other classes”
Site vs. Situation
Site: refers to the physical and cultural characteristics and attributes of the place itself
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