Geography Notes – Sept/12
- Regional identity – Is a persons’ association with a place or region and their sense of belonging to a
collectivity. Living, working, and sharing together in a common space inevitably leads to the formation of a
- Regional consciousness – Is the identification and feeling of belonging to a place or region, and the
willingness to advocate for regional interests.
- Regional self-interest – Is an outcome of regional identity and regional consciousness. It is the aspirations,
concerns, and interests of people living in a region and acted on by local politicians. These efforts are
sometimes designed to improve the prospects of their region at the expense of other regions. Regional self-
interest often results in conflict between the provincial and federal governments.
- Sense of place – The special feelings that people have for the area where they live. It is a powerful bond
between people and their region. It is cultural. It is a sense of identity or belonging tied to a particular
geographical place or region. It can stem from the natural environment (common scenery such as coastline
or mountains), shared common experience (surviving/adapting to a harsh or unique environment, perhaps
over generations), or a common political/historical experience (settlement by people of a certain
ethnicity/culture). It generates a strong local culture. Placelessness is the opposite of sense of place.
- Power of place – Is linked to globalization and the global economy. It is the economic, political, and cultural
power of a particular place that is derived from geographical attributes related to its location and from the
extent to which this power is used by the people that live there. Economic power derives from a region’s
resource wealth and geographic location combined with global economic trends. Power of place is
contributing to a changing geographic balance of power in Canada (shift in economic power from ON to AB).
Growing resource demands from the developing world (China, India) will lead to higher resource prices,
which will lead to growing economic power for AB, BC, and SK – Canada’s resource rich provinces (oil, coal).
Over time, world prices rise and fall according to demand. World prices have favoured manufactured goods
(core) over resources (periphery). Because of the recent economic problems, resource prices declined, but
not a lot because there was still demand from China and India. If this trend continues, Canada’s economic
power may shift westward.
- Super cycle theory – Demand will outstrip supply and thus keep prices high. In a global economic downturn,
demand from industrializing countries will keep price declines to a minimum.
- Regional geography – Is the geographic study of a particular part of the world. It looks at the interaction
between people and their economic, social, and physical environments, and allows for better understanding
of human society and interconnectivity.
- Region – Is an area of the earth’s surface that is defined by its distinctive human and/or natural
characteristics. There is an emphasis on humans because the physical environment is mediated through
culture, economy, and technology. Regions can be physical or cultural (language, average income). All
regions have boundaries and these are called transition zones. This means that at the boundary of two regions, the characteristics of each region become less distinct and they merge together, creating transition
zones. An example is the tree line in Canada. A characteristic of regions is hierarchy – there can be regions
within regions. An example – The city of London is found within Middlesex County, which is found within
Southwestern Ontario. Regions are human constructs, so there can be an infinite number of regions. The
number is limited only by our ability to design sets of regions. Regions can be formal or functional. Formal
regions are those based on uniformity and an example is French speaking regions of Canada. But it can be
difficult to define those areas which are French speaking. Uniformity can be the presence or absence of a
characteristic (example – desert regions lack water). A formal region is where all parts of the region share
the same characteristic. In a functional region, different parts of the region are related and interact together.
The interaction can be from the centre outward (example – distribution of newspaper).
- Regionalism divides countries into different natural/political/cultural parts. Regionalism has a powerful
influence over Canadian affairs and there are many factors why Canada is not a more homogeneous state
like the US: – Canada’s vast geographic size and physical geography create natural regional divisions. –
Continentalism and the physiographic regions promote internal divisions within Canada. – Each region
experienced a different pattern of historic settlement and relationship with Aboriginals, and this created
distinct cultures. The recent immigration of people has created a pluralistic society (visible minority), which
is where small groups within the larger society are allowed to maintain their unique cultural identities. –
Quebec provides a cornerstone in Canada’s regional identity. – The BNA has created political regionalism in
Canada by giving power to provinces. – Canada’s uneven population distribution and economic activities
concentrate power in Central Canada. – Federal government policies and programs impact mostly heavily
populated areas (Central Canada). This has to do with the concept of corporate and political elite, which says
that corporate and political leaders hold all the power and they do things for their own economic gain.
- Canada is made up of 6 regions: Ontario, Quebec, British Columbia, Western Canada (MB, SK, AB), Atlantic
Canada, Territorial North. Why regionalize and why these regions?: – Canada is so big that it needs to be
divided into manageable sections. – These regions have also been divided based on their geographic size,
economic importance, and population size. – These regions are commonly used by media and scholars. –
These regions have identifiable and distinctive physical features. – The breakdown of these regions is on a
provincial basis to help with the use of statistics (census material). – Geographic location and historical
development distinguish each region. – These regions are also divided based on the key economic activity
found there: Ontario (car manufacturing), Quebec (hydroelectric power), BC (forest industry), Western
Canada (agriculture), Atlantic Canada (fisheries), Territorial North (megaprojects).
- Function regional framework: There are the core/periphery or heartland/hinterland models. Core and
heartland are the same thing and periphery and hinterland are the same thing. This model can exist at
different scales – global, regional, local. The core or heartland is the industrial centre, and the periphery or
hinterland is the supplier of natural resources. The core in Canada is Southern Ontario and Southern
Quebec. Everything else is the periphery. The term main street was coined by geographer Maurice Yates,
and it signifies the 300 mile wide band between Windsor and Quebec City (Windsor-Quebec axis). Included
in the periphery are the upward transitional region (western Canada), the downward transitional region
(Atlantic Canada), and the resource frontier (territorial north).
- The economic sectors are primary (resource extracting and harvesting), secondary (manufacturing,
construction), and tertiary (services). ON and QC have more workers in the secondary sectors than any
other province. - Definition of core/periphery: The core is involved in manufacturing and industry. It is geographically
relatively small and is relatively urban. It has a diverse economy (all sectors are represented). It receives
raw materials from the periphery. It is involved in decision-making and has corporate headquarters. It has
factors of production (capital, money, finance) and it is densely populated. The periphery is the primary
sector (primary resources). It is geographically relatively large and is relatively rural. It is resource-based
(mining, fishing). It purchases finished goods from the core, it receives decisions from the core, and it
receives factors of production. It is sparsely populated. The core and periphery are dependent on each other
(reciprocal relationship). Traditionally, away from the core, regional disparity increases (ex. economic
disadvantage changes), average income decreases, and unemployment increases. But since the 1980s, these
regularities or norms have started to change. Ontario is sometimes now on the receiving end instead of the
giving end. Canada’s six regions can change their position within this model.
- Is there m