Lecture outline. Two stories of regret History of Geography What is Geography? Focus on its concern and analytical power to explore issues of equity Interest in scale Power of mapping to explore issues of equity. Can you give us some anonymous feedback please on the form?.
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The world is getting smaller and smaller. Is it? Well I've got no idea because I never studied geography at school and I've regretted it ever since.
Adam Spencer when he was the Triple J. Breakfast Announcer
As a young man my fondest dream was to become a geographer. However, while working in the customs office I thought deeply about the matter and concluded that it was far too difficult a subject. With some reluctance, I then turned to physics as a substitute.
Attributed to Albert Einstein (1879-1955)
(Pattison and Natoli 1997:21)
While it not possible to give one agreed definition of what Geography is, it is possible to list a variety of characteristics of what it is that Geographers do
“all of Plan A’s charms, economies, safeties and ingenuities were sacrificed to take sixty seconds off the average drive from home to the local shops … the selected plan also saved less trees, had less houses facing north so reducing the possibilities of solar orientated houses and the heaviest traffic flows past the school”
Ellsworth Huntington in “Principles of Human Geography”
The shift from environmental determinism to cultural determinism has resulted in the following changes in how human-environment relations have been seen
A good example is Piers Blaikie, 1985,
The political economy of soil erosion in developing countries, Longman,
Chapter 4, Why do policies usually fail
He discusses the recent “realisation that conservation is as much about social processes as physical ones, and the major constraints are not technical (in the agricultural engineering sense) is, but social.”
Cholera deaths in Soho, London, September 1854
“useful perspectives, including a focus on the link between the environmental and social sciences. A sensitivity to processes occurring at different scales, and the ability to provide conceptualized and comparative case studies”.
Geography matters because
1) “geographers have the technical knowledge, the practical experience and the ability to bring together the means of managing natural changes and their human impacts and to advise on the social process and fiscal instruments which will be necessary” p 346
2) “because we need to understand the complex interaction between many variables and to relate these to action on the ground and in the sea. The use of GIS and modelling, on which geographers are expert, will be essential tools.” P347
Croft finishes (p349-350) by describing the kinds of skills that geographers engaged in environmental issues need. He argues that we need to: