Man, Location, and Behavior: An Introduction to Human Geography

By Kevin R. Cox | Go to book overview

Preface

As a graduate student and teacher in geography during the past decade I have been impressed with the profound changes that have overtaken the discipline and the relevance of those changes for undergraduate teaching. And yet, as a teacher I found it increasingly difficult to locate textual materials that adequately reflected that revolution in terms readily understandable to the beginning undergraduate student in geography. This textbook is the offspring of my necessity and, hopefully, of the necessity of others.

The book simplifies the essential ingredients of an explicitly scientific human geography to the point at which they can be readily understood by the beginning student. It reflects, therefore, the conceptual rather than the technical advances of the past ten to fifteen years; the revolution in geography has, after all, been as much one of concept as it has been one of quantitative technique. Since these conceptual advances have included generality in description, the book stresses the general concept of spatial pattern or locational predictability. More recently, geographers have become aware of the need to examine pattern in terms of its dynamics. This is a view to which I subscribe, and it is apparent in my concern in this book with the spatial dynamics of migration fields, communication networks, land-use patterns, and the like.

In an explanatory mode, geographers have emphasized, more and more, the roles of movement and human decision. The large body of work dealing with spatial interaction has consequently been drawn upon; also I have used the more recent but rapidly expanding body of work in so-called behavioral geography. Concepts such as "information flow" and "mental map" have the capability of remedying much of the inadequacy apparent in many explanations provided by introductory human geography textbooks. The emphasis on the role of human behavior in producing spatial patterns is evident in the title of this book.

In addition to developing geography as an abstract field of study by the formulation of general laws of location, it is also important that geographers apply this expanding body of knowledge to an understanding of the human problems that are too readily apparent in the world around us. Problems of economic development and of the contemporary city have a locational dimension that is useful not only in characterization but also in explanation. This spatial interpretation of real-world human problems is made evident in separate chapters of this book dealing with the urban crisis, economic development, and the quality of the environment.

With respect to the use of this book, two prefatory comments seem warranted. First, the reader will find very few citations to the literature in the body of the textbook.

-v-

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