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

By Kevin R. Cox | Go to book overview

CHAPTER THREE

The Bases of Movement

INTRODUCTION

Thus far in our treatment of movement we have discussed the geometry of flows: the distance and direction biases, for example, which characterize a wide range of movements including migration, shopping trips, and commodity flows. These descriptive regularities raise an analytical question. Precisely why do we get these real world configurations? Is there any simple body of economical and consistent ideas that can be applied to this task of explanation? It is our belief that indeed there is, and these ideas form the focus of this chapter.

We shall start out by considering the factors which affect movement in a fairly abstract manner, and we shall show how these abstract concepts can be applied to produce the locational configurations of movement observed and described in Chapter Two. We shall then consider each of the factors in greater detail, identifying the explanatory richness of the concepts and the factors to which they themselves respond before they exert their effects on the pattern of movement. In the next chapter, we shall apply these ideas to two case studies of movement: commodity flow and migration. Taking this chapter and the next together, therefore, we shall move from more abstract considerations to more substantive applications. Close attention to this chapter will be more than amply repaid with the clarifications of real world movement patterns in the chapter to follow.


THE BASES OF MOVEMENT: AN ABSTRACT CONSIDERATION

Movement patterns are instigated by people who decide from a range of possible destinations or movement opportunities where to shop, where to go to school, where to work, and the like. As a first approximation, individual movement decisions can be seen as a function of two considerations: (1) the attractiveness of particular destinations or movement opportunities, and (2) the costs of movement to these particular opportunities. Thus in the evaluation of movement opportunities, people tend to consider both the rewards they obtain from a particular movement opportunity, such as a store, and the costs involved in getting there.

When aggregated and mapped, the movements resulting from such individual movement decisions provide a movement pattern to be explained. In explaining movement patterns as opposed to the movement decisions of individuals, an additional consideration is that the choices are carried out in an environment of movement opportunities that are

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