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

By Kevin R. Cox | Go to book overview

CONCLUSIONS AND SUMMARY

This chapter has attempted to provide an explanation for a wide variety of movement patterns. Some of these -- for instance, distance bias, direction bias, and spheres of influence -- were identified in Chapter Two.

Explanation of such geographical patterns of movement has been in terms of three factors: the attractiveness of locations for a specific purpose; the cost of moving to those different locations; and the locational arrangement of those more or less attractive locations. We have termed the set of attractive locations the movement opportunities.

For a place to be attractive it must have something of value to the instigator of the movement. Students of different types of movement have developed their own terms for the concept of attractiveness: students of commodity movements tend to think in terms of complementarity, rather than attractiveness, while students of migration use the concept of place utility.

Movement costs are important because they can detract from the value of the item -- a retail good, a pleasant vacation, or a job obtained at the attractive location. An important concept here is that of transferability, usually applied to commodity flows: if the cost of getting to a location to consume a net reward or transferring the net reward available at a location to your location in order to consume it is greater than the value of the net reward, then the net reward is not transferable. Also associated with this concept is that of trade-off between attractiveness and movement costs by which less attractive opportunities incurring lower movement costs are substituted for more attractive opportunities associated with higher costs of movement.

Movement costs may not only be monetary, however. We can also think in terms of such components of movement cost as opportunity cost -- the cost of foregoing rewarding activities when moving. The concept of movement costs is frequently referred to as the friction of distance factor on the assumption that movement costs will be lower to closer, less distant movement opportunities. This assumption is not completely valid because the relationship between geographical distance and movement cost is rather complex. In particular, we have shown how freight rates per unit distance frequently decrease with increasing distance moved; how freight rates are often grouped into zones; how rates may differ in one direction as compared with the reverse direction; and how under certain circumstances movement costs may actually increase with increasing distance. Men move in a movement cost space, therefore, which is not the same as the geographical space defined purely in terms of distances.

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