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

By Kevin R. Cox | Go to book overview

CHAPTER THIRTEEN
Space Filling

INTRODUCTION

To satisfy his diverse needs for food, shelter, recreation, lumber, etc., man must utilize the space around him in some way. In short, he must fill that space with his fields, highways, homes, parks, woodlands, and highways. It is in this land-use sense that we discuss space filling in this chapter.

That there is something here of analytical interest to the geographer can be grasped very quickly from a brief review of the recurrent geographical patterns of land use that we encounter in the real world. There are symmetries in the structuring of land use on the individual farm, for example, that involve the allocation of land close to the farm house to dairy pasture and the allocation of more distant fields to other uses such as arable cultivation. There are the metropolitan parks that surround most of the large American cities and the zone of nursery gardens and truck farming which is also frequently found on the metropolitan periphery.

Apart from such concentric patterns of land use there are also linear patterns. The linear patterns of industrial land use that lined the canals in the towns and cities of 19th-century England and the stores and retail services that provide so much ribbon development in contemporary cities are examples.

And finally, on a grander geographical scale there are land-use regions; large areas of a nation in which the land is or was devoted predominantly, in a readily apparent manner, to one particular type of use. In America, for example, we are familiar with the Dairy Belt of the Upper Great Lakes, the Corn Belt of the Midwest, the Wheat Belt of the Great Plains, and the Cotton Belt of the South. Such zones are also found elsewhere in the world: the French Dairy Belt is found in Normandy and is noted for its butter and Camembert, while to the southwest of Paris, in Beauce, is France's Wheat Belt.

Such zones of relatively homogeneous land use divide nations into a patchwork quilt of land uses that demands explanation. Within the city, residential land- use zones provide a similar challenge; why, for example, are certain parts of the city dominantly white middle class and why are some parts of the city just as stubbornly Negro slums?

In addition to the analytical interest of the space-filling problem, the human interest side of the coin should also be evident. In the management of his environment, man is perpetually faced with the problem of conflict between different land uses. It may be a conflict between

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