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friction of distance


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As the distance from a point increases, the interactions with that point decrease, usually because the time and costs involved increase with distance. Distance need not be reckoned solely in spatial terms; the frictional effect of distance ‘on the ground’ is far less in a lowland area with good communications than in an upland area of difficult terrain, but has slackened with improvements in transport and communications. ‘Human activities tend to organize with respect to geographic location due to the friction of distance and the consequent competition for advantageous location…Influencing the relationships between people, place, and activity are the technologies to mitigate the friction of distance’ (Miller (2007) Geog. Compass 1, 3). Ellegård and Vilhelmson (2004) Geografiska A 86, 4 argue that geographical immobility and proximity in everyday life indicate ‘the continuing and often neglected importance of the friction of distance’.

Subjects: Earth Sciences and Geography.


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