Order in space

Ron Johnston

in A Century of British Geography

Published by British Academy

Published in print September 2003 | ISBN: 9780197262863
Published online February 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191734076 | DOI:

Series: British Academy Centenary Monographs

Order in space

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The 1960s saw a series of major changes in geographical practice in Britain, which interacted with similar changes in North America, where they started in the mid-1950s. To some, these constituted a ‘conceptual revolution’, creating a ‘new geography’. Others argued that evolution better described the changes. Whether revolution or evolution, however, the changes were substantial. The ‘revolution’ comprised several interrelated components: a concern for scientific rigour; an argument that quantitative methods formed a necessary component of this more rigorous approach to the portrayal and analysis of geographic information; a claim that human geographers should focus on searching for spatial order in the patterning of human activities, rather than on definition of regions characterised by their uniqueness; a desire that human geographers' work should be applied to a wide range of ‘real-world’ problems. This chapter deals with geography, functional regions and spatial order as well as spatial pattern and spatial behaviour, spatial statistics and the epistemology of spatial analysis.

Keywords: Britain; geography; spatial order; functional regions; spatial pattern; spatial behaviour; spatial statistics; epistemology; spatial analysis

Chapter.  18589 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Population and Demography

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