Chapter 3: North America (Fig. 1) North America

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Chapter 3:
(Fig. 3.1)

North America

  • Learning Objectives

  • Apply concepts of globalization to a familiar region

  • Understand the following concepts and models:


Setting the Boundaries

North America includes the U.S. and Canada

  • Sometimes called “Anglo America” because of ties to Britain, but North America is increasing its cultural diversity through globalization and immigration

  • Highly developed and wealthy

  • In Stage 4 of Demographic Transition

Environmental Geography: A Threatened Life of Plenty

The Costs of Human Modification

  • Transforming soils and vegetation

  • Introduction of new species (wheat, cattle, horses)

  • Settlers cut down forests

  • Grasslands converted to grain and forage crops

  • Managing Water

  • City dwellers use 170 gal/person/day

  • Agriculture/industrial users average 1,500 gal/person/day

  • Quality and quantity of water are both problems

  • Clean Water Act in U.S; Green Plan in Canada
  • Altering the Atmosphere

  • Urban activities raise city temperatures above nearby rural temperatures

  • Air pollution from factories, utilities, and vehicles

  • Acid rain occurs when airborne pollutants (sulfur & nitrogen) mix in chemical reaction to make acidic precipitation; originates in industrial areas, falls as rain & snow; travels via wind across the continent

Issues in
North America
(Fig. 3.4)

  • The Price of Affluence

  • North Americans use almost twice as much energy per capita as the Japanese and more than 16 times that of people in India

  • Patterns of Climate and Vegetation

  • Great variation in climate and vegetation because of latitudinal range, varied terrain (altitude) and oceans

  • Maritime climates in coastal zones (moderated temperatures)

  • Continental climate in the interior (great temperature range)

  • Frequent winds, including tornadoes

Environmental Geography: A Threatened Life of Plenty

A Diverse Physical Setting

(Fig. 3.9)

Population and Settlement:
Reshaping a Continental Landscape

Modern Spatial and Demographic Patterns

Population and Settlement: Reshaping a Continental Landscape

  • Occupying the Land

  • Indigenous people in N.A. for 12,000 years

  • Europeans arrived 400 years ago

  • European diseases and disruptions reduced Native American populations by 90% in some areas

Population and Settlement: Reshaping a Continental Landscape

  • Occupying the Land

  • European Settlement Expansion (fig 3.11)

  • North America on the Move

  • Westward-Moving Populations

  • North America on the Move

  • Black Exodus from the South

  • 1900: more than 90% of African-Americans in the South

  • Movement North for jobs during and after WWII

  • Rural to Urban Migration

  • More than 75% of North Americans live in cities

  • North America on the Move

  • Growth of the Sunbelt South

  • Fastest growing region since 1970, with some states growing by 20% (GA, FL, TX, NC)

  • The Counterurbanization Trend

  • Since 1970 people have moved to smaller cities and rural areas to avoid perceived problems of urban life

  • Lifestyle migrants: seeking amenities

Growth of the
American City
(Fig. 3.15)

  • Reconfigured land use

  • Concentric Zone Model: Urban land uses organized in rings around the Central Business District

  • Urban realms model or Edge Cities: New suburbs with a mix of retail, office complexes & entertainment

  • Change in cities:

  • People and investment flee city for suburbs

  • Poverty, crime, racial tension in cities

  • Gentrification:

  • Movement of wealthier people to deteriorated inner-city areas; may displace low income residents

  • Suburban downtowns:

  • Similar to edge cities; suburbs becoming full-service urban centers with retail, business, education, jobs, etc.

Settlement Geographies: Rural North America

  • North Americans historically favored a dispersed rural settlement pattern

  • Township-and-range survey system: Rectangular survey system introduced in 1785 in U.S. for unincorporated areas; similar system in Canada
  • Railroads opened interior to settlement

  • Today, many rural areas are experiencing population declines, as family farms are replaced by corporate farms

Cultural Coherence and Diversity:
Shifting Patterns of Pluralism

  • The Roots of a Cultural Identity

  • Early dominance of British culture, then Consumer Culture after 1920 provided common experience

  • Ethnicity – group of people with a common background & history identify with one another (often as a minority group in larger society); both Canada & U.S. have many minorities

  • Peopling North America

  • Cultural assimilation – the process in which immigrants are absorbed by the larger host society

Cultural Coherence and Diversity (cont.)

  • Peopling North America (cont.)

  • Migration to the U.S.

Cultural Coherence and Diversity (cont.)

  • Peopling North America (cont.)

  • The Canadian Pattern

  • Similar to U.S., but with larger French presence

  • Today, 16% in Canada are foreign-born

  • Culture and Place in North America

  • Persisting Cultural Homelands: French-Canadian Quebec; Hispanic Borderlands; African-Americans in the “Black Belt;” Cajuns in Southern Louisiana; Native American Reservations

Cultural Coherence and Diversity (cont.)

  • The Globalization of American Culture

  • North Americans: Living Globally

  • Many international tourists, students in the region

  • The Global Diffusion of U.S. Culture

Geopolitical Framework: Patterns of Dominance and Division

  • Creating Political Space

  • U.S. broke cleanly, violently from Great Britain; Canada separated peacefully

  • U.S. purchased and conquered new lands

  • Provinces of Great Britain joined Canada

  • Continental Neighborhoods

  • Long boundary between U.S. and Canada

  • Many cross-boundary issues
  • Water resources, transportation, environmental quality
  • North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA)

Geopolitical Issues in North America (Fig. 3.27)

Geopolitical Framework (cont.)

  • The Legacy of Federalism

  • Federal states: those that allocate considerable power below the national level

  • Unitary states: those with centralized power at national level

  • Quebec’s Challenge

  • French-speakers consider secession from Canada

  • Native Peoples and National Politics

  • In the U.S., Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act (1975) and the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (1988)

  • In Canada, Native Claims Office (1975) and Nunavut Territory (1999)

Geopolitical Framework (cont.)

  • A Global Reach

  • U.S.’s geopolitical reach is beyond our borders

  • Monroe Doctrine (1824) asserted U.S. rights in Western Hemisphere
  • WWII and Truman Doctrine gave U.S. wider world role
  • North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), Organization of American States (OAS)
  • Other international involvement: Korea (1950–1953); Vietnam (1961–1973); Afghanistan and Iraq

Economic and Social Development: Geographies of Abundance and Affluence

  • North America has the world’s most powerful economy and its wealthiest population

  • An Abundant Resource Base

  • Direct extraction of natural resources makes up 3% of U.S. economy, and 6% of Canadian economy

  • Opportunities for Agriculture

  • Highly mechanized and productive

  • Agriculture employs 2.4% of U.S., and 3.3% of Canadian labor force

  • Geography of farming in North America determined by (1)diverse environments; (2)continental & global markets for food; (3)historical patterns of settlement & agriculture

Economic and Social Development (cont.)

  • An Abundant Resource Base (cont.)

  • Industrial Raw Materials

  • North America has abundant resources, but still imports raw materials

  • U.S. produces 12% of world’s oil, consumes 25%

  • Creating a Continental Economy

  • Connectivity and Economic Growth

  • Connectivity fosters economic growth

  • Connectivity: how well regions are linked together by transportation and communication

Economic and Social Development (cont.)

  • Creating a Continental Economy

  • The Sectoral Transformation

  • Sectoral transformation: the evolution of the nation’s labor force from primary sector activities to secondary, tertiary and quaternary activities

  • Primary: natural resource extraction; Secondary: manufacturing/industrial; Tertiary: services; Quaternary: information processing
  • Today, tertiary and quaternary activities employ more than 70% of the U.S. and Canadian labor force

Economic and Social Development (cont.)

  • Creating a Continental Economy (cont.)

  • Regional Economic Patterns

  • Location factors: the varied influences that explain why an economic activity is located where it is

Economic and Social Development (cont.)

  • North America and the Global Economy

  • North America plays a pivotal role in the global economy

  • Spurred the creation of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Bank, and the World Trade Organization (WTO)

  • U.S. and Canada members of Group of Eight (G-8)

  • Eight powerful countries that regularly confer on world political and economic issues (with Japan, Germany, Great Britain, France, Italy, Russia)
  • Patterns of Trade

  • North America is prominent in both the sale and purchase of goods and services in international economy

Economic and Social Development (cont.)

  • North America and the Global Economy (cont.)

  • Doing Business Globally

  • Foreign capital comes to North America as investments in North American stocks and bonds and as foreign direct investment (FDI)

  • Many U.S. firms have established businesses abroad

  • U.S. pension dollars invested in Japan, Europe

Economic and Social Development (cont.)

  • Persisting Social Issues

  • Wealth and Poverty

  • Strong contrasts among communities and ethnicities

  • Black household incomes are 62% of the national average and Hispanic incomes are 71% of the national average
  • Regional contrasts

  • In U.S., Northeast and West are richest regions
  • In Canada, Ontario and B.C. are wealthiest
  • North American poverty rates have fallen

  • Problems still remain in rural and inner city areas
  • Digital divide: region’s poor and underprivileged have less access to Internet connections

Economic and Social Development (cont.)

  • Persisting Social Issues (cont.)

  • Twenty-First Century Challenges

  • U.S. and Canada’s social indicators compare favorably, but concerns persist

  • Jobs, education
  • Health care, chronic disease & aging
  • Gender gap
  • Conclusions

  • North America enjoys abundance, but must work with diverse populations to address challenges

Directory: ~sg4002 -> courses -> 150
150 -> Chapter 7: Southwest Asia and North Africa (Fig. 1) Learning Objectives
150 -> Chapter 5: The Caribbean (Fig. 1) Learning Objectives
150 -> Chapter 12: South Asia (Fig. 12. 1) Learning Objectives
150 -> Chapter 11: East Asia (Fig. 11. 1) Learning Objectives
150 -> Learning Objectives Understand framework for studying world regional geography
150 -> Chapter 6: Sub- saharan Africa (Fig. 1) Learning Objectives
150 -> Learning Objectives Integrate foundation concepts with a relatively unfamiliar region, and compare regions
150 -> Learning Objectives Learn about the historical role of Europe in global colonialism and in the Industrial Revolution
150 -> Chapter 14: Australia and Oceania (Fig. 14. 1) Learning Objectives
150 -> Chapter 9 The Russian Domain (Fig. 1) Learning Objectives

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