Notable Geographers Theory Type Theory

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AP Human Geography Key Geography Concepts and Models

Notable Geographers

Theory Type


Importance of model

John Borchert


Stages of Evolution of Americans Metropolis based on Transportation

  1. Sail-Wagon 2. Iron horse 3. Steel Rail 4. Auto-Air 5. High Tech

Uses transportation advances as key to development of urban areas


Rural land use

Boserup Hypothesis- Stage 1 forest-fallow Stage 2 bush-fallow Stage 3 fallow shortens Stage 4 annual cropping Stage 5 multi-cropping from extensive to intensive

Formalized the transition from extensive subsistence forms of agriculture to more intensive cultivation- increased productivity counters loss of fertility

Lester Brown

Agriculture/ population

Ecological effects of increasing population on agriculture (rural land use)

Soil degradation- pressure to produce more leads to soil depletion

Ernest Burgess

Rural land use

Concentric Zone-grows out from CBD 5 zones, transition- industry/poor housing, stable working class, middle class, commuter zone, suburbs

Helps to determine use and value of land surrounding cities. Transportation has impacted model. Sociologist 1923

Judith Carney

Rural land use

Studied changing Agricultural practices in Gambia- as agriculture changed/progressed so did the culture, especially women

Manuel Castella/ Peter Hall

Industry/ Development

Technopoles-high technology locates near sites of higher education and agglomerate to utilize highly skilled workers

EX. Boston-M.I.T. and Harvard have attracted a lot of technology based industry

Walter Christaller

Rural/ urban land use

Central Place Theory- Urban hierarchy, range, threshold, low order goods, high order goods. Hexagon shapes-trade shapes

Spatial distribution of Hamlets, villages, towns and cities

Aharon Dogopolsky

Culture/ language

Nostratic language family is a proto-Indo-European language

Nostractic is where modern day Russian comes from. Used common Russian words like eyes, legs, feet, head to discover Nostratic

Clifford Geetz

Culture/ Religion

Culture is learned-agreed with Hoebel. How culture creates different patterns and landscapes

“The Interpretation of Culture”

Chauncey Harris /E L Ullman

Urban land use

Multiple nuclei model-modern cities develop with many nodes. Cities within cities

Richard Hartshome

Political/ environment

The evolution of boundaries

  1. Antecedent

  2. Superimposed

  3. Subsequent

  4. relict

Homer Hoyt


Sector model- sectors not rings, certain areas are more attractive-as city grows outward-beat housing corridor from CBD out, industry and retail develop in sectors along transportation routes

Refinement of concentric zone theory. Claimed represented social patterns of Chicago

Land economist-1939

E. Adamson Hoebel


Culture is a learned behavior. “Culture is wholly the result of social invention and is transmitted and maintained solely through communication and learning”

Ellsworth Huntington

Political/ Development

Environmental determinism-climate and terrain were a major determinant of civilization

Temperate climate of Europe led to greater human efficiency and better standards of living

Mark Jefferson


Every country has a Primate city. Rank size rule-2nd largest city is ½ the size of the primate city, 3rd largest city is 1/3 the size of the Primate city

“The Law of the Primate City”

Halford Mackinder


The heartland theory- Gro-political thought-explaisn why NATO and the WARSAW pact existed- Control of Western Europe

  1. Who rules E. Europe commands the heartland

  2. Who rules the Heartland commands the world island

  3. Who rules the world island commands the world

Thomas Malthus


Malthusian Theory-population growth relating to food supply. Food grows arithmetically population grows exponentially. Population checks

Neo Malthusians- Kaplan, Homer, Dixon look to Africa

Critics-Boserup, Kuznets, Simon, Engles- more people more growth, science will find a way, distribution of wealth

T.G. McGee

Urban/ Development

Land use in S.E. Asian cities. Old colonial port cities surrounded by new commercial districts with no formal CBD

EX: Manila, Jakarta, Kuala Lumpur

Friedrich Ratzel


Organic theory of nations-nations act like living organisms- must grow but eventually decline

E.G. Ravensten


Laws of Migration

  1. Economic reasons

  2. Migrants are male

  3. Long distance migrants head for big cities

W.W Rostow


Modernization model 5 stages of economic development

  1. Traditional society

  2. Pre-conditions to take off

  3. Take off

  4. Maturity

  5. Mass consumption

Carl Sauer


Cultural landscape- human activity superimposes itself on the physical landscape- each cultural group leaves imprints

“The Morphology of Landscape”

Ruth Leger Sivard

Women/men gap widens with economic progress. Men are first to try unhealthy habits of progress-smoke, drink ect

Women will catch up and lower life expectancy

Gideon Sjoberg


Cities are products of societies (4 stages)

  1. Folk-preliterate

  2. Feudal

  3. Pre-Industrial

  4. Urban i/industrial

John Snow


Epidemiologist (Medical geography) control of epidemics. Link between water supply and cholera. Mapped cholera deaths and location of water wells/pumps

Outbreak, Epidemic, Pandemic

Nicholas Spykman


Rimland theory- Eurasian rim not the heartland is/was the key to global power. Who controls the Rimland rules Eurasia. Who rules Eurasia controls the destinies of the world

“Geography of Place” videos

Heartland and Rimland

Vidal De la Blanche



Interaction-Humans have a wide range of potential actions within an environment- they respond based on their value systems, attitudes and culture attributes

“Principles of Human Geography” Culture determines a peoples response to the environment

Johann von Thunen

Rural land use

Agricultural theory (concentric circles)

  1. City center

  2. Market gardening

  3. Forest

  4. Grains

  5. Ranching

Distribution of agricultural activities around a city depends on bulk and perishability of products

Immanuel Wallerstein


Core Periphery model- Core-MDC- high socioeconomic level. Periphery-LDC-dependent on the core, supplier of raw materials and labor

EX: auto industry-clustered near Detroit- automakers, labor, supplier of car parts, transportation. Location depends on raw materials, markets and labor

Alfred Weber

Industry/ Development

Location of industry-Least cost theory

Agglomeration-people and activities concentrate in a location where they can share facilities and services

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