Friday, 4 January 2013

Everything is related to everything else...

That is Tobler's 1st Law of Geography

Do you know Carl Lee's19th Law of Geography (or indeed any of his first 18....)

Ben Hennig's blog provides more information on a film, which he made with Carl Lee, a lecturer in Geography at Sheffield College, and Professor Danny Dorling.

It looks at the impact of Higher Education on a city,  and was premiered at a special event in the city in September 2012.
You can watch the film here.



As Ben says:

The thinking behind this short film is to show that so much of what is studied in geography is part of a complex, evolving complexity. Individual ‘facts’ can be linked to other information to help build up a wider and better understanding of the world in which we live. Carl starts his new geography students off by suggesting that it is a ‘join the dots’ subject; all those snippets of information whirling around the world waiting to be connected in some way so a more complete understanding can be developed.
However one of the fundamental principles of geography is that ‘Everything is related to everything else (but near things are more related than distant things)’. This is known as Waldo Tobler’s first law of geography. It has been thought that globalisation and particularly the internet would lead to the ‘death of distance’, the ‘Flat World’ propounded by Thomas Friedman. Such thinking is an outright challenge to Tobler’s law. It is true that the distant can now be near; in Sheffield that is increasingly felt by the rapid growth in non-UK students studying in the city. We can Skype, surf and stumble our way through a more complex world than we ever imagined even a couple decades ago and all from our smart phones where-ever we are.
Perhaps more pertinently economic forces that develop far from Sheffield shape the city’s fortunes. Whether that is the Chinese savings that provided a significant amount of the initial capital to fuel the ballooning private debt that has led to Sheffield and the UK mired in economic recession at the present time. Or it may be demand for basic food stuffs from a growing and increasingly wealthy global population that is helping to drive up the price of many staple food in the UK.


Useful resource for exploring ideas of globalisation, networks, urban change and inequality.

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