Descriptive, Scientific, Subjective, and Radical Images of the City
  • Peter Hall
Part of the Environment, Development, and Public Policy book series (EDPC)


Geographers disagree about many things, but on one point, they are unanimous: they study distributions on the earth’s surface. The dictionary definition is succinct: “to draw (i. e., describe) the earth.” Richard Hartshorne, one of the leading theorists of twentieth-century geography, had an extended definition: ”that discipline that seeks to describe and interpret the variable character from place to place as the home of man.”1 That means that human geographers study many phenomena that are identical with those studied by other social scientists. They analyze economies, societies, governmental systems, and states of mind. In doing so, they often use insights and concepts and techniques similar to—or even identical to—those used in these other disciplines. Their first question must always be: Where is this phenomenon to be found? Their second: Why is it found there? Economists and sociologists and political scientists, too, may ask these questions from time to time. But they are not central to these other social scientists’ work; to the work of geographers, they are.


Capitalist Society World City American Geographer Standard Metropolitan Statistical Area Central Place Theory 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1984

Authors and Affiliations

  • Peter Hall
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of City and Regional PlanningUniversity of CaliforniaBerkeleyUSA
  2. 2.Department of GeographyUniversity of ReadingReadingEngland

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