Chapter 1 Notes – Spatial accessibility, landscape, sense of place, interdependency, geographic

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Subject: AP Human Geography

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Spatial Accessibility:

● The fundamentals of spatial accessibility can be broken down into 4

aspects: complementarity, transferability, intervening opportunities, and


● Complementarity: For any time of spatial interaction to occur, there must be a

demand in one place and a supply that matches, or complements in the other.

This complementarity can be the result of several factors.

● One factor is the variation in the physical environment. For example climatic


● Example: the flow of crude oil from Saudi Arabia (with a lot of oil) to Japan (with

no oil) is a function of complementarity in natural resource endowments.

● The second factor is the international division of labor that derives from the

evolution of the world’s economic systems.

● Because of colonialism, imperialism, and sheer economic dominance of

developed countries, less powerful countries have found their economies that

directly complement the economies of the developed countries.

● Ex: shipment of sugar from Barbados to the United Kingdom, bananas from

Costa Rica to the United States.

● The third factor is the operation of principles of specialization and

economies of scale.

● Economies of scale are cost advantages to manufacturers that benefit from

high-volume production since the average cost of production falls with increasing


● This doesn’t work with fixed-costs though. For example, rent or buying space.

Because it is the same no matter how much is being produced.

● Economic specialiazation results in complementaries.

● Transferability: this depends on the frictional or deterrent effects of distance.

● Transferability is a function of two things: the cost of moving a particular item,

measured in real money or time, and the ability to bear these costs.

● For example, if the cost of moving a product from one place to the other is too

expensive to sell successfully at its destination. Then the product does not have


● Transferability varies between places, between kinds of items, and between

modes of transportation and communication.

● Also, varies over time. Successful innovations in transport and communication

technology and successive waves of infrastructure development (canals,

railways, roads, and bridges) alter the geography of transport costs.

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