AUSTRALIAN CURRICULUM GEOGRAPHY GLOSSARY
That is the result of sustained direct human interactions with ecosystems.
The atmospheric, biological, chemical and physical processes that take place in the lithosphere, hydrosphere, atmosphere and biosphere. They can be further broken down, for example, soil- forming processes, mass wasting, cloud-forming processes, fluvial processes, marine processes, glacial processes and biogeochemical cycling.
The concept of change involves both time and space. Geographical phenomena are constantly changing, and can often be best understood by investigating how they have developed over time periods ranging from a few years to thousands of years. This is important in helping learners to understand what is happening around them and to see their world as dynamic.
The increasing integration of the different cultures found throughout the world and the diffusion of a dominant ‘global culture’. It can be argued that the hybridisation of cultures is an outcome of the process.
An outcome of the reduction or elimination of the barriers to the flow of goods, services and factors of production between nations. The stated aims of economic integration are to reduce costs incurred by consumers and producers, and to increase trade between countries.
An enterprise is an activity that produces goods and/or services. Enterprises are run for the benefit of an individual or a group of individuals. They can range in scale from a transnational corporation to home-based economic activities.
The term ‘environment’, where unqualified, means the living and non-living elements of the earth’s surface and atmosphere. It includes human changes to the earth’s surface, for example, croplands, planted forests, buildings and roads.
Fieldwork is an integral part of geographical learning. It provides a planned opportunity for learners to engage with the environment – to observe and investigate in the ‘real world’ the geographical phenomena, issues and processes studied in the classroom. It also enables learners to explore different perspectives or points of view on important geographical issues. There are multiple approaches to fieldwork ranging from the observational to the fully participatory. Fieldwork can be undertaken in a range of settings including school grounds. It includes ‘virtual fieldwork’ – the use of the Internet to virtually visit a site and engage in a guided geographical inquiry. A virtual field trip gives learners the opportunity to investigate geographical phenomena not normally accessible due to distance or cost.
Geographical inquiry methodologies
An approach to the study focused on the development of a wide variety of skills such as observing, reading, gathering, organising, preparing, presenting, analysing, interpreting and synthesising geographic information from a variety of sources including spatial technologies and fieldwork. In short, it involves the skills needed to formulate questions and initiate, plan and implement an inquiry relevant to a geographical issue, process or phenomenon.
The combination of physical and human forces that form and transform our world.
In its broad sense, the term ‘globalisation’ refers to the diffusion of manufacturing, services, markets, culture, lifestyle, capital, technology and ideas across national boundaries and around the world. It also refers to the integration of these geographically dispersed economic and social activities. The particular character of individual countries, regions and even localities interacts with the larger scale general processes of change to produce quite specific outcomes (P. Dicken - Global Shift, 1992)
When the forces of nature combine to become destructive and have potential to damage the environment and endanger communities.
Hybridisation of cultures
The process by which cultures around the world adopt a certain degree of homogenised global culture while clinging to aspects of their own traditional culture.
The concept of interconnection emphasises that no object of geographical study can be viewed in isolation. It is about the ways that geographical phenomena are connected to each other through environmental processes, the movement of people, flows of trade and investment, the purchase of goods and services, cultural influences, the exchange of ideas and information, political power and international agreements. Interconnections can be complex, reciprocal or interdependent, and have a strong influence on the characteristics of places. An understanding of the significance of interconnection leads to holistic thinking and helps learners to see the various aspects of Geography as connected rather than separate bodies of knowledge.
The term international integration refers to a process whereby the nature of the relationship among economic or cultural entities changes in ways that erode the autonomy or uniqueness of each and make them part of a larger aggregate.
Liveability is concerned with the quality of space and the built environment. The concept of liveability has been linked to a range of factors, for example, quality of life, health, sense of safety, access to services, cost of living, comfortable living standards, mobility and transport, air quality and social participation.
Typically defined as a metropolitan area with a total population in excess of 10 million.
Atmospheric, hydrological and geomorphic processes and events in our environment that have the potential to affect people adversely.
A way of viewing the world, the people in it, their relationship to each other and their relationship to communities and environments.
Places play a fundamental role in human life. The world is made up of places, from those with largely natural features, for example, an area of rainforest, to those with largely constructed features such as the centre of a large city. Places are where we live and grow up. Our most common relationships are likely to be with people in the same place. The environmental and human qualities of places influence our lives and life opportunities. Places are, therefore, cultural constructs. They are sites of biodiversity; locations for economic activity; centres of decision-making and administration; sites for the transmission and exchange of knowledge and ideas; meeting places for social interaction; sources of identity, belonging and enjoyment; and areas of natural beauty and wonder. They are where major events occur, from natural disasters and financial crises to sporting events.
Places can also be laboratories for the comparative study of the relationships between processes and phenomena, because the uniqueness of each place means that similar processes and influences can produce different outcomes in different places.
The importance of Country/Place to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples is an example of the interaction between culture and identity, and shows how places can be invested with spiritual and other significance.
Rural and remote
The Australian Bureau of Statistics defines ‘rural’ as any area which is not part of any urban area. Urban areas in Australia are defined as population clusters of 1,000 or more people, with a density of at least 200 people per square kilometre. The remoteness of a place is determined by the physical distance of a location from the nearest urban centre.
The concept of scale is used to analyse phenomena and look for explanations at different spatial levels, from the personal to the local, regional, national and global. Different factors can be involved in explaining phenomena at different scales. For example, in studies of vegetation, climate is the main factor at the global scale, but soil and drainage may be the main factors at the local scale. Deciding on the appropriate scale for an inquiry is therefore important.
Scale is also involved when geographers look for explanations or outcomes at different levels. Local events can have global outcomes. For example, the effects of local actions such as permanent vegetation removal on global climate. National and regional changes can also have local outcomes, as in the effects of economic policies on local economies.
Scale, however, may be perceived differently by diverse groups of people and organisations, and can be used to elevate or diminish the significance of an issue, for example, by labelling it as local or global.
The concept of space includes location, spatial distribution and the organisation of space. Location plays an important role in determining the environmental characteristics of a place, the viability of an economic activity or the opportunities open to an individual, but the effects of location on human activities also depend on the infrastructure and technology that link places, and the way these are managed by businesses and governments.
Spatial distribution, the second element in the concept of space, underlies much geographical study. The geographical characteristics of places have distributions across space that form patterns, and the analysis of these patterns contributes to an understanding of the causes of these characteristics and of the form they take in particular places. Spatial distributions also have significant environmental, economic, social and political consequences. (Students learn to identify and evaluate these consequences and the policies that could be adopted to respond to them.)
The organisation of space concerns how it is perceived, structured, organised and managed by people within specific cultural contexts, and how this creates particular types of spaces.
The arrangement of geographical phenomena or activities across the surface of the Earth.
Any software or hardware that interacts with real-world locations. The use of spatial technologies forms the basis of many geographers’ work practice. The Global Positioning System (GPS), Google Earth, geographic information systems (GIS) and the use of satellite images are the most commonly used spatial technologies to visualise, manipulate, analyse, display and record spatial data.
The use of spatial technologies is integral to the inquiry and skills process. The spatial technology application links geographic locations to information about them so you can:
- find information about places across the globe or locally
- analyse relationships between locations
- make decisions on the location of facilities
- map the demographics of target markets
- integrate maps with information from a variety of sources.
The concept of sustainability is used as a way to evaluate decisions and proposals as well as to measure the capacity of something to be maintained indefinitely into the future. It is used to frame questions, evaluate the findings of investigations, guide decisions and plan actions about environments, places and communities.
To think geographically involves the application of the discipline’s organising concepts to investigation of geographical issues and phenomena. It involves conceptual knowledge – the ideas we use to enhance our knowledge and understanding of the world. The organising concepts in senior secondary Geography are place, space, environment, interconnection, sustainability, scale and change.
The increasing percentage, or proportion of a population, living in urban areas of a country. The term ‘level of urbanisation’ is often used.
Variety of scales
The geographical view of processes and phenomena at different levels on a continuum from the local to the international and global scales. It may include: comparative studies at the same scale, studying the same issue and phenomenon at a range of scales, or seeking explanations at a different scale to the one being studied.