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Chapter 1

North America

TermDefinition
Aquifer Pours rocks that hold water underground
Borderland General term for a linear zone that parallels a political boundary. The most dynamic of these areas, such as those lining the U.S.-Mexico border, are marked by significant cultural and economic interaction across the boundary that separates them.
Transition zone An area of spatial change where the peripheries of two adjacent realms or regions join; marked by a gradual shift (rather than a sharp break) in the characteristics that distinguish these neighboring geographic entities from one another.
Physiographic A region within which there prevails substantial natural-landscape homogeneity, expressed by a certain degree of uniformity in surface relief, climate, vegetation, and soils.
Continentally The variation of the continental effect on air temperatures in the interior portions of the world’s landmasses. The greater the distance from the moderating influence of an ocean, the greater the extreme in summer and winter temperatures.
Rain show effect The relative dryness in areas downwind of mountain ranges resulting from orographic precipitation, wherein moist air masses are forced to deposit most of their water content as they cross the highlands.
Federation A country adhering to a political framework wherein a central government represents the various subnational entities within a nation-state where they have common interests
Fossil fuel The energy resources of coal, natural gas, and petroleum (oil), so named collectively because they were formed by the geologic compression and transformation of tiny plant and animal organisms.
Urban system A hierarchical network or grouping of urban areas within a finite geographic area, such as a country.
American manufacturing belt North America’s near-rectangular core area, whose corners are Boston, Milwaukee, St. Louis, and Baltimore.
Distribution center A centralized focus of economic activity specializing in the distribution of goods, situated as a major hub on its regional transportation network.
Intermodal connections Facilities and activities related to the transfer of goods in transit from one transportation mode to another (e.g., the loading of containers from a ship directly onto a truck or railcar).
Outer City The non-central-city portion of the American metropolis; no longer “sub” to the “urb,” this outer ring was transformed into a full-fledged city during the late twentieth century.
Deindustrialization by which companies relocate manufacturing jobs to other regions or countries with cheaper labor, leaving the newly-deindustrialized region to convert to a service economy while struggling with the accompanying effects of increased unemployment
Central business district The downtown heart of a central city; marked by high land values, a concentration of business and commerce, and the clustering of the tallest buildings.
Information economy The new, increasingly dominant, postindustrial economy that is maturing in the most highly advanced countries of North America, Europe, and the Pacific Rim.
Grentification The upgrading of an older residential area through private reinvestment, usually in the downtown area of a central city. Frequently, this involves the displacement of established lower-income residents
Neighborhood effect The impact of one’s neighborhood on an individual’s outlook, aspirations, socialization, and life chances.
Residential geography The spatial distribution of a residential population. The term is most often used by urban geographers to describe the clustering of various social groups into the neighborhoods that form the residential fabric of cities and suburbs.
Sunbelt The popular name given to the southern tier of the United States, which is anchored by the mega-States of California, Texas, and Florida. Its warmer climate, superior recreational opportunities, and other amenities have been attracting people
Migration A change in residence intended to be permanent.
Electoral geography The spatial distribution of political preferences as expressed in voting behavior for political parties and/or candidates. The mapping of election results (see Box 1-8) is the foundation of electoral geography
Melting pot Traditional characterization of American society as a blend of numerous immigrant ethnic groups that over time were assimilated into a single societal mainstream.
First Nations Name given Canada’s indigenous peoples of American descent, whose U.S. counterparts are called Native Americans.
World-city A large city with particularly significant international (economic) linkages that also has a high ranking in the global urban system. Leading world-cities include London, New York, Tokyo, Shanghai, Singapore, and Paris.
Pacific rim A far-flung group of countries and components of countries (extending clockwise on the map from New Zealand to Chile) sharing the following criteria: they face the Pacific Ocean
Technopole A planned techno-industrial complex (such as California’s Silicon Valley) that innovates, promotes, and manufactures the products of the postindustrial information economy.
Tar sands The main source of oil from non-liquid petroleum reserves. The oil is mixed with sand and requires massive open-pit mining as well as a costly, complicated process to extract it. The largest known deposits are located in the northeast.
Boreal forest The subarctic, mostly coniferous snowforest that blankets Canada south of the tundra that lines the Arctic shore; known as the taiga in Russia.
Created by: Scarrr