By David Crouch
University of Derby
What does geography do for us? A generation or two ago, it told us where, how big and when this or that site could be found. It taught us the distance between here and there. Space was distance between. Thee bitty things, fragments of facts and little understanding had some curious heritage: expeditions for exploitation, defence but equally attack. In the years before and during the second world war the excitement was focused on the ‘best’ sic use of resources for building the Nazis’ brave new world: cost efficiencies like this war vital in locating gas chambers and so on. Fellow traveller Christaller had been a major influence at the time, and in the decades that followed, became a core text, eagerly grasped by the seventies’ work on location analysis. In all of this ‘heritage’ there was little sign of human beings, only their resources. Of course, efficiency became a shared value across divergent cultures and politics during the second world war in particular, and in its aftermath, crucial times to make the best of vanishing energies and resources, that could then be put humanely to better use, yet still often more in statistical terms, increasingly the only approach to human dimensions; human life, lived experience all but deleted from human geography, yet life happens here and there, whatever happens.