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Introduction to the Notion of Region at a Variety of Scales and a Consideration of Applications.

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Presentation on theme: "Introduction to the Notion of Region at a Variety of Scales and a Consideration of Applications."— Presentation transcript:

1 Introduction to the Notion of Region at a Variety of Scales and a Consideration of Applications

2 Different Regional Scales Biome- a large-scale geoclimatic region measured by climate, and the resulting flora and fauna. In the case of the Pacific Northwest, this might best be measured by the extent of the temperate rainforest or by the inland range of the various species of Pacific salmon. Bioregion- a region defined by culture, history, and/or geographical/ biophysical characteristics – example, watersheds (or portions thereof) draining into the Georgia Basin/ Salish Sea bioregion (traditional use area of the Coast Salish peoples) or, alternatively, Vancouver Island, with or without the adjacent portion of the Sunshine Coast.

3 Different Regional Scales Urban Domain- a region defined by the cultural, social, economic and/or administrative reach of the adjacent city – as with the Lower Fraser Basin, in the case of Vancouver, or the Pacific-Arrowsmith region, as in the case of Nanaimo. Watershed- a region defined by its hydrological characteristics at a variety of scales – e.g. Cat Creek, Chase River watershed, Nanaimo River watershed, etc. A watershed is a very useful regional frame for environmental planning purposes since water is such a strong integrating feature. Fish need healthy watersheds, humans need clean drinking water, and animals use riparian corridors for migration.

4 Two Visions of Our Biome Source: Ecotrust:

5 Two Visions of Our Bioregion Source: USEPA: Source:

6 Two Visions of Our 'Urban Domain' Source: David Roach and Mark HollandSource: Regional District of Nanaimo

7 Two Visions of Local Watersheds Source: Source:

8 The Biome – Relevant Principles According to a document (Vision 2030) by the Pacific Coast Collaborative (made up of the governments of BC, Washington, Oregon, and California), this biome possesses “a distinct sense of place and outlook.” They go on to say that [i]Informed by our environment, the region is a model for healthy and sustainable communities, harmonizing urban, working, and wild landscapes to create an unequalled quality of life and unique 'west coast' outlook.” Are we there yet? Because of the relative homogeneity of climate – and resulting temperate rainforest – one can consider the kinds of economic activities that are potentially sustainable within this region: forestry, fishing, some farming and aquaculture, tourism and recreation, and the kind of innovative “knowledge economy” work that attracts people who are drawn to make their home in this kind of environment.

9 The Biome – Relevant Principles The salmon are the ultimate 'indicator species' within this region as so many other species depend on them; even the health of the forests depend on them to some extent. If they are healthy, the rest of the ecosystems are likely healthy. That they are in decline reflects poor land use practices throughout the biome, as well as the stresses/ turbulence associated with climate change.

10 Our Biome

11 The Bioregion – Relevant Principles The bioregion is determined by a combination of natural and cultural features – for instance, the Lower Fraser Basin, the insular nature of Vancouver Island, the Georgia Straight/ Salish Sea bioregion (watersheds flowing into the Straight of Georgia, traditional territory of the Coast Salish peoples). It is an appropriate region within which to promote greater self-sufficiency in food, energy, building materials, and other areas in the face of peak oil and climate change. For instance, Vancouver Island used to produce 70-80% of its own food; that has since dropped to 5-10%. It is also an appropriate realm for developing economic strategies and an appropriate sense of regional identity based on natural and cultural heritage.

12 The 'Urban Domain' – Relevant Principles Learning from Benton MacKaye's The New Exploration (1928), we can distinguish three distinct environments within this domain: primeval (wilderness), rural, and cosmopolitan (urban), and the need to protect the integrity of each from the formless sprawl of what MacKaye called the “metropolitan invasion.” He also suggested that the best place to view the region was from the “ridgeline.” Protection is assisted by identifying landmarks and 'sacred places' to help build a sense of identity and assist in preservation of naturally and culturally significant areas (e.g. Mt. Arrowsmith?); The urban domain is also the relevant unit for considering the ecological metabolism of the city – its need to import food, water, energy, and raw materials, while expelling liquid, gaseous, and solid wastes – and to foster more of a circular urban ecology.

13 The Watershed – Relevant Principles It has been shown that if 8-10% of a watershed becomes impermeable, then it can result in the loss of 80% of all fish stocks. If a watershed maintains healthy fish populations – especially without the necessity of fish hatcheries – then it is likely a healthy watershed. If we plan all urban and rural land uses around the health of watersheds, we would approach closely to a sustainable land use regime. There is much that we done to respect water even in the midst of built-up areas, such as deploying green roofs/ rainbarrels, permeable pavers, swales and constructed wetlands for filtering run- off, and much more.

14 Relevance to Geography Geography is ultimately about spatial phenomena and relationships at a variety of scales. It is also about what unifies specific areas of land, and what differentiates one area from another. The regions I have described have some internal homogeneity based on a variety of criteria, but shade into one another almost imperceptibly. They are like a series of Russian dolls, one nested inside the other. Which regional scale do you think is most important?

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