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Chapter $ Social Justice and Spatial Systems Normative thinking has an important role to play in geographical analysis. Social justice is a normative concept and it issurprising, therefore, to find that considerations ofsocialjustice have not been incorporated into geographical methods of analysis. The reason is not far to seek. The normative tools characteristically used by geographers to examine location problems are derived from classical location theory. Such theories are generally Pareto-optimal since they define an optimal location pattern as one in which no one individual can move without the advantages gained from such a move being offset by some loss to another individual. Location theory has therefore characteristically relied upon the criterion of efficiency for its specification. Efficiency may be defined in a variety of ways, of course, but in location theory it usually amounts to minimizing the aggregate costsofmovement (subject to demand and supply constraints) within a particular spatial system. Models of this type pay no attention to the consequences of location decisions for the distribution of income. Geographers have thus followed economists into a style of thinking in which questions of distribution are laid aside (mainly because they involve unwelcome ethical and political judgements), while efficient "optimal" location patterns are determined with a particular income distribution assumed. This approach obviously lacks something. In part the reaction away from normative thinking towards behavioural and empirical formulations may be attributed to the search for a more satisfying approach to location problems. This reaction has been healthy, of course, but partly misplaced. It is not normative modelling which is at fault but the kind of norms built into such models. In this chapter, therefore, I want to diverge from the usual mode of normative analysis and look at the possibility of con96 Chapter 3 Social Justice and Spatial Systems Normative thinking has an important role to play in geographical analysis. Social justice is a normative concept and it is surprising, therefore, to find that considerations ofsocialjustice have not been incorporated into geographical methods of analysis. The reason is not far to seek. The normative tools characteristically used by geographers to examine location problems are derived from classical location theory. Such theories are generally Pareto-optimal since they define an optimal location pattern as one in which no one individual can move without the advantages gained from such a move being offset by some loss to another individual. Location theory has therefore characteristically relied upon the criterion of eJficiency for its specification. Efficiency may be defined in a variety of ways, of course, but in location theory it usually amounts to minimizing the aggregate costs ofmovement (subject to demand and supply constraints) within a particular spatial system. Models of this type pay no attention to the consequences of location decisions for the distribution of income. Geographers have thus followed economists into a style of thinking in which questions of distribution are laid aside (mainly because they involve unwelcome ethical and political judgements), while efficient "optimal" location patterns are determined with a particular income distribution assumed. This approach obviously lacks something. In part the reaction away from normative thinking towards behavioural and empirical formulations may be attributed to the search for a more satisfying approach to location problems. This reaction has been healthy, of course, but partly misplaced. It is not normative modelling which is at fault but the kind of norms built into such models. In this chapter, therefore, I want to diverge from the usual mode of normative analysis and look at the possibility of con96 Chapter 3 Social Justice and Spatial Systems Normative thinking has an important role to play in geographical analysis. Social justice is a normative concept and it is surprising, therefore, to find that considerations ofsocialjustice have not been incorporated into geographical methods of analysis. The reason is not far to seek. The normative tools characteristically used by geographers to examine location problems are derived from classical location theory. Such theories are generally Pareto-optimal since they define an optimal location pattern as one in which no one individual can move without the advantages gained from such a move being offset by some loss to another individual. Location theory has therefore characteristically relied upon the criterion of eJficiency for its specification. Efficiency may be defined in a variety of ways, of course, but in location theory it usually amounts to minimizing the aggregate costs ofmovement (subject to demand and supply constraints) within a particular spatial system. Models of this type pay no attention to the consequences of...

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Additional Information

ISBN
9780820336046
Related ISBN
9780820334035
MARC Record
OCLC
704418427
Pages
368
Launched on MUSE
2012-02-08
Language
English
Open Access
No
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