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CSISS Classics

 The foundations of spatial analysis span many disciplines over many generations of researchers and practitioners. CSISS Classics provides summaries and illustrations of major contributions to spatial thinking in the social sciences. Primary emphasis is given to research before 1980, with an attempt to capture and acknowledge the repository of spatial thinking in the social sciences for the last few centuries. The summaries, along with key references, are intended as guides for those interested in exploring intellectual inheritance from previous generations.

Your help is requested in suggesting topics, key papers, and schools of thought that should be represented in this collection—please send these to the CSISS Classics editor, Don Janelle.

Copyright permission has been requested and is still pending on some images used in the CSISS Classics.


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Charles Booth
Title: Mapping London's Poverty, 1885–1903
Spatial Concept: Mapping and social surveys, neighborhood effects
Discipline: Criminology, Demography, Geography, History, Law & Society, Political Science, Sociology, Urban & Regional Planning, Urban Studies
Walter Christaller
Title: Hierarchical Patterns of Urbanization
Spatial Concept: Regions, hierarchy, distribution
Discipline: Area Studies, Economics, Geography, Regional Science, Urban & Regional Planning
Grady Clay
Title: The Reading of the American City, 1973.
Spatial Concept: Spatial metaphors for interpreting landscape change
Discipline: Urban & Regional Planning, Urban Studies
Alice Coleman
Title: Design Disadvantagement, 1985
Spatial Concept: Built-environment–behavior relationships
Discipline: Criminology, Urban & Regional Planning, Urban Studies
Patrick Doreian
Title: Modeling Sociological Processes Using Spatially Distributed Data
Spatial Concept: spatial autocorrelation, regressive-autoregressive modeling
Discipline: Sociology, Statistics
Constantinos Doxiadis
Title: Ekistics, 1968
Spatial Concept: Scale consideration in settlement systems design
Discipline: Urban & Regional Planning, Urban Studies, Other
Vernor C. Finch
Title: The "Fractional Code" for Land Use Mapping, 1933.
Spatial Concept: Multi-variable mapping and land use classification
Discipline: Area Studies, Environmental Studies & Policy, Geography
Leonhard Ludwig Finke
Title: Leonhard Ludwig Finke: Medical Geography
Spatial Concept: Global perspective
Discipline: Geography, Public Health
Robert W. Fogel
Title: The Argument for Wagons and Canals, 1964.
Spatial Concept: Distance buffers, Spatial econometrics
Discipline: Economics, History, Regional Science
Joel Garreau
Title: Edge Cities and the Nine Nations of North America
Spatial Concept: Regionalization and regional synthesis of change
Discipline: Area Studies, Demography, Geography, Regional Science, Sociology, Urban & Regional Planning, Urban Studies
Peter Gould and Waldo Tobler
Title: An Experiment in Geo-Coding
Spatial Concept: Place-based search, geo-coding, geographical coordinates
Discipline: Communication Studies, Geography
Zvi Griliches
Title: The Diffusion of Hybrid Corn Technology, 1957
Spatial Concept: Innovation diffusion, Spatial diffusion, Logistic growth processes
Discipline: Economics, Regional Science
Edward T. Hall
Title: Proxemic Theory, 1966
Spatial Concept: Proxemic Theory, Social distance, Personal space, Spatial perception
Discipline: Anthropology & Archaeology, Communication Studies, Linguistics
Torsten Hägerstrand
Title: Time Geography.
Spatial Concept: Spatio-temporal constraints on human activity patterns and individual space-time paths
Discipline: Geography, Regional Science, Urban & Regional Planning
Mark Jefferson
Title: "Civilizing Rails," 1928.
Spatial Concept: Buffer zone, Catchment areas, Zones of impact
Discipline: Geography
Florence Kelley
Title: Slums of the Great Cities Survey Maps, 1893
Spatial Concept: Pattern analysis mapping of social conditions, maps for social advocacy
Discipline: Demography, Public Health, Sociology, Urban Studies, Womens Studies
Valdimer Orlando Key
Title: Mapping Southern Politics, 1949
Spatial Concept: Electoral geography, spatial redistricting, ecological inference
Discipline: Demography, History, Political Science
Hans Kurath
Title: Linguistic Atlas of the United States
Spatial Concept: Geographical linguistics, Isogloss mapping, Speech areas and speech boundaries
Discipline: Anthropology & Archaeology, Area Studies, Linguistics
Colin Loftin and Sally K. Ward
Title: Application of Spatial Autocorrelation in Sociology
Spatial Concept: Spatial autocorrelation, spatial processes, neighborhood effects, scale dependency, weighting methods, spatial interaction
Discipline: Demography, Public Health, Sociology, Statistics
Kevin Lynch
Title: City Elements Create Images in Our Mind, 1960
Spatial Concept: Place legibility, spatial imageability, cognition of urban built environment, mental maps
Discipline: Geography, Regional Science, Urban & Regional Planning, Urban Studies, Other
Bronislaw Malinowski
Title: Identifying the Kula Ring of the Trobriand Islanders: The Role of Ethnographic Field Observation in Pattern Recognition
Spatial Concept: Distance and social interaction, pattern recognition
Discipline: Anthropology & Archaeology, Area Studies
Henry Mayhew
Title: London Labour and the London Poor, 1861
Spatial Concept: Choropleth mapping, Ecological relationship
Discipline: Criminology, Sociology, Other
Ian McHarg
Title: Overlay Maps and the Evaluation of Social and Environmental Costs of Land Use Change
Spatial Concept: Overlay mapping, Multi-criteria route selection
Discipline: Environmental Studies & Policy, Urban & Regional Planning
Melinda S. Meade
Title: Medical Geography and Human Ecology, 1977
Spatial Concept: Cultural ecology, Population movement, Spatial patterns of disease
Discipline: Environmental Studies & Policy, Geography, Public Health
Richard Meier
Title: Communications Theory of Urban Growth, 1961
Spatial Concept: Spatial agglomeration, spatial interaction, urban centrality
Discipline: Communication Studies, Sociology, Urban Studies
Charles Joseph Minard
Title: Mapping Napoleon's March, 1861
Spatial Concept: Flow map, thematic mapping
Discipline: History, Statistics
Robert Park and Ernest Burgess
Title: Urban Ecology Studies, 1925
Spatial Concept: Urban Ecology, spatial differentiation, concentric zone theory
Discipline: Sociology, Urban & Regional Planning, Urban Studies
Pablo Picasso
Title: Cubism—A Revolution of Spatial Presentation in Artistic Expression (with parallels in cartography)
Spatial Concept: Multiple Perspectives in Two-Dimensional Visualization
Discipline: History, Other
Claudius Ptolemaeus (Ptolemy)
Title: Representation, Understanding, and Mathematical Labeling of the Spherical Earth
Spatial Concept: Equal Area Projection, Longitude and Latitude, Sperical Earth Representation
Discipline: Geography, History
Friedrich Ratzel, Clark Wissler, and Carl Sauer
Title: Culture Area Research and Mapping
Spatial Concept: Culture Areas, culture hearth
Discipline: Anthropology & Archaeology, Area Studies, Ethnic Studies, Geography, History
Ernest George Ravenstein
Title: The Laws of Migration, 1885
Spatial Concept: Distance decay, migration, spatial interaction, movement, spatial dispersion
Discipline: Demography, Economics, Geography, Statistics
Ellen Churchill Semple
Title: The Anglo-Saxons of the Kentucky Mountains, 1901
Spatial Concept: Human-environment interactions, Place
Discipline: Area Studies, Environmental Studies & Policy, Geography
Clifford R. Shaw and Henry D. McKay
Title: The Social Disorganization Theory
Spatial Concept: Spatial association and causation, urban area and neighborhood effects, urban social ecology, concentric zone theory
Discipline: Criminology, Demography, Ethnic Studies, Law & Society, Sociology, Urban & Regional Planning, Urban Studies
Georg Simmel
Title: The Sociology of Space
Spatial Concept: Sociology of space; social distance
Discipline: Communication Studies, Sociology, Urban Studies
G. William Skinner
Title: Marketing in Rural China, 1964–1965
Spatial Concept: Centrality, settlement hierarchy, range of a good, periodic markets
Discipline: Area Studies, Economics, Urban Studies
Lou Skoda and J.C. Robertson
Title: The Isodemographic Map of Canada, 1972.
Spatial Concept: Spatial data visualization, cartogram, isodemography
Discipline: Demography, Geography
John Snow
Title: The London Cholera Epidemic of 1854
Spatial Concept: Spatial pattern analysis, Inference of spatial process
Discipline: Demography, Public Health
Alma and Karl Taeuber
Title: Residential Segregation in U.S. Cities, 1965
Spatial Concept: segregation indices, mapping racial composition and change
Discipline: Demography, Ethnic Studies, Sociology, Statistics, Urban Studies
Charles M. Tiebout
Title: A Pure Theory of Local Expenditures, 1956
Spatial Concept: Residential sorting due to differences in local government services; spatial spillovers
Discipline: Economics, Regional Science, Urban & Regional Planning
Edward Tufte
Title: The Visual Display of Quantitative Information, 1983
Spatial Concept: Informational graphics
Discipline: History, Statistics
Rupert B. Vance
Title: Space and the American South
Spatial Concept: Region, spatial integration
Discipline: Demography, Geography, Sociology, Urban Studies
Johann-Heinrich von Thünen
Title: Balancing Land-Use Allocation with Transport Cost
Spatial Concept: spatial gradients, spatial optimization
Discipline: Economics, Geography, Regional Science, Urban & Regional Planning
Sam Bass Warner
Title: Modeling the Streetcar Suburbs, 1962
Spatial Concept: Urban accessibility and social class associations
Discipline: Demography, Economics, Geography, History, Urban & Regional Planning, Urban Studies
Alfred Weber
Title: Theory of the Location of Industries, 1909
Spatial Concept: Industrial location, minimum-cost location, optimal location, agglomeration economies, Verignon frame
Discipline: Economics, Geography, Regional Science, Sociology
Gordon R. Willey
Title: Settlement Patterns in Archaeology
Spatial Concept: Settlement patterns as clues to socio-political structures.
Discipline: Anthropology & Archaeology
John Kirtland Wright
Title: Early Quantitative Geography, 1937
Spatial Concept: Measuring trends and inequalities in spatial distributions
Discipline: Geography, Sociology, Statistics
Lotfi Zadeh
Title: Fuzzy logic-Incoporating Real-World Vagueness
Spatial Concept: Boundaries, regions
Discipline: Geography, Linguistics, Statistics, Other

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