Geography: Critical Factors in the Analysis of Complex Systems
University of Kansas
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Geography is a disciple of discovery and exploration. From earliest human endeavor until today, it remains the key to understanding human interaction with the landscape. A conceptual framework of geographic factors provides a holistic analytical approach to the complex systems experienced by humankind across the globe. Physical, Cultural, Economic, and Political variables combine to create the environment of individuals and nations. A holistic and comprehensive framework of geographical variables is needed for a systematic study of geostrategic issues for the purposes of policy making and strategic planning. Geographic scale, its impact on human action and incorporation into human culture, is pervasive. These factors of geography and their variables must be applicable at many scales of human interaction and experience. The complex system of human geo-strategic interaction demands this. Humans are a product of the natural environment, fundamentally a part of the planet. This basic context energizes the processes flowing within the geographic variables. Human nature, acting in the spatial context, is the engine of human generated change that moves through time and is measured on the landscape. It is possible to model this reality and study the interaction. This interaction is observable and informative. The purpose of this dissertation is to identify geographic variables that inform a systematic approach to the analysis of geostrategic issues. These geographic factors have been drawn from the legacy of geographic thought and imagination. The factors and their corresponding variables operate holistically in cycles of action measured across space and time. By use of basic statistical analysis, lines of enquiry can be identified for the expanded use of Agent-Based Models for the purpose of inferential predictive analysis. The unique contribution of this dissertation is a novel conceptual construct for analysis of complex systems in a geostrategic context. The contribution is four-fold: First the organization of geographic factors into a linked field of key variables. Second the creation of a multi-modal process of these variables through a nested set of operational imperatives. Thirdly the construction of the operational imperatives process cycle which informs the resulting fourth contribution of a predictive path of inquiry and analysis.
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