Geography 350
Midterm Questions: Fall 1997

This is an open-notebook examination (notebook as defined in class). While its purpose in part is to evaluate your performance in this class, its far more important function is to provide you with the opportunity to evaluate your own understanding of class-related materials. Thus, you will be given the opportunity to reconsider your statements and answers later, to learn from this experience and to express your "second thoughts".

Please select two of the following (equal weight) questions and spend approximately 25 minutes on each:

1. Review one of the required and distributed readings for this class:
(a) Charles Leven, "Distance, Space and the Organization of Urban Life,"
(b) "Models: A General Discussion", (Stockey + Zeckhauser, Primer for Policy Analysis).
(c) Ronald Lee. "History of Demography in the U.S. Since 1945".
(d) Roy B. Helfgott: "On the Demise of the Long-Run".

In your review, try to give approximately equal weight to:
(a) An account of the content of the piece
(b) What the significance of the paper may be for (y)our work in this class (based on your own and/or class objectives).
[Of course, you may also add your assessment (critique) of the paper; but due to time constraints, this is not required]

[Please indicate whether you are using the original article during this test. If you do, then you may not want to respond to "a", since in that case there cannot be any credit for purely descriptive content.]

2. In class, we have often referred to the concept of "complexity" and how different approaches recognize different types and degrees of real-world complexity. How would you go about reconciling the divergent needs of the local economic analyst
(a) to differentiate, recognize diversity and/or accept complexity, on the one hand, and
(b) to aggregate or simplify or see "common threads", on the other.

In other words, develop some criteria or guidelines for a compromise, i.e. for the right level of aggregation or differentiation used in the analysis of small regions. Do not hesitate to use the location-quotient and/or some other tools of your choice as part of examples for the general arguments you are making.

3. I have encouraged you throughout these first few weeks to develop your own "vantagepoint", "perspective", "theme" or "focus" for this class. Now, here is your chance: Discuss the progress you have made and the substantive roadblocks you have run into while developing ties or complementary perspectives between your interests and the objectives and content of this class (and not necessarily only the content of the first 4 weeks).


(a) Briefly explain the difference between a "CSMA and a PSMA. Do we need them both? Why?

(b) What is meant by a "transition matrix"?

Sorry: It's not over until it's over!

I am returning copies of your answers to you for two learning purposes:

1. If you are in any way unhappy with your answers and think that you can do or could/should have done better, submit an "Addendum" (second thoughts, corrections, important additional points) by next Tuesday.

2. Take one of your answers, research and improve it and "move it into your Web page" for extra-credit or as an appropriate part of one of the other exercises assigned to this class. (Deadline: flexible)

Neither task is mandatory. Both are opportunities to learn more on the basis of what you have learned already and to communicate your "understanding" to others and/or me.

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