What Is Spatial Perspective?


Spatial perspective is the process of finding, explaining and connecting the physical patterns of humans and locations, and the connectivity of various spaces. 

How we understand geographical locations and why these locations are where they are is the foundation of spatial perspective. This international concept focuses on specific locations, humans and our interaction to these places on Earth.

How to View Spatial Perspective 

Having a spatial perspective is a way to think about our world and its interconnections between people and places. Underpinning the spatial perspective is Waldo Tobler’s First Law which states that “Everything is related to everything else, but near things are more related than distant things”.

This makes sense for humans when choosing places to live, companies to work for and schools to send their kids. Spatial relationships in geography drive a great deal of our decision making. 

Spatial perspective in decision-making

Most decision-making in life and business involves taking certain steps, from identifying a problem, researching potential solutions, testing a possible solution and finally choosing a solution and implementing it. 

Using a geography-centric approach in this decision-making process adds another layer of geographical connectivity. It helps humans to understand the impact, positive or negative, that a certain location might have upon a particular decision. Problems can be analyzed with greater scope and depth when you add spatial perspective. The geographical data from the physical spaces can help to consider overall solutions. Characteristics of Spatial Perspective 

The concept of spatial perspective includes such characteristics like 

  • Place: the physical space that brings together people in communications, behavior and social patterns.
  • Scale: a particular area, represented and defined by social process, in the following order of smallest to the largest.
  • Network: this is an example of a complex system where nodes are organized and space is relevant. Some examples of these types of networks include power grids, the Internet, social networks and neural networks. 

People and Cultures

A spatial perspective is a helpful framework for humans to understand and clarify the meanings people, experiences and cultures in a specific time and place. Cultural historians can find elements of spatial perspective enlightening to their work. History buffs will take spatial perspective into account when focusing on global wars, for instance. Using spatial perspective in our lives means sharing our view of the world through our personal prism of subjective evaluation, selective information and personal experiences.