Page:Science and Citizenship.djvu/33
Science and Citizenship
by the noblest type of the human species. The designing and the making of a suitable theatre on which the human play may develop is a thought which gives a new orientation to the geographical conception of the river valley. Now the soil and the vegetation which cover its floor, the beds of coal, iron, sand, and limestone which underlie its surface, the forests which clothe its slopes and shelter its animal world, the metalliferous deposits of its mountain sides, the river which from source to sea invites to locomotion, all these are seen to be but energies and instruments awaiting for their orchestration the tuning hand and the idealising mind of man. And the city—the city which embanks and strides the river, which stretches across the plain and juts into the ocean, which ascends the hill slopes or penetrates the mountains—what is the part and place of this city in the vision of the humanist geographer?
When we think of the river valley as the regional unit of geographical science, we have to remember that it is like the ovum of biology—a developing unit containing the potency of a great realisation. What to the geographer in his humanist mood is the city but the effort of this regional unit to realise its own potency for evolution. City development is thus for the geographer no isolated phenomenon, but a normal stage—the culminating one—in a long sequence of events and processes. It is the ceaselessly renewed attempt to make for each region, here and now, its own Eden—its own Utopia.