Page:Science and Citizenship.djvu/37

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been validated.

Science and Citizenship

ascent from geographical science to the loftiest aspirations of social idealism.


The geographer's vision of the city, as the realisation of regional potency, is a faculty not of the professed scientists only. It is possessed also in varying degrees of fulness and clearness by every wise and active citizen, or at least by every citizen not altogether dehumanised by the machinery of education and affairs, or as Mr. Wells says, "birched into scholarship and sterility." It was the geographer's vision that prompted the city fathers of Glasgow to transform the shallow estuary of the Clyde into one of the great highways of world commerce. It was the absence of the geographer's vision that prompted Philip II. of Spain to cut off the national capital from access to the sea by removing it to the arid central plateau. It has been the geographer's vision which has inspired so many German municipalities to purchase and allocate to the common weal large tracts of suburban territory. And wanting the geographer's vision, our own municipalities have too often allowed the immediate environs of our cities to become the prey of the jerry builder and the land speculator. These are obvious and conspicuous examples. But the influence of geographical foresight, or its absence, is to be traced into every ramification of civic policy, into every department of civic activity. To draw upon the resources of