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University of Helsinki Department of Geography
Development Geography

Development geography is one of the special lines of Regional geography in the new Geography curriculum. Within the new degree structure all geography students are obliged to make their selections between the special lines in their 3 rd year. Potter, Robert et al. Geographies of Development, is the text book which would be examined during the general part of studies.

In Development geography it is the main issue to study about the poorest countries of the world, most of which are situated in Africa, Asia and Latin America. Developing countries represent the South as the contrary to the North under the currant economic, cultural and social processes of globalisation. The high-tech economy of the North is best to be seen in Europe, the United States and Australia. Newly Industrialised Countries as China, India, Brazil and Mexico are the new competitors of the North as regards to the new international division of labour force, production and markets. The new phenomenon may diffuse the traditional lines of poverty and digital divide. Development geography makes a good use of the problem-oriented, interdisciplinary and multicultural fields of science, with its regional approach. Globalisation can be perceived as the mutual interplay of global and local approaches within the methodology of Participatory Learning Approach (PLA, qualitative) and Geographic Information System (GIS, quantitative). The aim of research is to produce new scientific knowledge on developing countries, their development problems and solving, modes of livelihoods and survival strategies, the sustainability of environment and culture with the emphasis of socio-economic development in a regional context. The regional approach of development also owns an appreciated holistic perspective as a social value system and effectiveness through development cooperation which follows the principles of sustainable development, good governance, democracy and human rights, poverty elimination, equity of genders, and the balance of biodiversity in nature and culture. Research issues on global and local differences of development are e.g. regional conflicts, migration, refugee problems, uncontrolled urbanisation, the competition of urban space, population increase, women’s issues, exploitation of natural resources, forest degradation and environmental conservation, the land property of native peoples, poverty and digital divides, the measurement of development and ecotourism.

15 th June 2005, dated by Ritva Kivikkokangas-Sandgren