Thoughts on “Marceau – The Scale Issue in the Social and Natural Sciences”

In “The Scale Issue in the Social and Natural Sciences”, D.J. Marceau explains the increase in the importance of the Spatial Scale concept and the evolution of its conceptualization over the last few decades by reviewing the main developments in both the social and natural sciences. This is illustrated in the article with many examples of contemporary environmental problems and how the observations will differ based on the selected scale of the analysis, as patterns may differ across scales.

In an era where geographic data is becoming more and more accessible online while also becoming more heterogeneous, scaling becomes an increasingly important issue to consider when analyzing space, given the ever growing reliance on Geographic Information Systems (GIS) today. Although science always aims to be as objective as possible, the lens through which a phenomenon can be observed can vary widely based on our culture, our social environment as well as the standards in use among many other factors.

The conclusion of the article proposes an emergence of what is referred to as the science of scale. I would be curious to know if there have been recent developments since the article was published in 1999. Do we have a better understanding of ways to control the distortion created by the Modifiable Areal Unit Problem (MAUP)? Also, have there been contributions made by other disciplines not mentioned in the article in regards to the scaling problem?

Comments are closed.