Temporal Dimensions and Spatial Systems: The Resourceful Approach to Geographical Analysis

William F. Banyikwa


Traditionally, geographical analysis has been guided by chorographical and ecological systems approaches.  These approaches have hitherto emphasised onsite geographical conditions of phenomena.  The output has invariably been weighed down by static geometrical conditions of place, and change has thereby been difficult to capture in many geographical studies especially in the developing countries including in Africa.  This article provides the temporal dimensions and spatial systems approach, as an alternative to chorographical and ecological systems  approaches, for the analysis  of geographical phenomena.  Time is used to record the chronology of events over space.  It has, therefore, an enduring effect on events on the earth’s surface and how knowledge is preserved for future generations.  Space is the material in which life processes are propagated and, it has positional and geometrical qualities.  The notions of temporal dimensions and spatial systems should ideally be integrated to generate rich geographical knowledge.  Based on a selected dominant variable of the space economy for a period, five temporal dimensions are proposed and their  corresponding spatial systems are suggested  It is concluded that the ideas of time and space are not only inseparable in undertaking geographical inquiry but also that the spatio-temporal approach should be adopted in instruction and research in universities in Africa.

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