Geography's traditional interest in integrating phenomena and processes in particular places has a new relevance in science today, in connection with the search for what some have called a ''science of complexity."
From its work on integration in place, geography has produced a substantial literature related to the challenges of integration in place and the significance of such integrative perspectives for scientific understanding. Two examples are environmental-societal dynamics and the distinctiveness of place.
At least since Malthus,1 the relationship between population and its social and environmental resource base has been a central issue for science, and geography has long focused on the nature of that relationship, ranging from local and contemporary contexts to global and historic processes. Geographers are involved in both data collection and analysis to identify connections among changes in population, environment, and social responses.
For example, geographers have reconstructed population-resource dynamics for a large number of places throughout the world. Following Butzer (1982), several important facets of the relationship over the long-term may be distilled from these works, such as the following:
As another example, flows of materials, energy, and ideas across places have powerful impacts on human uses of the environment, and such impacts can mask basic understanding of contemporary environmental change. The sixteenth-