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Kates, Robert (1929–)

  • By: Thomas J. Wilbanks
  • In: Encyclopedia of Geography
  • Edited by: Barney Warf
  • Subject:General Geography, Earth & Environmental Science

Robert (Bob) W. Kates is one of the world's leading geographers of the past half-century. He has said that from the beginning, his grand query was “What is and ought to be the human use of the Earth?” Since 1958, Kates has focused on three main issues: (1) living with hazard, (2) ending hunger, and (3) sustaining life on Earth. He has played a major role in the development of sustainability as a transdiscipline.

Kates was born in New York City in 1929. In his late 20s, he was supporting a young family by working in industry in the Chicago area, having left college without a degree to get married, when he signed up for a night course at a local university that was taught by ...

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