Regions: Areas of Unique Characteristics

Cultural Landscape
 A combination of cultural features and physical
 Carl Sauer-an area fashioned from nature by a cultural
 LA vs. NYC
Formal Region
 Uniform or homogeneous region
 An area where everyone shares in common one or
more distinctive characteristics
 Political Units
 Wheat Belt
 Climate
 Language
Election 2000: Regional
Fig. 1-10: Presidential election results by county and state illustrate differences in regional
voting patterns.
Functional Region
 Nodal region, an area organized around a node or focal
 The characteristic is predominate at the node and
diminishes in importance outward
 Newspaper circulation
 TV stations
 How could technology be breaking down traditional
functional regions?
Formal and Functional Regions
Fig. 1-11: The state of Iowa is an example of a formal region; the areas of influence of
various television stations are examples of functional regions.
Vernacular Region
 Perceptual region, a place that people believe exists as
part of their cultural identity
 Mental Map
Vernacular Regions
Fig. 1-12: A number of factors are often used to define the South as a vernacular region, each
of which identifies somewhat different boundaries.
Spatial Association
 Regions can be constructed at varying scales
 Different conclusions may be reached concerning a
region’s characteristics depending on its scale
Spatial Association at Various Scales
Fig. 1-13: Death rates from cancer in the U.S., Maryland, and Baltimore show
different patterns that can identify associations with different factors.
Cultural Ecology
 The study of human-environment relationships
 von Humboldt and Ritter: human actions were caused
by environmental conditions
 Environmental determinism
 This is disputed by some who state the physical
environment may limit some human actions, but
people have ability to adjust to their environment
 Possiblism
Environmental Modification in the
Fig. 1-15: Polders and dikes have been used for
extensive environmental modification
in the Netherlands.
Environmental Modification in Florida
Fig. 1-16: Straightening the
Kissimmee River has had many
unintended side effects.

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