The region is a highly contested yet critical concept in the study of human geography.
A.) Why and how do geographers perform the regionalization process?
B.) What is regional geography?
C.) Discuss the different types of regions that human geographers study, and provide an example of each type.
Regions FRQ Answer Guide
The regionalization process involves grouping similar characteristics of different places into a more manageable unit of study, which is the region. The region is a conceptual unit that is bounded based on whatever feature a particular geographer wants to include within a particular region. These features can be either physical or cultural.
Regional geography is concerned with the study of regions and the characteristics of those particular regions that make them different from other places on earth’s surface. Generally, regional geography takes an idiographic/qualitative approach because it looks at the unique characteristics of particular places without generalizing the processes occurring within those regions beyond their boundaries.
Functional regions are defined by the connections and interactions that occur between a central place and its surrounding area. An example could be Washington D.C., San Francisco, or Los
Angeles (or any other large city) and all the various transportation, economic, cultural, and recreational connections that exist within that area.
The boundary of a formal region contains an area of similar or physical characteristics. An obvious example of a formal region is any sort of political boundary, such as countries, states, counties, and/or cities. Another example of a formal region would be the Friesland in the
Netherlands. In this part of the country, the people speak a different language and perceive quite differently from the other citizens of the Netherlands.
Vernacular, or perceptual regions are based on people’s perceptions of various places. They are based on certain physical and cultural characteristics perceived as unique within a particular place. The United States can be divided into several perceptual regions that each has defining characteristics to determine their boundaries, which are usually quite fuzzy and subject to interpretation. Some examples of these regions inclu de the South, the “deep” South, the
Midwest, the Northeast, the Southwest, and New England. Another example of a vernacular region would be the divide between east/west Baltimore. While there are clearly two distinct
neighborhoods in Baltimore with a sense of culture, there are different interpretations as to where those lines should be drawn.