WHAT ARE REGIONS?

WHAT IS MEANT BY REGIONAL SCALE?
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AN AREA WITH MORE THAN ONE PLACE OR CITY

It could also be a group of countries. It can often be difficult to define.

​ Possible definition: group of villages or towns sharing certain commonalities; an area of country which can more or less be specifically defined; a group of countries sharing common political, historic, geographic, social, or economic characteristics.


Can you name some regions? How do their scales vary? How do regions overlap?

​Different Types of Regions

1. Physical Environment Regions- regions which have common physical features or are characterized by a common physical feature.
examples: Heuvelland (southern Limburg), Maasland (area between Maastricht and Maaseik), Rocky Mountain states (USA), Plains states (USA), the Highlands (Scotland), Andean nations (South America), etc.
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2. City Regions - the hinterland of a city which provides certain services to the region
examples: Manaus region (Brazil), Parkstad (southeast Limburg), Perth (Western Australia), etc.
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3.Programming Region - a region created for a particular purpose; mainly for economic planning purposes

examples: Southern California Area Governments (SCAG), European regional fund (to help poorer regions in the EU

4.Homogeneous Regions- regions which have just one main feature which distinguishes them from other regions
example - biomes (Desert, Rainforest, Coniferous Forest, etc.) , Polders

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​5.Nodal Regions - regions which include a single city with a specific sphere of influence or urban field. This is very similar to a city region.

​6. Single-feature regions- regions which have one major feature which is common in the area. This is very similar to homogeneous regions

​7. Multi-feature regions- regions which have a variety of features which distinguish it. For example; the Southern California region has geographic and economic factors which distinguish it from other regions in California. The region cannot be characterized by just one feature.

​8. Cultural Regions- regions which have common cultural traits
examples: Celtic fringe regions of the British Isles, Latin America, Polynesia, Scandinavia, etc.
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9. Linguistic Regions - regions which have common language characteristics
examples: Wallonia, Flanders, Swiss German, Quebec

10. Functional Regions - These are regions which are defined by a combination of economic activities or by a function. Examples include the Tennessee Valley Authority, and areas served by particular airlines, newspapers and other services. If the function ceases to exist, the functional region no longer exists.
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What are some major problems with delimiting regions?

  • Regional boundaries are not ideal; things do not change abruptly but they shade from one region to the other
  • Fixed landscape features such as mountains or rivers cannot always be considered to be boundaries because they may give unity instead of separation to a region (for example: the Danube region in Europe)
  • Scale - there is a huge variety in regional scale from a group of countries or parts of continents to a region served by a single shop.
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NATIONAL UNITS
​Most nations divide their country into units or divisions for administrative purposes or constitutional requirements. They can be given a variety of names such as: PROVINCES, DEPARTMENTS, REGIONS, STATES, REPUBLICS, TERRITORIES, DEPENDENCIES, etc.
These regions can have a variety of governments with different degrees of independence. The province of Limburg in the Netherlands for example has very little independence and is dependent on the national government for most legislation and finances. However, the province of Alberta has its own parliament and premier who can make different laws from the rest of Canada.

REGIONALISM
There has been a trend in many parts of the world towards regionalism. This is a movement to focus more attention on regions in governmental policies or to give more independence to regions. Giving more independence to regions depends on regional identity which could be due to historic, cultural, ethnic, linguistic, religious, or economic reasons.

The small country of Belgium is an example as we have seen above but also larger countries have witnessed this trend such as Spain.
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GEOGRAPHICAL PLACE
A geographical place refers to the human and physical characteristics of a location.


​SPATIAL SYSTEMS AND INTERACTION

A region can also be described as a spatial system. It is a geographical place with a series of interconnected elements which make up a complex spatial system. This spatial environment is where people live and work and spatial interaction is how people interact in this spatial system due to their social, economic, and political activities. This leads to an interchange of flows and an interchange of locations consisting of a network of a series of points and lines. Once we see how each point is connected and the ease in which it is possible to move through the network we can see the development of a system. Once a system is described it is much easier to study the processes operating within it. We often see this type of system in nodal regions.

​DISTANCE-DECAY

The distance-decay effect shows the relativity of distance which operates to discourage movement. This distance is quite often economic distance rather than geographic distance. Distance-decay often governs the interaction between two locations and can often be used to describe and to delimit regions.

Distance-decay is that the amount of interaction between two places decreases as the distance between them increases. For example: the amount of contact between people living in two towns of similar size 5 kilometers apart will be much greater than between two towns 50 kilometers apart. As a result, contacts fall off rapidly over a short distance and then decline more slowly over longer distances. We also call this the GRAVITY MODEL.
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