What is geography? Physical geography Human geography Geography Wiki

The range of topics and approaches in physical geography may seem utterly unrelated to those in human geography. However, this is absolutely not the case. This is because the manner of the use of the concepts of space, place, environment, time, process, and scale by physical geographers and human geographers distinguishes them from other natural scientists and other social scientists respectively, and thus unifies the former two.

In fact, there are many key research questions which can only be addressed by combining physical and human geography, such as the questions posed to us by the exploitation of resources, natural hazards, and global environmental change. Furthermore, it is geography's focus on both nature and culture (and hence its ability to act as a bridge between the sciences and the humanities) that makes geography a distinct subject worthy of study in universities and schools.

Regional Geography

  • defined as place description, analysis, and synthesis
  • regional research
  • analyses and explains regional differences
  • tests general theories in the regional context
  • develops policies for particular regions
  • solves problems in specific places
  • modern geographical studies of regions are not studied in isolation but take account of multi-scale relationships with connections up to global scale
  • complements the emphasis on generalisation and globalisation with a consideration of the specificity of place, the local effects of global processes, and locally generated processes

Historical Geography

  • geography of the past: the key geographical concepts of space, place, and environment are considered in the context of past times
  • analyses a particular place or region at some time or period in the past
  • uses evidence from the past to help understand the present-day world
  • investigates changes through time in a particular phenomenon or a whole landscape

Geography of Environment-Society Interactions

  • provides a strong academic justification for physical and human geography remaining together in the same university department
  • studies the complex effects of different natural environments on societies and their activities
  • understands the nature and extent of beneficial as well as adverse human impacts in different environments

Geography of Global Change

  • concerned with the magnitude, rate, and direction of current changes in both the biophysical and human environment
  • key indicators of global change: population, urban population growth, use of fresh water, damming of rivers, fertiliser consumption, tropical rain forest deforestation, species extinction, atmospheric ozone depletion
  • documents and monitors local and regional spatial patterns of change
  • understands the interacting processes and explains their effects in different places
  • develops policies for the mitigation of environmental impacts at local to global scale
  • contributes to ethical frameworks

Landscape Geography

  • the concept of landscape refers to a part of the Earth's surface viewed as a whole, including a set of phenomena, their characteristics, and those aspects of the biophysical and human environment that are influential
  • investigates the complexities of landscapes as coupled natural and human systems
  • reveals patterns, processes, and surprises not evident when they are studied by physical or human geographers separately
  • relates the spatial structure and underlying processes of the natural and cultural landscape in a unified way