|History of geography|
Regional geography is the study of world regions. Attention is paid to unique characteristics of a particular region such as natural elements, human elements, and regionalization which covers the techniques of delineating space into regions. The idiographic study of spatial individuals (specific places, countries, continents) and the typological study of spatial types (coastal regions, mountain regions, border regions, etc.) form the two pillars of regional geography.
Regional geography is also a certain approach to geographical study, comparable to quantitative geography or critical geography. This approach prevailed during the second half of the 19th century and the first half of the 20th century, a period when then regional geography paradigm was central within the geographical sciences. It was later criticised for its descriptiveness and the lack of theory. Strong criticism was leveled against it in particular during the 1950s and the quantitative revolution. Main critics were G. H. T. Kimble and Fred K. Schaefer.
The regional geography paradigm has influenced many other geographical sciences, including economic geography and geomorphology. Regional geography is still taught in some universities as a study of the major regions of the world, such as Northern and Latin America, Europe, and Asia and their countries. In addition, the notion of a city-region approach to the study of geography, underlining urban-rural interactions, gained credence since the mid-1980s.
Notable figures in regional geography were Alfred Hettner in Germany, with his concept of chorology; Paul Vidal de la Blache in France, with the possibilism approach (possibilism being a softer notion than environmental determinism); and, in the United States, Richard Hartshorne with his concept of areal differentiation. The school of Carl O. Sauer, strongly influenced by Alfred Hettner and Paul Vidal de la Blache, is also seen as regional geography in its broadest sense.
Some geographers have also attempted to reintroduce a certain amount of regionalism since the 1980s. This involves a complex definition of regions and their interactions with other scales.
- Kimble, G.H.T. (1951): The Inadequacy of the Regional Concept, London Essays in Geography, edd. L.D. Stamp and S.W. Wooldridge, pp. 492-512.
- Schaefer, F.K. (1953): Exceptionalism in Geography: A Methodological Examination, Annals of the Association of American Geographers, vol. 43, pp. 226-245.
- MacLeod, G. and Jones, M. (2001): Renewing The Geography of Regions, Environment and Planning D, 16(9), pp. 669-695.