Topic 6urban Environmentsgeography

  • Geographic information science (GIS) Science (or system) that uses a computer program to sort layers of digital data to create specialized maps focusing on specific topics., often referred to as geographic information systems, uses a computer program to assimilate and manage many layers of map data, which then provide specific information about a given place.
  • GCSE Geography Urban environments learning resources for adults, children, parents and teachers.
  • Continuing Tom L. McKnight's well-known thematic focus on landscape appreciation, Darrel Hess offers a broad survey of all of the physical processes and spatial patterns that create Earth’s physical landscape. McKnight’s Physical Geography: A Landscape Appreciation provides a clear writing style, superior art program, and abundant pedagogy to appeal to a wide variety of students.

Investigate two shopping areas in an urban area of your choice. One in the city centre and one on the rural-urban fringe. 11.2.1: Areas of economic activity.

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Geography topics for research papers
Human-Environment Interaction

The five themes of geography are an educational tool for teaching geography. The five themes were published in 1984[1] and widely adopted by teachers, textbook publishers, and curriculum designers in the United States.[2] Most American geography and social studiesclassrooms have adopted the five themes in teaching practices,[3] as they provide 'an alternative to the detrimental, but unfortunately persistent, habit of teaching geography through rote memorization'.[1]


Five Themes of geography:[4]


Every point on Earth has a location. Location can be described in two different ways:

  • Absolute location, a location as described by its latitude and longitude on the Earth. For example, the coordinates of Albany, New York are 42.6525° N, 73.7572° W.
  • Relative location, a location as described by where it is compared to something else. For example, Albany, New York is roughly 140 miles north of New York City.

Every site on Earth has a unique absolute location, which can be identified with a reference grid (such as latitude and longitude). Maps and globes can be used to find location and can also be used to convey other types of geographical information. Map projections are used to represent the three-dimensional Earth on a two-dimensional map. The earth's position relative to the sun affects climate, seasons, and time zones.[1]


A place is an area that is defined by everything in it. Places have physical characteristics, such as landforms and plant and animal life, as well as human characteristics, such as economic activities and languages.[1] All places have features that give them personality and distinguish them from other places.

  • Toponym: a place name, especially one derived from a topographical feature.
  • Site: an area of ground on which a town, building, or monument is constructed.
  • Situation: the location and surroundings of a place.
  • Population: the number of people that live in the area.

Human-environment interaction[edit]

This theme describes how people interact with the environment, and how the environment responds, with three key concepts:[5]

  • Dependency: Humans depend on the environment.
  • Adaptation: Humans adapt to the environment.
  • Modification: Humans modify the environment.

Sub-themes include 'the earth as an environmental system' (including the role and problems of technology, environmental hazards and limits, and adaptation) and 'ethics and values' (differing cultural values and the trade-off between economic development and environmental protection).[1]


Movement is the travel of people, goods, and ideas from one location to another. Examples of movement include the United States' westward expansion, the Information Revolution, and immigration. New devices such as the airplane and the Internet allow physical and ideological goods to be transferred long distances in short time intervals. A person's travel from place to place, and the actions they perform there are also considered movement.

Topic 6 urban environmentsgeography

Places are connected by movement:[1]

  • Methods of transportation (transportation geography) – public transportation, private transportation, freight transportation
  • Movement in everyday life
  • History of movement
  • Economic factors influencing movement
  • Energy or mass induced movement – the water cycle, tectonic plates, movements within ecosystems, etc.
  • Models of human interaction, including gravity models and central place theory


Regions are areas with distinctive characteristics: human characteristics, such as demographics or politics, and physical characteristics, such as climate and vegetation. For example, the US is a political region because it shares one governmental system.

Regions may have clear, well-defined borders or vague boundaries.[1]

  • Uniform region – 'defined by some uniform cultural or physical characteristic', such as the Bible Belt or New England[1]
  • Functional region – space organized around a focal point, such as a metropolitan area[1]
  • Cultural diversity – regions are a way to understand human diversity.[1]

Geography Topics For Research Papers


The five themes of geography were published in the 1984 Guidelines for Geographic Education: Elementary and Secondary Schools by the National Council for Geographic Education/Association of American Geographers Joint Committee on Geographic Education.[1] The committee included Salvatore J. Natoli, Richard G. Boehm, James B. Kracht, David A. Lanegran, Janice J. Monk, and Robert W. Morrill.[2] The themes were not a 'new geography' but rather a conceptual structure for organizing information about geography.[1]

The themes became widespread in American social science education and were used for teacher training by the National Geographic Society's statewide alliances. They also played a role in reestablishing geography in school curricula.[1]

In 1992, a National Assessment of Educational Progress consensus group said that the five themes are useful for teaching, but that for assessment, geography should be divided into the three topics of 'space and place', 'environment and society', and 'spatial dynamic and connections'.[1]

The five themes continue to be used as an educational approach in many educational outlets.[3] As of 2012, they are included in the National Council for the Social Studies elementary school standards and in state social studies standards.[6]


  1. ^ abcdefghijklmnBoehm, Richard G.; Petersen, James F. (April–May 1994). 'An Elaboration of the Fundamental Themes in Geography'. Social Education. 58 (4): 211–18.
  2. ^ abNatoli, Salvatore J. (1 January 1994). 'Guidelines for Geographic Education and the Fundamental Themes in Geography'. Journal of Geography. 93 (1): 2–6. doi:10.1080/00221349408979676. ISSN0022-1341.
  3. ^ abGanzel, Karen. 'Geography Lesson Plans Using Google Earth'. Lesson Planet. Retrieved April 28, 2010.
  4. ^Rosenberg, Matt. 'The Five Themes of Geography'. Retrieved November 16, 2013.
  5. ^'The Five Themes of Geography'(PDF). Retrieved 2 June 2015.
  6. ^Buchanan, Lisa Brown; Tschida, Christina M. (2015). 'Exploring the five themes of geography using technology'. The Ohio Social Studies Review. 52 (1): 29-39.
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As people travel, they encounter different environments and peoples. Such variations are intellectually stimulating: Why do people and places differ? Stores of knowledge were built up about such new and exotic places, as demonstrated by the Greek philosopher and world traveler Herodotus in the 5th century bce. That knowledge became known as geography, a term first used as the title of Eratosthenes of Cyrene’s book Geographica in the 3rd century bce. Such was the volume of knowledge compiled thereafter that Strabo’s Geography, published three centuries later, comprised 17 volumes. Its first two provided a wide-ranging review of previous writings, and the other 15 contained descriptions of particular parts of what was then the known world. Soon thereafter Ptolemycollated a large amount of information about the latitude and longitude of places in his seminal work.

The Greeks and Romans not only accumulated a great body of knowledge about Earth but also developed the sciences of astronomy and mapmaking, which helped them accurately locate places. However, during western Europe’sMigration period (Dark Ages), much of that wisdom was lost, but the study of geography—notably cartography—was nurtured in the Arab world. This material became known to western Europeans during medieval times, partly through their contacts with the Muslim world during the Crusades. As the Europeans linked this new material with what. they could rediscover in ancient Greek and Roman work, they frequently stressed misinformation derived from the latter, notably in Ptolemy’s inaccurate maps. From then on, as Europeans explored more of the world, increasing numbers of scholars collated new information and transmitted it to wider audiences.

A key feature of geographical information is that it is localized, relating to individual parts of Earth’s surface. Geography involves recording such information, in particular on maps—hence its close links with cartography. For centuries the locations of places were only inexactly known. Where to plot information on maps was frequently debated, as was drawing and demarcating boundaries around claimed territories. These debates were only resolved with more accurate and standardized cartographic practices. Meanwhile, collections of maps were assembled and published in atlases, a term first used by the 16th-century Flemish surveyor and cartographer Gerardus Mercator (Gerhard de Cremer) for his collection of maps of northern Europe, published in 1595; the first collection of maps of the world, Epitome of the Theatre of the World (1570), was produced by Mercator’s contemporary, the Belgian cartographer Abraham Ortelius. The science of surveying was employed to make detailed large-scale maps of the land surface; notable was the work of the Cassini family, in France, spanning more than a century, which was the basis for the world’s first national atlas, published in 1791.

Thus, the evolving practice of geography involved mapping the world, drawing outlines of what heretofore were terrae incognitae, and filling them in with details about their physical environments and the people inhabiting them. Such geographical advances depended on improvements not only in cartography but also in astronomy, which was vital for navigation. Methods for determining latitude and longitude and measuring elevations and distances were refined and were of great value to navigators and explorers and their sponsors. Many expeditions, such as those of James Cook in the second half of the 18th century, conducted scientific experiments that enabled advances in navigation and cartography and collected samples of flora and fauna that were used to classify knowledge about the natural world—as in the pioneering work of the 18th-century French naturalist Georges-Louis Leclerc, comte de Buffon. These links between geography, exploration, cartography, and astronomy have been maintained, appearing as the first sections of many contemporary atlases (with maps of the heavens along with terrestrial phenomena such as climate).

Issues In Urban Geography

As information accumulated, a new branch of geography was established by the late Middle Ages, called chorography (or chorology). Books describing the then known world were used in geographical instruction at universities and elsewhere. Geography was not a separate discipline but was taught within established subjects such as mathematics and natural philosophy, in large part because it was of great importance to nation building and commerce. Among the early geography books were Nathaniel Carpenter’s Geography Delineated Forth in Two Bookes (1625) and the German scholar Bernhardus Varenius’s Geographia Generalis (1650), which was revised and republished several times in the following century. Canadian geographer O.F.G. (George) Sitwell’s catalog lists 993 different books in “special” (i.e., systematic) geography published between 1481 and 1887 in the English language; Lesley Cormack identified more than 550 geography books in the libraries of the Universities of Cambridge and Oxford in the period from 1580 to 1620.

Geography was practiced and taught largely because its information was valuable—notably for traders, those who invested in them, and the statesmen who supported both groups. By the early 19th century there was great demand for information and knowledge about the world. To aid commercial enterprises aimed at exploiting its resources and peoples, governments became involved in colonial ventures, annexing land beyond their frontiers, providing administrators and military protection, and encouraging settlement. All such endeavours required geographical information, including accurate maps. Increasingly, governments became directly involved in these activities, as with the U.S. government’s sponsorship of major expeditions to the country’s expanding western frontier and the establishment of national mapping agencies around the world.

Human Geography Research Topics

Geographical societies were established in many European and North American cities in the early 19th century to share and disseminate information. Among the first were those founded in Paris (1821), Berlin (1828), London (1830), St. Petersburg (1845), and New York City (1851). Many of the European societies had royal patronage and strong support from the mercantile, diplomatic, and military classes. They collated and published information, sponsored expeditions, and held regular meetings, at which returning explorers might present their findings or participate in debates over technical issues such as mapping. These societies were central to the 19th-century mercantile and imperial ethos.