What is geographical space? Definition, Examples & Characteristics

We explain what a geographical space is and what its components are. In addition, characteristics, examples, and how they are classified.

Geography is a set of facts, relationships, and concepts that concern Space. The concept of location (topos) is one of the fundamental ones for geography, which is defined as the place, action, or process of putting someone in a certain position. In a very basic setting, locations are simplified to point locations.

  1. What is geographical space?

In geography, geographical space is understood as the specific way in which a society is organized in the physical space it occupies; or to the physical space itself, once it has been organized by a specific society.

Said in simpler terms, this concept refers to the way in which societies interrelate with their environment, structured in various “ landscapes ”: natural, humanized, agrarian, industrial, urban, and so on. It can be used as a synonym for territory.

In this way, when studying the geographical space of a society, we must refer to its economic, political, social, and cultural organization; elements that in geography are usually represented as a set of nodes, lines, areas, or flows, as stipulated by spatial analysis.

Therefore, some dynamics are static and stable (such as land use), while others are mobile and fluid (such as transport).

This concept is used in the different schools of geography, although more widely in human geography. Its logic is usually to start from the visible, to show the processes that gave rise to it and the dynamics that, present or absent, built the landscape that is observed.

  1. Types of geographic space

There is no specific typology of geographical spaces since these can be of as many types as they have characteristics. However, it is usually distinguished, based on the degree of human participation in the formation of a particular space, between:

  • Intervened in geographical spaces. Those in which human activity of any kind has been indispensable for the construction of geographical space, as is the case with cities.
  • Geographical spaces have not intervened. Those who are alien in their constitution to the activities of humanity, such as a desert, for example.
  1. Geographical space characteristics

cumulative geographical space rome urban city
The geographical space is cumulative, that is, it contains traces of its own history.

The geographical space encompasses two fundamental perspectives:

  • Location perspective: refers to the location, that is, the geographical location.
  • Ecological perspective: refers to the beings that inhabit it.

Each is considered a system in operation in space, thus allowing three different forms of study: spatial analysis, landscape analysis, and ecological-environmental analysis.

On the other hand, the geographical space is cumulative, that is, it contains in itself the traces of its own history, which can be traced in its future in a similar way as biologists do with the evolutionary process. That is to say that the traces of the previous societies modify the geographical space and make it unique, as well as the dynamics of the current societies.

There is also the possibility that elements from different historical times overlap in geographical space, say, medieval and modern elements, or industrial and post-industrial. This concept is being transformed by the dynamics of the information society of the 21st century, to give rise to new forms of territoriality, such as digital.

  1. Components of the geographical space

The following components are attributed to the geographical space:

  • Natural. Those who obviously do not depend on the intrusion of human beings, but respond to nature. Mountains, valleys, lakes, and seas, are examples of this.
  • Social. Those who come, instead, from human activities that concern the dynamics of creating a community, such as religious activities, nationalities, states themselves, etc.
  • Political. Those that derive from the way in which power is organized in human society, that is, that respond to pacts, agreements, or historical impositions, such as the delimitation of the nations of the planet, the socio-political organization of their territories, etc.
  • Economic. Those are the result of the numerous dynamics of production and consumption that humanity carries out to meet its own needs, such as capital flows, social classes, etc.
  • Cultural. Those that come from the particular way of seeing the world that a human community preserves over generations, such as local traditions, language, gastronomy, etc.
  1. Examples of geographical space

geographical space mountain range
A geographical space can be an entire mountain range.

The concept of geographical space can be so broad that it is often complex to point to examples without being obvious. A house can be a geographical space, as well as the city in which it is located, the valley in which the city was built, or the entire mountain range of which said valley is part.

On a larger scale, the region of the country where the mountain range is located, the entire country, the continent where it is located, or the entire globe, can also be considered geographical space. Everything will depend on the perspective and the specific interests of the moment.

Back to top button