In this article, You will read Types of Regions in Regional Planning – for UPSC (Human Geography – Geography Optional).

Types of Regions (Classification of Regions)

  • Regions are classified on the basis of selected criteria and purpose or goal.
  • Primarily they are classified as
    • Naïve region: It is a mental construct/ idealistic and hypothetical and subjective in nature (e.g. backward region).
    • Instituted region
    • Denoted region or Planning region
  • Several geographers have worked on the typology of regions. Typology approach is also known as classical approach divides the region into Single aspect region
    • Multiple aspect region
    • Regions of totality
    • Functional regions
  • Regions can also be classified as
    • Regions based on the physical character
    • Regions based on cultural character
    • Regions based on an amalgamation of physical and cultural variables
  • Regions can also be classified on the basis of scale for Multi-Level Planning
    • Macro-Macro level for studying a whole nation or state
    • Macro-level for studying states within a nation
    • Meso level for studying districts
    • Micro-level for studying city/village
    • Micro minor level for studying a particular sector or household
  • Based on Areal homogeneity regions can be classified into
    • Physical region: It includes land, soil, climate, vegetation, etc. For example Tropical region, Savanna region, Black soil region, Downs, etc.
    • Economic region: It includes industrial regions, agricultural regions, services, etc., for example, Special Economic Zones, Great North Indian Plains.
    • Cultural region: the demarcation of the cultural region is based on language, religion, etc. For example Hindi heartland, tribal regions, etc
    • Campage Regions with more than one feature showing areal homogeneity. The above regions were demarcated based on a single feature but in Campage more than one features are selected.
  • Based on Areal Linkages regions can be classified into
    • Nodal region: Here there is one dominant urban centre around which smaller urban/rural areas develop.
    • Axial region: It is the region that develops along a corridor and performs a special function. E.g. DMIC along National Highway 8
    • Adhoc region: they are transitional regions not on a permanent basis, and are generally backward regions. Here planning is done with a specific purpose in order to develop the particular region.
  • Now a day a more comprehensive approach is followed for better planning and development.
Types of Regions in Regional Planning
Classification of Regions upsc

Naïve regions

  • These are largely mental constructs and they are perceived section of space
  • These have ill-defined boundaries or transitional zone or no boundaries.
  • The criteria selected for demarcation are abstract and such regions are more fanciful.
  • Such regions don’t have a well-structured association of region-building elements and they are vaguely identified.
  • An example of the above is the cultural region because culture can’t be defined in precise terms and within a cultural region, elements of culture have contradictions like marriage rituals vary within the culture.
  • The regions get their name by people living outside the region e.g. Mithila, Avadh, etc.
  • These naïve regions are further classified as
    • Metaphysical region: They don’t exist in reality and more based on philosophy. E.g. concept of heaven/hell, the Marxist idea of the utopian society.
    • World/physical regions: They are identifiable, observable but can never be confined within a lined boundary. They are largely transitional. E.g. cultural region Mithila, Avadh, etc.

Instituted region

  • Instituted regions are perhaps the most familiar to the lay public. Open any atlas and the pages are cluttered with them.
  • They are created by authorities within some organization—for example, national, state, or local governments, religious organizations, private businesses, and so on.
  • These are bounded by administrative boundaries like district or state.
  • The regions are created so that the organization can more easily administer whatever activity it is engaged in, whether carrying out planning for the future, collecting revenues, assembling data, or the like. Once instituted, these regions are recognized as existing entities and have boundaries that are clearly demarcated, on paper if not always on the ground; these are usually, but not always, agreed on by everyone.
  • Boundaries can be drawn and areas can be demarcated (have empirical stats and not mind-dependent)
  • The criteria selected are quantifiable and concise. Such regions are institutionalized and can have legal sanctions.
  • Systems of instituted regions are often hierarchical; that is, they nest within one another.

Denoted region or Planning region

  • Maps of denoted regions are commonly found in geographic and other academic writings. They are created by scholars, perhaps most frequently by geographers, in order to reduce the complexity of the real world so that it can better be understood.
  • These are identified by regionalization technique, they are also called planning regions.
  • For this reason, they might also usefully be designated as pedagogical regions. The process of creating denoted regions (regionalization) is exactly analogous to the process of classification. When any area (a piece of space) is being divided into regions, what is actu­ally happening is that the places that make up that space are being grouped together because they have something in common.
  • It is important to note that such regions are entirely the product of the mind of the person who has created them and have no independent existence.
  • Planning Region can be regarded as a district area unit, large and self-contained enough to support life in it and yet small enough to facilitate the understanding of unique local problems.
  • It is a unified regional space for which planning decisions are applied (e.g. backward area planning, desert area development plan, etc.)
  • It is the segment of territory over which economic decisions apply.
  • It may be formal or functional or a combination of both, such regions display coherence of economic decisions.
  • Denoted, or pedagogical, regions are of two kinds. Uniform regions, sometimes called formal, are homogeneous (or uniform) with respect to certain selected phenomena, and Nodal regions, sometimes called functional are also denoted but differ from uniform regions in that the places included in them are defined as similar not because they are homogeneous with respect to certain selected criteria but rather because they are all tied to the same central place by the movement of people, ideas, and things. In other words, they all experience more spatial interaction with the same central place or node than they do with any other.
    • Formal regions:
      • These regions have certain fixed criteria
      • The criteria may be physical. E.g. (topography climate, vegetation) or economic like industrial or agricultural (income, rate of unemployment, rate of economic growth) or cultural (language, central India tribal belt)
      • They are largely fixed and static.
      • They are identifiable by their composition or assemblage of the phenomenon.
      • Example –
        • Natural regions like Savanna, rain forest.
        • Linguistic regions
        • The bioclimatic region, Physiographic region, economic region, hydrological region
    • Functional region:
      • It is a geographical area that displays a certain functional coherence i.e. interdependence of parts.
      • It is composed of heterogeneous units such as towns, cities, and villages which are functionally interrelated and working as a system
      • The relationships are usually studied in form of flow (functional flow between towns and villages). For e.g. journey to work trips or shopping trips, the flow of goods and services, communication, etc.
      • Thus, they have flow patterns (flow of goods and services from village to towns) and development of nodes (city and village acts as nodes of flow).
      • The criteria taken for the identification of functional region is objective and identifiable e.g. Industrial region, Metropolitan region, Tourism region, Administrative region, Political region, tribal area development, etc.
      • Nodal region comprises of the node or core or hub which connects all activities and unifies the region e.g. Mumbai is a node and the sprawling region have interdependency to the node.
  • They are suitable for designing and implementing development plans for dealing with regional plans, for dealing with regional problems such as metropolitan or city region, river valley region, axial region (DMIC), transitional/depressed region (e.g. KalahandiBolangir-Koraput (KBK) region).
  • According to C.R. Pathak and Amitabh Kundu, a planning region should have the following characteristics:
    • It should be large enough to contain a range of resources, conditions, and attributes so as to serve the desired degree of economic viability and at the same time not too large to make a comprehensive approach too general (should not lose its uniqueness).
    • It should have a fairly homogeneous economic structure as well as topographical and socio-cultural homogeneity (e.g. KBK region).
    • A balance is needed between homogeneity, nodality, and administrative convergence while delimiting a region.
    • Planning regions should be internally cohesive.
    • Resource should be such that a satisfactory level of product combination for consumption and exchange is feasible.
    • It should have few nodal points, to regulate geographically contiguous areal units (e.g. KBK region of Orissa).
    • Planning Regions are generally arranged in hierarchical patterns such as Macro, Meso, Micro, etc. Here the bottom-up approach is followed for planning purposes (e.g. village to block to district).
Physical region
Physical region
Natural Region of the world upsc ias
Natural Region
cultural region
Cultural region
economic regions of the world
economic regions
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The efforts made by the Writter of this material is great and awesome….tnq

Afzal Ali

yar shabd kam pad rahen hain aapko dhanyawad dene me




Covered every aspect of the topic. Great work