Changing the nature of physical geography


  • Ken J. Gregory


Developments in physical geography since 1985 include not only continuation of pre‑existing trends towards quantification, model building, process in­vestigations, human impact and applications, but also changes prompted by the range of new techniques available, the original branches becoming less clearly defined, and the development of integrating themes. Advances in re­mote sensing, geographical information systems and information technology have enabled a more global approach; a second new development has been the advent of a more culturally‑based approach throughout many branches of physical geography. By 2000 a series of issues can be identified including the increasingly hol istic trend, greater awareness of a global approach and of environmental change problems, and of the timely opportunities which can arise from closer links with human geography and with other disciplines. Extrapo­lating present trends provides an optimistic picture for physical geography in­volving four trends which require a more integrated approach, greater con­cern for environmental futures and closer links to human geography and clos­er links to other disciplines. As physical geography evolves reflecting these trends it is suggested that pluralist approaches will be an increasing feature so that departments in individual institutions of higher education will become increasingly distinctive according to the links that they have with other disci­plines and to the expertise of their staff.

Research Papers



How to Cite

Gregory, K. J. (2001). Changing the nature of physical geography. Fennia - International Journal of Geography, 179(1), 9–19. Retrieved from