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Evaluate the contribution of Paul Vidal De LA Blache to development of regional geography in France


Evaluate the contribution of Paul Vidal De LA Blache to the development of regional geography in France. ( 15 Marks, UPPSC,-2018)

Regional geography is a branch of human geography that emphasized the interaction between the human culture system and the environment in a particular landscape at the local level.
The founder of French human geography, Paul Vidal de LA Blache was born in 1845 and died in 1918. He has contributed every field of human geography but major contributions on two field in human geography:
  • In the development of possibilism thought and he was against the environment deterministic.
  • In regional geography.

Contributions of Paul Vidal de LA in regional geography:
  • As per Vidal de la  Blache, Social system or cultural system are created by people and the cultural system is closely related to adapt and cultivate the environment.
  • He emphasized understanding the interaction of culture and nature. He challenged the traditional environmental determinism thought.
  • Each social system in a particular region has particular habits, techniques, social, economical structure that are evolved to deals with problems arises over the physical environment to survive. For example
    • temperate and polar regions people make a home with the slanting roof to overcome the collection of ice at the roof. 
    • In flood areas region, people prefer to make a home in uphill land to overcame water logging problems. 
    • Desert region, people prefer to make the home with thick walls and roof to overcome with heatwave problems.
  • The above is an example of house development, In the same way social, food, techniques, etc also different in different physical environments region.
  • Vidal de LA Blache asserted, it is best to study geographical phenomena at the local level. As opportunity offered by nature is different in different locality and different inhabitants explore that resources in a different way.
  • He also asserted, there should not be generalized and assumed that the given environment implies the same way of life to all people. The different social system has a different way of life and gradual modifications are needed for survivals.
  • He depicted the variation in the landscape of France.
  • He emphasized to study and demarcation of bioclimatic zones.
  • No single landscape has significance on its own itself, it is a result of a sequence of events.

The idea of regional geography was given by Vidal De La  Blache from 1845 to 1918 is still relevant today. Regional geography helps to economic, political, social planning at the local level. Based on this philosophy, economic planning such as northeast development, hill area development, island development, least development areas, demarcation of the bio-climatic zone, preservation of diversity are can be seen in India.

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