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Last edited 28 Apr 2022
In general, a region is defined as being an area of land that has common features and characteristics, and is a concept that is useful for describing spatial areas. Regions are often referred to as being the basic units of geography.
Regions are not necessarily defined by boundaries; geographic regions and sub-regions are typically defined by imprecise boundaries that can sometimes be transitory. However, in human geography, regions are typically defined by areas of jurisdiction such as national, county or city borders.
Regions are often expressed as being part of the spatial hierarchy; global, national, regional, local. The regions of England are commonly considered to comprise; South East, London, North West, East of England, West Midlands, South West, Yorkshire and the Humber, East Midlands, North East.
Devolution is the granting of powers away from central government to a sub-national level, such as regional or local, enabling the creation of legislation specific to that particular area. It is a form of decentralisation that provides territories with greater autonomy and independent responsibility. For more information, see Devolution.
In a built environment, regions can be referred to in relation to masterplanning or devising policy for urban regeneration or development. A strategic masterplan might identify how an entire region could be regenerated or changed in order to meet a perceived challenge. For more information, see Masterplanning.
NB Spatial development glossary, European Conference of Ministers responsible for Spatial/Regional Planning (CEMAT), Territory and landscape, No 2, published by Council of Europe Publishing in 2007, states:
The concept of region is a multi-dimensional one which may refer to:
- a geographical area which has a strong natural identity and homogeneity (for instance mountain or coastal region);
- a territory with a significant economic identity or homogeneity (for instance a space which is polarised around a metropolitan area, an area characterises by specific activities such as manufacturing industries);
- a political-administrative unit governed by an elected regional assembly or administered by representatives of the national administration;
- a territory with a particular cultural identity and history (regional language and culture, etc.).
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