Concept of Formal and Functional Regions and Territorial Studies!

Formal Region – The discussion in this article uses the term region, so we first need to understand and understand precisely the definition of area, to avoid an incomplete understanding of the actual concept. Many ideas and thoughts about the concept of area have emerged, but the reality shows that there is still confusion and disagreement about the meaning of the area itself.

This condition actually reflects the diversity of scientific disciplines involved in regional studies. The discussion on the concept of territory includes discussion on identifying areas, namely how to determine the boundaries of an area.

Questions that arise, for example, what are the differences between one region and another? What is the meaning of this difference? Are the differences between regions fixed or can they change? Why can some areas be said to be homogeneous? Or, why are some regions composed of certain characteristics?

Do the boundaries of the area appear naturally, even though there is no human intervention? Or do boundaries actually do not exist and those boundaries that seem to “exist” are the creations of the human mind? All of these questions will be tried to be answered in this article, including various terms that are closely related to the region.

Any place, environment, surroundings, country, continent, city, village, and various other forms of a place on this earth can be referred to as a “territory”. Referring to the Big Indonesian Dictionary (KBBI), several terms that will be reviewed include area, district, area, land, environment, space, regional, region, and zone. Each of these terms is described in detail below.

Regional Studies in Indonesia

Region (noun) has meaning, namely:

  • The part of the earth’s surface related to natural conditions and its special features;
  • Government environment, the area of ​​the environment where it is used for special purposes, and the area;
  • Places surrounding or included in the environment of a city (region);
  • Places in an environment that are the same or homogeneous (climate, livelihood);
  • Places that experience the same event;
  • Surface part of the body.

As for the district (noun), it has two meanings, namely:

  • A part of a city or country that is divided for a specific purpose, region;
  • The area is part of a regency whose administration is led by an assistant regent; kawedanan.

In relation to the two meanings above, the notion of district is only relevant when the kawedanan system is still in effect. Therefore, in the absence of a kawedanan system, the definition of district above is no longer appropriate to use.

Area (noun) is defined as a specific area that has a specific function. For example, bonded zones, which are defined as certain areas that are bound (affected by) special customs regulations.

Land (noun) is defined as open land or arable land. For example arable land which means agricultural land to be worked on.

The environment (noun) is formed from the verb environment, which means to provide a boundary (fence) around it, while the environment according to KBBI contains four meanings, namely:

  • The area included in it;
  • Part of the area within the kelurahan which is the work environment for implementing village administration;
  • Class, circle;
  • Anything that affects the growth of humans or animals.

Territory (noun) which is the keyword in this article has two meanings, namely an area (power, government, supervision) and a regional environment (province, district, and kawedanan). It should be remembered that the word environment means “boundary”, so that regional environment means an area with certain boundaries, such as provinces, districts and cities.

Meanwhile, according to the National Spatial Coordinating Board (2002), a region is defined as a space which is a geographical unit along with all elements related to it whose boundaries and systems are determined based on administrative and/or functional aspects. There is one word that is closely related to the term territory, namely territorial , which is defined by KBBI as part of the territory (law) of a country.

Based on the description above, it appears that the term area has a more general meaning than the terms area, environment and region. In its development, besides having the seven meanings as described earlier, the term “region” also contains the opposite meaning of the word “centre”. This is related to the second meaning in KBBI as mentioned above. Therefore, it is often felt that it is inappropriate to call a particular environment a region, so the term area is not used in the context of this article.

Regardless of whether this definition is correct or not, the reality is that we often use the term area to refer to a particular area or environment. This habit emerged as a result of the application of a centralized system for quite a long time in Indonesia. In a centralized system, the use of the terms “center” and “region” indicates the perception that the center is seen as superior to the regions.

Apart from the dichotomous issue above, some parties prefer to view the term area as a unit that can be clearly identified and referred to as “natural areas”. Meanwhile for other parties, the area is just a result of the imagination in the form of classification.

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The Concept of Formal Areas and Functional Areas

1. Formal Territory

A formal region is a geographical area that is uniform or homogeneous according to certain criteria, so the concept of this region is often referred to as the concept of a homogeneous region (homogeneous region concept ). The parts within an area are considered to have a certain uniformity. The various uniformity criteria used here are predetermined .

An area is said to have homogeneous characteristics if there are certain characteristics that are generally accepted and can be applied to all parts of the region. Homogeneous characteristics can be in the form of similarities in economic activity, geographical conditions or socio-cultural conditions. Initially, the criteria used in defining formal areas referred to physical characteristics such as topography, climate or vegetation, and were linked to the concept of geographical determination; Natural boundaries are the main factors that limit a region.

Subsequent developments show changes using economic criteria, such as areas that generally have the largest industrial or agricultural activity, and even then also use various social and political criteria, such as the tendency of political party choice.

Natural area is defined as a formal area physically. Attention to the shape of this area arises partly from the fact that physical (geographical) factors tend to be more stable than other factors, such as the economy (which is more dynamic). Therefore, the use of physical factors will make it much easier to study the area. However, in view of explaining territory according to physical factors, it is actually much influenced by the thought of the Theory of Evolution put forward by Darwin.

In line with Darwin’s concept of natural selection, geographers believe that human survival depends on its ability to adapt to the environment in which it lives. That is why the opinion emerged that in order to gain a proper understanding of the environment, humans must study the physical environment in which they are located.

Formal economic areas are generally determined based on the role of the dominant economic sector in an area, such as the oil and gas mining area in Bontang or the oil palm plantation area in Kisaran, without neglecting the physical characteristics of the area.

Stamp and Beaver’s formal division of the British economy was carried out by dividing England into 19 agricultural areas and 13 industrial areas (Glasson, 1990). Various attempts were made later to determine the boundaries of the formal economic area based on criteria such as income level, unemployment rate and economic growth rate.

For example, the division of the North West region in England was carried out by DM Smith which divided the area according to multiple socio economic criteria (Glasson, 1990). In this effort, Smith uses a multivariate method to identify regional divisions.

There is a problem in the application of this concept, which allows that the uniformity obtained according to one criterion may actually be inhomogeneous when using other criteria. For example, there is an area that is formed due to similarities in economic activity, namely industry. However, within these areas the level of public education varies greatly.

If policy makers in the region want to make policies that encourage the growth of the high-tech industrial sector, even though some of the education community is not in accordance with high-tech industrialization, you can imagine the failure that will occur.

It is not possible to transform society’s education quickly because generally investment in human resources takes a long time. As a result, the development of the region is not in accordance with what was previously expected.

The concept of a homogeneous region requires that the uniformity criteria within an area are indeed more dominant than the differences in that region. Therefore, this concept is of interest to experts who use a lot of non-spatial analysis techniques, such as regional macroeconomists and neoclassical analysts.

According to the regional macroeconomic model, there is a view that the growth of a region as a whole is more important than just the growth that occurs in certain parts of the region. Thus, a national economy can be seen as a collection of separate spaces called regions, but regions must have certain homogeneous characteristics.

This is what causes something called spatial frictions to occur , namely differences within one region are ignored, while differences between regions are allowed.

2. Functional Area

The functional region is sometimes referred to as the nodal region or the polarized region and is defined as a geographic region that exhibits a certain functional coherence (central tendency), and there is interdependence among its parts.

That is, homogeneity within one region is no longer used as a criterion for establishing a region. The parts that exist in one area are heterogeneous, such as cities and villages, but have functional relationships so that the two become interrelated. Therefore, it is possible that in an area that is administratively defined as a city, there are non -urbanized areas .

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A more detailed discussion on urban areas will be carried out separately in the module on urban areas which has been studied by several other researchers. These functional relationships are usually seen in the form of movement of goods, services, and people from one part to another within one area.

For example, travel to work or to places of shopping that have access to connecting work centers (eg businesses or processing industries) and shopping (markets, malls and shops) with subsidiary centers, such as housing.

Likewise, it can be seen that there is a flow of students (students) from a subsidiary area to educational centers (universities, academies, places of courses). The concept of this functional area has been widely used by regional experts, arguing that the establishment of a functional area is explicitly capable of dealing with various problems within an area and prioritizing the spatial dimension in its analysis.

Population and industry are not spread evenly across space, but gather (agglomerate) in certain locations. This tendency for agglomeration can be seen at all levels of spatial aggregation (regional level). Meanwhile, at the national level, there are core regions with high population density, a large number of processing industries, and a high level of urbanization compared to other regions, whereas in each region there are dominant cities (nodes), namely cities that are destinations . the flow of various inputs, goods, people, and communications, while within the city itself there are smaller cores that become business or social centers, and are easy to distinguish at a glance when looking at a density map of a metropolis and its surroundings.

Meanwhile, at the regional level, regions are viewed as consisting of various nodes that differ in size (cities, towns, and rural areas) that are functionally linked together. As previously mentioned, functional linkages are reflected in the movement of people, goods and communications. The degree of association (connectedness) between the various centers is measured by the direction and magnitude of flow measures (eg, telephone calls, commuting flows , and trade flows).

So, what is observed is the direction and intensity of the flow. The greater the attractiveness of these nodes , the greater the intensity of the flow towards them. If we want to include an area in one region, there are criteria that need to be answered, concerning whether the area has stronger nodes in that region than other nodes outside the region.

Each region will have one or more nodes , and dominance principles can be used to determine whether peripheral areas fall within the boundaries of that region or into other regions.

One of the pioneers of the nodal area concept, Ebeneezer Howard, after World War II argued that the solution to problems in managing large cities such as London, lay in the development of new clusters of cities linked to the central city according to functional relationships.

The emphasis on functional relationships was also put forward by Patrick Geddes by introducing a
place-work-folk ” diagram scheme. In addition, Geddes also introduced the term ‘city-region’, which later became the most widely used term for nodal areas. Research on nodal areas can take the form of a deductive approach or an inductive approach.

An example of the nodal area approach is the concept of functional economic area ( FEA ) developed by Karl Fox (Richardson, 1979). The FEA concept describes several types of criteria for determining the boundaries of an area, namely the criteria for determining the most important boundaries by measuring the area of ​​the commuting area .

Thus, FEA is defined as a city area that functions as a nodal, that is, the determination of the city boundary is based on the outer commuting limits . According to this concept, the national economy is divided based on a system consisting of several regions ( system of regions ), that is, each FEA region functions as a nodal region.

Some of the problems related to the FEA concept include the passage of a decentralized system in England, the concept of commuting boundaries surrounding a CBD ( central business district ) becomes vague. However, it turned out to be quite difficult to determine these limits. Political and administrative boundaries cannot be easily changed to follow the boundaries according to FEA, even if the concept is widely accepted.

This means that there is a difference between politically determined administrative boundaries and regional boundaries that have high functional economic linkages, for example, economically the area of ​​Jakarta actually includes Tangerang, Depok and Bekasi. However, administratively the area is separate. As a result, the preparation of integrated regional planning becomes difficult to realize.

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