Universitat Internacional de Catalunya

Human Geography

Human Geography
Second semester
Human and cultural development
Main language of instruction: Spanish

Other languages of instruction: Catalan

Teaching staff

Before each session.


This course is a brief history and evolution of geographical thought and its main schools and approaches (determinism, possibilism, etc.), highlighting geography as a scientific discipline.

We will also approach the theoretical foundations of geography of population, economic geography, rural geography, geography of tourism and urban geography, making a special emphasis on the latter.

Critical thinking is encouraged in order to analyse the relationships between humans and the territorial structures that they created: cities, croplands, states and infrastructures. Focus will also be placed on the relationship between human activities, landscape and natural environment.

Pre-course requirements

They are not required


That students develop a sense of place, curiosity towards the geographical environment and interest in seeking explanations for the phenomena and territorial, social and cultural processes of the world around them.

That the students are able to evaluate and analyze the transformations and impacts that the human imprint has left on the territories and landscapes, being able to argue about how these transformations have taken place, when and why.

That the students can identify and value some whys of the main economic, demographic, political and social problems that affect the world and reflect on the possible causes.


  • E02 - Ability to use methods and techniques specific to human sciences.
  • E05 - Ability to evaluate social issues linked to cultural diversity.
  • E06 - Awareness of and respect for different points of view resulting from cultural and social diversity.
  • E20 - Ability to reflect on human-environment interaction and the organisation of the resulting territory.
  • E24 - Ability to present the results of research project in accordance with the standards of each subject area.
  • E26 - Ability to read and write texts in one's own language and other languages, as well as transcribe, summarise and categorise pertinent information.
  • G02 - To lead, cooordinate and form part of interdisciplinary work teams.
  • G03 - To search for and/or administer economic resources within the framework of an institution or company, or a cultural programmes, project or service.
  • G04 - To know how to communicate, encourage and mediate between the various agents involved in a cultural project, programme or service.
  • G07 - To know how to apply and adapt to new technologies in processes of cultural management, production and dissemination.
  • G08 - Ability to carry out research.
  • G11 - Ability to work in an international context.


1. Introduction. Origins of geography

1.1. Definitions. What we know about the world. General descriptions.

1.2. History of the knowledge of the world. First geographers, travellers and explorers: from Herodotus to Magallanes through Marco Polo.

1.3. The great explorations of the 19th and 20th centuries. From the heart of Africa to the Moon in a century: Livingstone, Amundsen, Hillary, Piccard...

2. Geographical Schools

2.1. Pioneers: Humboldt, Ritter and Ratzel. The scientific method in geography.

2.2. French school: possibilism. Anglo-Saxon school: determinism.

Huntington’s reading: Civilisation and climate.

2.3. The theoretical-quantitative thinkers. Walter Christaller. Radical geography.

2.4. Geographies of postmodernity. Theory of non-places.

3. Geography of the population

3.1. The distribution of the population. Concentration and dispersion, history of the settlement of the planet. From the Palaeolithic to the information age (agricultural revolution, industrial revolution, technological revolution...).

3.2. The growth of the population: birth rates, fertility rates, mortality rates. The demographic transition.

3.3. Structure of the population. Analysis and study of population pyramids.

3.4. Migrations and movements of the population throughout history.

3.5. Future projections.

4. Economic geography

4.1. The old regime. Colonial empires. Neo-colonialism, the centre-periphery economic model.

4.2. Development and underdevelopment. Globalisation. Industrial relocation.

4.3. Rural geography. Agricultural landscapes: agriculture, agroindustry and food production to the world. Food sovereignty.

4.4. Geography of tourism. Tourist landscapes of before and now. Touristic destinations. The tourist flows in the world.

5. Urban geography

5.1. What is the city? The urban fact. Urbanisation. Towards an urban world.

5.2. The pre-industrial city, the industrial city. City and modernity. The global city.

5.3. The urban hierarchy, theory of the central place. Networks of cities. Concept of urban area, metropolitan area, metropolitan region. Trains, highways and airports; geography of transport. Maps and graphs.

5.4. Plans and urban projects.

5.5. Analysis of some examples. Barcelona and Cerdà’s Eixample (option of excursion).

5.6. Main city models in the world: the European city, the American city. Diffuse city and fragmented city. The global city. The unreal city.

5.7. Study of some cases: Mega-cities of the world.

6. Environment. The human response to the environmental challenge

6.1. Definitions (environmentalism, environment...). Main anthropic impacts on the environment. New visions of the world and nature.

6.2. Sustainability and global actions. NGOs. Rio Conference. Brundtland Report. Kyoto Protocol.

Evaluation systems and criteria

In person

40% Essay on the student’s city of choice (25% written essay/15% oral presentation).

20% Other small essays, homework and presentations.

40% Final exam (must be passed).


According to faculty regulations, at least 0.10 points will be deducted for each misspelling in exams and papers.

Bibliography and resources


Paul Claval: Evolución de la geografía humana. Editorial: Oikos-tau, s.a. (1996). ISBN 9788428107976

Marco Polo: Libro de las maravillas del mundo. Editorial: Cátedra (2008). ISBN 9788437624686

Marc Augé (1993). Los no lugares: Espacios del anonimato, antropología de la sobremodernidad. Gedisa

Coleman, David (2006) “Immigration and ethnic change in low-fertility countries: a third demographic transition”. 

Massimo Livi Bacci (2002): História mínima de la población mundial. Editorial Ariel

A.E.J. Morris, Gustavo Gili (2001). Historia de la forma urbana: desde sus orígenes hasta la revolución industrial.  Editoral: Gustavo Gili

Soja, Edward (2008). Postmetroplis: estudios críticos sobre las ciudades y las regiones. Editorial traficantes de sueños


VV.AA. (2011) Atlas geopolítico. Le  monde diplomáticas Editorial Cybermonde


Albet, Abel y Benejam, Pilar (2000). Una geografía humana renovada: lugares y regiones en un mundo global. Instituto de Ciencias de Educación, Vicens Vives, UniversidadAutónoma de Barcel ola

Carles Carreres y Verdaguer (1998). Geografía humana. Ediciones Universitat de Barcelona


Yves Lacoste (2009). Geopolítica. La larga  historia del presento. Editorial Síntesis


Joe Sacco (2012). Reportajes. Editorial Mondadori