The Vernacular Neighborhoods of Jacksonville, Florida: Can GIS Help Determine their Boundaries?


  • John W. McEwen


As geographers, we classify and describe regions based on their physical and cultural characteristics, and how those characteristics interact with each other. There are several distinct types of regions including: formal, functional and perceptual. Formal regions can be defined by their internal sameness such as similar demographics, voting habits or language. Functional regions are marked by an internal structure and usually are focused on a central location such as a city which may receive raw materials from outlying farms and rural areas and, in turn') supply its surrounding suburbs and outlying cities with goods and services (de Blij and Mulier, 1997). Vernacular regions are based on peoples" perceptions. The regions themselves call be defined by the people who live there and how they characterize themselves and their culture. For example,  "Northerner" may be from the Midwest while a "Southerner" might hail from Dixie and may have different ideas about each other and themselves based on their perceptions of each others regions.