Acta Geographica Sinica ›› 2018, Vol. 73 ›› Issue (7): 1204-1213.doi: 10.11821/dlxb201807002

• Theoretical Frontiers • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Geography complexity: New connotations of geography in the new era

SONG Changqing1,2,CHENG Changxiu1,2,3,SHI Peijun1,2,3   

  1. 1. State Key Laboratory of Earth Surface Processes and Resource Ecology, Beijing Normal University, Beijing 100875, China
    2. Faculty of Geographical Science, Beijing Normal University, Beijing 100875, China
    3. Key Laboratory of Environmental Change and Natural Disaster, Beijing Normal University, Beijing 100875, China
  • Received:2018-06-01 Online:2018-07-25 Published:2018-07-13
  • Supported by:
    National Natural Science Foundation of China, No.41771537;Talent Start Project of Beijing Normal University


Since the 20th century, geography came into being with distinctive disciplinary characteristics by sustained effort of geographers. This paper puts forward predicament from cognitive and thought in the new era, and depicts new geographic characteristics from five aspects: new technology, new orders, new data, new approaches and new driving factors. According to new content of geo-regionality and new approaches of geo-comprehensiveness, the paper proposes that complexity research would be a successful new path in geography, and the complexity would be the third characteristic of geography. Then, the paper details some complex spatial patterns, complex time processes and complex spatio-temporal mechanisms in geography research. Based on the concept of a geographic complex system, this paper presents core issues and corresponding complex research tools. Finally, the paper puts forward new challenges and new requirements for geography in the new era.

Key words: geography complexity, complex spatial pattern, complex time process, complex spatio-temporal mechanism, new connotations of geography