The rationale underlying applied geography is based on the particular philosophy of relevance or social usefulness that focuses on the application of geographical knowledge and skills to advance the resolution of realworld social, economic, and environmental problems. Rather than being considered as a ‘subarea’ of geography, (akin to economic, social, or historical geography), applied geography refers to an ‘approach’ that crosscuts artificial disciplinary boundaries to involve problemoriented research in both human and physical geography. Applied geographers are active across the human-physical geography divide and in most subareas of the discipline. Applied geography is a socially relevant approach to the study of the relationship between people and their environments.
The relevance and value of applied geographical research have never been more apparent given the plethora of problem situations which confront modern societies – ranging from extreme natural events (such as floods, droughts, and earthquakes) through environmental concerns (such as deforestation, disease, and desertification) to human issues (such as crime, poverty, and unemployment). An applied geographical approach has the potential to illuminate the nature and causes of such problems and inform the formulation of appropriate responses.