Worldbuilding Your Spec Fic Novel Using Human Geography

For social studies this year, I’m taking AP Human Geography. As we discuss topics like migration, economics, and population, I keep jotting down ideas for worldbuilding my story!

How does human geography help you world-build your speculative fiction novel?

Human geography covers elements of the who, what, when, and where of culture, politics, history, and geography. It’s an in-depth look at how our human existence shapes the physical and ideological landscape of the world.

Using the concepts of human geography, you can create a real, functioning world that is intrinsically tied with your characters and countries (or planets, kingdoms, etc. depending on your story).

Let’s take a look at some of the broadest aspects:

  1. Major Geographic Concepts
  2. History of Geography
  3. Population
  4. Health and Disease
  5. Migration
  6. Culture and Customs
  7. Language
  8. Religion
  9. Race, Ethnicity, Gender
  10. Regionalization
  11. Politics, Governance, Representation
  12. Production and Consumption
  13. Distribution and Transportation
  14. Environment and Agriculture
  15. Urbanization and Development
  16. Defining Position and Map Projections
  17. Movement of Ideas and Interaction
  18. Criminal Activity (not really part of human geography, but it’s an important part of worldbuilding)

That seems like a lot, but if you break it down into smaller parts, it’s really easy to do. An added bonus: it helps you create a complex, detailed world.

Human geography concepts help you understand history and culture, and its effects on geography. Think about your family history. Where do you live now? Did your great-grandparents live in the same place you do now? Why or why not?

These question all pertain to human geography. Maybe your great-grandparents were from another country and they emigrated from another country due to war, job opportunities, or freedom.

In addition, major conflicts in the world always come down to differences that cannot be resolved simply, like religion, language, and culture. Understanding these aspects might even create a plot for you!

I’ll break these concepts into a post for each one. I’ll post the first part, major geographic concepts, in a few days! Stay tuned!

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