5 Themes of Geography: Austin, TX

Mackenzie Coffelt

The 5 Themes of Geography

The Five Themes of Geography are Location, Place, Region, Movement, and Human/Enviornment interacton. We are going to explore how these 5 themes apply to our world and the countries in it, but first, we'll start with somewhere a little closer to home: Austin, Texas.

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Two examples of location are absolute location, which is the exact place on earth where a geographic feature is found, or relative location, which describes a place in comparison to other landmarks.

The pictures above are examples of relative and exact location because the first picture shows you that Austin is located near San Antonio and Houston, while the second picture shows you the exact coordinates of Austin.

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Place is the physical features and cultural characteristics of a location.

The above photos are examples of place because they all show the physical and cultural characteristics of Austin. In the first photo, you see that Austin has several tall buildings, and it is located on a lake.

In the smaller photos, you see where the cultural part of Austin ties in to the physical appearance. The murals and graffiti show you that Austin is a colorful and friendly place, while the decorated guitars show that music and arts are a big part of the culture in Austin.

In the second big photo above, the orange guitar towards the left is shown in front of the new city hall, which is an example of the architecture that is becoming very popular in the Austin area and many other places.


Region is the description of an area of the Earth's surface with similar characteristics, or criteria for defining a region depending on the geographer's purpose.

These pictures above are examples of Region because they compare Austin's characteristics to other regions so you can see how Austin is similar or different from a certain place in Texas or the United States. The middle is an example of a Formal region, because it shows the different annual minimum climate regions in Texas. You can see that Austin is slightly warmer than Dallas because they are in different climate regions.

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Movement is how and why people, ideas, plants, and animals move through time and place.

Some examples of movement in Austin are music, architecture, gourmet food trucks, and art.

Austin has been named the Live Music Capital of the World. Every year, people from all over the world travel to the Austin City Limits music festival in Austin to listen to their favorite musicians play live. Austin takes music very seriously. Every time I go downtown, there is always someone playing on the street or at a restaurant.

Gourmet food trucks are very popular in Austin, though the first food truck started its business in LA. The idea made its way down to Austin, and now we have wonderful places like, "Torchy's", "Gordough's", "Hey, Cupcakes!", etc.

The style of architecture is also changing in Austin. Many people are taking an interest in this modern style (as seen in the middle picture above), and some even build their homes to look like this. This design idea most likely originated in California and soon spread to Austin.

Finally, "Austinites" are going green. The movement of going green is spreading across the United States, and hopefully is spreading around the world. Stores in Austin are now refusing to use paper bags, and they strongly urge customers to bring their own reusable bags.

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Human/ Enviornment Interaction

Human/ environment interaction is when people learn to use what the environment offers them and change that environment to meet their needs.

These pictures above are examples of Human/ Environment interaction because they show how the people of Austin are using the land and how they are changing it.

Lady Bird Lake (or Town Lake) is a manmade reservoir created by the construction of the Longhorn Dam in 1960. People go there to swim and do other various water sports. To limit pollution and destruction, there are no motorboats allowed unless it is under 5 horse power. Also, many people enjoy the hike and bike trails along the side of the lake.

Barton springs is also a popular swimming place, and it is one of the largest natural swimming pools in an urban area in the U.S. It is also very cold, so people use this place to cool down on a very hot summer day.

When they're not having fun on the lake, Austinites are most likely at Zilker park. This place holds many festivals like, ACL, Blues on the Green, the annual Kite festival, and so much more. There is also a big playground for children on the other side of the street, which is right next to the lake.

The second big photograph shows the Hike and Bike trail Boardwalk that is being extended to a 1.1 mile stretch. This was created so that the joggers and bikers won't have to risk the dangers of the part of the loop that is on I-35. It was also created to keep the lake's shoreline from being damaged by all of the people using it.

Austin is a very recreational city, and the people rally do care about the environment and they make sure that they are careful when using it to meet their needs.