Local Geography involves the study of our immediate environment. In other words, it involves the study of both physical and socio-cultural aspects of the locality.
- The physical aspect includes mountains, lowlands, valleys, rivers, vegetation, climate, etc.
- The socio-cultural aspect includes schools, churches, mosques, markets, transportation, etc.
The locality therefore includes the villages, towns, local government areas and the states.
- THE VILLAGE
- A village is a small nucleated rural settlement.
- It is formed from the combination of several hamlets.
- It contains several hundred or a thousand of people.
- It has limited services and lacks social amenities such as electricity, pipe-borne water, etc.
CHARACTERISTICS OF A VILLAGE
- The village is relatively small area with socially homogeneous people that know one another very well.
- The village has people with the same cultural background and language.
- It is made up of few buildings with population ranging from one family to few hundreds of people.
- The village has few social amenities and the lifestyle is simple and quiet.
- The village is usually involved in primary activities like farming, fishing, lumbering, etc.
FUNCTIONS OF A VILLAGE
The village performs a number of functions which include:
- Agricultural function: Agriculture, i.e. farming, is usually the main occupation of the villagers who are involved in the production of food for human consumption.
- Lumbering function: Most villages with forest are engaged in lumbering activities, leading to the production of planks, timber and plywood for construction purposes.
- Small scale shopping: There are little commercial activities, especially petty trading in small retail shops and local markets.
- Religious function: Most villages with churches or mosques are involved in religious activities.
- Fishing function: Most villages with large rivers and lakes are also involved in fishing activities.
- A town is a large nucleated urban settlement.
- A town is formed from the expansion or combination of several villages.
- It contains several thousands of people.
- It has several social services like transport, banking, trading and social amenities like electricity, pipe-borne water, schools, telecommunications, etc.
CHARACTERISTICS OF A TOWN
- A town is a relatively large and dense settlement with socially heterogeneous people who do not know one another very well.
- Towns usually have nucleated (or dense) settlement.
- They have people with different cultural backgrounds and languages.
- They are made up of many buildings with thousands of people living in them.
- They have abundant social amenities like electricity, pipe-borne water, etc.
- They are mainly involved in secondary and tertiary activities such as manufacturing, construction and other service-oriented jobs.
FUNCTIONS OF A TOWN
A town performs a number of functions which include:
- Industrial function: Owing to the presence of industries, the town is usually involved in manufacturing finished goods.
- Commercial function: The presence of large markets and banks enables people in the town to engage in commercial or trading activities.
- Socio-Cultural function: Towns are centres for the establishment of universities, polytechnics, churches, hotels, radio and television stations, etc.
- Mining function: Where minerals are present in some towns like Enugu (coal), Jos (tin), Warri (petroleum), etc. the inhabitants tend to engage in mining activities.
- Fishing function: Where rivers, lakes and oceans are found near the towns, the inhabitants also tend to engage in fishing activities.
- Residential function: Owing to a large concentration of people in the town, the need therefore arises to build residential houses to cope with the ever-increasing influx of people.
- LOCAL GOVERNMENT AREA
A local government area is formed by the combination of several towns and villages which have similar physical and cultural features. Local government area represents the third tier of government in Nigeria and each local government area has its own administrative headquarters.
The local government area performs a combination of both the functions of a village and a town. There Social services like trading, banking, etc. and social amenities like electricity, pipe-borne water, hotels and hospitals.
A state is formed from the combination of several local government areas. In Nigeria at present, there are thirty-six states and the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.