In geography, "spatial patterns" refers to the organization and placement of people and objects in the human world. It may refer to the distances between them or the regularity of distribution among them.
Spatial patterns are everywhere. They include naturally occurring patterns, such as the concentration of plant life in a certain area as well as man-made patterns,, such as those found in towns and cities. The human mind naturally searches for patterns and trends. But, spacial patterns are not always obvious. Climate, for example, can affect the placement of various features in the natural world that only specially trained scientists can understand.
When studying human formations, the study of spatial patterns is in one sense the study of human behavior. Researchers studying spatial patterns attempt to understand why objects are placed in particular locations. For example, on a city-wide scale, the study of spatial patterns would include where businesses are located, how many of a particular type of business are present, and where the businesses are located in relation to each other and to residential areas. Spatial patterns in this case could include how far apart businesses are or how densely populated a particular residential area is. Spatial patterns can be helpful in the field of economics for learning the advertising and distribution tactics of businesses. It can also help in the environmental sciences for understanding the characteristics of a particular area and how humans react to them.