Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Geography and Anthropology

First Advisor

Kent Mathewson

Second Advisor

Jay D. Edwards


Folk housing is one of the elements of material culture which geographers often employ in understanding the cultural aspects of regional studies. As one of the most obvious features of the cultural landscape, folk housing serves as a tool in the determination of culturogeographic regions, the final objective of this study. In this atomistic regional approach, geometry is the principle feature of interest. In other words, the one-dimensional plan type and the three-dimensional form class are the elements of focus in order to distinguish regionality. As opposed to other sub-systems of structural analysis, geometry, especially house from, distinguishes regions of influence and surpasses both environmental and socioeconomic barriers. Once a part of New Spain's vast northern frontier, the northeast Mexican borderlands---presently the states of Coahuila, Nuevo Leon, and Tamaulipas---became characterized as a buffer zone between two major colonizing cultures. The mixing of influences of these two nations, the Spanish---later the Mexicans---from the South and the Anglo-Americans---among other European immigrants---from the North, perhaps has become most apparent through time in the cultural landscape. To add to these two major ethnic groups are Native Americans, namely the Tlaxcalan and Huastec cultures, the latter a northern extension of the Maya-Quiche group. Northeastern Mexico's folk architecture clearly represents these major cultural elements. The purpose of this dissertation is to provide one important component that would contribute to an ultimate determination of northeastern Mexico's culturogeographic regions and, thus, to better understand the geographic expression of culture. Due to the persistence of traditional modes of life in this region, as in the rest of Mexico, the folk house seems to be an adequate tool in which to accomplish such a task. For these reasons, this can be considered a region worthy of regional culturogeographic research, as the existence of folk dwellings is still highly visible here, despite proximity to an industrialized nation such as the United States and the industrial zones of Mexico itself.