Central place theory
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Central Place Theory. Central Place Theory. Central Place: market center for the exchange of goods and services by people attracted from the surrounding area Theory explains how services are distributed and why a regular pattern of settlements exists

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Central Place Theory

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Central Place Theory


Central Place Theory

  • Central Place: market center for the exchange of goods and services by people attracted from the surrounding area

  • Theory explains how services are distributed and why a regular pattern of settlements exists

  • German geographer Walter Christaller (1930)


The Cumberland Valley of Pennsylvania is a portion of the Great Valley of the Appalachians. Broad valley floor, agricultural, settled in the early-to-mid 1700s

Note the regularity of spacing between urban centers -- towns. Local lore has it that the distances between towns evolved because it was the distance someone could travel in a day.


General Trends

  • There will be a regular spatial order in the number of central places of different population sizes.

    • Few large places

    • Many small places

  • There will be a regular spatial order in the spacing of central places of different population sizes.

    • Large places relatively farther apart

    • Small places relatively closer together


Grocery Stores

Gas Stations

Jewelry Stores

Book Stores

Hair Stylists

Auto Dealerships

Houses of Worship

Schools

Doctors

Dentists

Museums

Concert Halls

Central Place FunctionsCategories of like services found in a central place


Would you travel farther to buy a new car or the week’s groceries?

Would you travel farther to see your family physician or a heart specialist?

To see a heart specialist

To buy a new car

Would you travel farther to go to elementary school or to go to high school?

To go to high school


City:

College

Town:

High School

A Hierarchy of Educational Services

Village:

Elementary

School

Hamlet:

No Schools


Stock Exchange

Sports Stadium

Regional Shopping Mall

Major Department Store

Income Tax Service

Convenience Store

Gas Station


Threshold: the minimum number of people needed to support a central place function

With fewer customers a store cannot afford to stay in business.

Range: the maximum distance beyond which a person will not travel to purchase a good or service

Beyond a certain distance people cannot afford the travel costs.

Each central place function has a:


Optimal Location (for Pizza Shop)

Fig. 12-6: The optimal location for a pizza delivery shop with seven potential customers in a linear settlement (top) and with 99 families in apartment buildings (bottom).


Supermarket and Convenience Store Market Areas

Fig. 12-8: Market area, range, and threshold for Kroger supermarkets (left) and UDF convenience stores in Dayton, Ohio. Supermarkets have much larger areas and ranges than convenience stores.


Rank-Size Rule: a country’s nth-largest settlement is 1/n the population of the largest settlement


Primate City Rule

  • The largest settlement has more than twice as many people as the second-ranking settlement.

  • Primate City=largest city

  • Denmark

    • Copenhagen 1 million

    • Arhus 200,000

  • United Kingdom

    • London 8 million

    • Birmingham 2 million

  • Thailand

    • Bangkok 1.5 million

    • Nonthaburi 250,000


McDonald’s locations in Lincoln, Nebraska.


McDonald’s locations in Lincoln, Nebraska.


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