A. Meaning of Urban Settlement:
Four general approaches are usually employed by the various censuses for classifying
the population as urban or rural:
1. The classification of administrative divisions in which the populations of the divisions are
classified as urban or rural on the basis of selected criteria:
a. type of local government;
b. total number of inhabitants of the minor administrative divisions;
c. the size of the principal cluster of the minor or major administrative divisions.
2. The second classifies administration centres of all minor divisions as urban and the
remainders as rural.
3. The third method is the classification of agglomerations or population clusters, where the
urban population is identified as the residents of closely settled localities, places or
centres above a given size. The minimum size adopted by various governments, however,
Country Minimum Population of
Settlement Considered to
Papua New Guinea 500
United States 2500
4. The fourth method is based on the assumption that a town may be more suitably
differentiated from rural centres by the presence of non-agricultural activities, and the
official definition of urban status in countries such as Israel and Yugoslavia included such
B. Urbanization and Urban Growth
It is clear that urbanization and the growth of cities have become one of the major
characteristics of the present century. Societies are all moving along the road to urbanization.
In these thirty years, the world population has increased rather rapidly, up to 2000 the world
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population will be 6 billion. A large percentage of this total is living in cities of various size.
A United Nations survey has suggested that in 1960 one-quarter of the world's population
lived in cities of 20,000 or more in size. Thus it is doubtless that urbanization is the main
trend of development and it is affecting the distribution of population and what is more the
life style of human beings.
It is necessary to point out that urbanization is often mistakenly thought of simply as
the growth of cities. Although the two are closely related, it is important to note a basic
difference between them. As pointed out by Northam: "Urbanization is the process whereby
a society is transformed from an essentially rural to a predominantly urban one. It has a
beginning and an end. In contrast the growth of cities has no limit."
Therefore, urbanization, as used by geographers, has two meanings.
1. It is a measure of the degree of urbanism (level of urbanization) in a society, and in this
sense is defined as the proportion of the total population in country living in urban
settlements. It is usually expressed as a percentage when used in this way.
Country Number of Average size Total urban Total national Level of
urban centers of urban dwellers population urbanization
A 10 50000 500000 4000000 12.5
B 5 40000 200000 1000000 20.0
Urban Size and Urbanization
2. Urbanization is used to refer to the process by which this proportion of urban dwellers
increases over time. In this sense, the term is often confused with urban growth which
occurs when there is an increase in the number but not necessarily the proportion urban
dwellers in a country or a region. That urbanization and urban growth are two different
and distinct processes may be shown statistically by the example in the following table.
Year Total national Total urban Level of Urban Growth
population dwellers urbanization (&)
1800 2000000 600000 30 -----
1850 4000000 1200000 30 600000
1900 8000000 4800000 60 3600000
1950 14000000 8400000 60 3600000
Urban Growth and Urbanization
C. Causes of Urbanization:
Increase in the number of urbanites is made possible in the modern age by the
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1. An Efficient Agricultural System:
An efficient agricultural system makes surplus quantity of food possible to sustain the
urban population. Thus a substantial part of the labour force can be released from
agriculture to perform non-agricultural occupations in urban areas. With the
improvements in farming technology and method, more and more people are released.
The number of people needed to produce the foodstuff for the growing urban population
decreases. In 1920, mechanized equipment, tractors were used in the USA, thus the
proportion of the total population living on farms decreased from 30% to only 5% in
2. Invention of power-driven machinery:
The scientific discoveries and mechanical inventions made it possible to have
power-driven machinery. The industrial revolution, the introduction of steam power made
it possible for the nature of manufacturing to change from small-scale units of production
to the concentration of production into bigger factories requiring large number of workers.
The use of coal as a source of power also favoured concentration. As the scale and
complexity of industries increased, division of labour become necessary. As a result,
strong agglomerative forces set forth. All these forces favour concentration of human
activities and, as a result a concentration of population.
3. The development of Trade and Services:
Although urban growth has largely resulted from economic force, not all cities based on
development of manufacturing. Many small cities grew up solely as point of collection
and distribution for the areas surrounding them. Even for the largest cities, there can also
be found some sign of service function. In the recent decade, employment in the service,
or tertiary sector of the labour force has been an important factor in the growth of cities.
4. Development Occurred in Transportation:
Transportation is an important factor in urban growth. It allows goods to be transported
freely. it also makes it possible for people to move freely. An efficient transportation
system is needed to bring food, raw materials to the industries into the city and at the
same time help to distribute the finished products. An intra-urban transportation, on the
other hand, enable mass movement of people between home and work places without
which the cities couldn't grow in size.
The widespread use of automobile and truck in the 20th century made it possible for
decentralization of people and functions within urban areas.
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5. Demographic and Social Factors:
a. Natural Increase:
Natural growth of the city itself, i.e. natural increase in population, is also an
important factor. However, until relatively late in the 19th century, cities still
experienced a natural decrease in population, i.e. number of deaths exceeded the
number of births. It is until medicine and sanitary conditions in the urban areas were
improved that the cities began to experience a natural increase in population.
In the early stages of urbanization until early 20th century, mortality was higher in the
city than in the countryside, but birth rate was lower. Despite improvements in
sanitation and city health, social welfare for the working class was poor, therefore
child mortality was high in the urban areas. Thus natural increase was not the chief
contributor of urbanization. About 20% of the urban population increase was due to
natural increase and about 70% due to rural-urban migration was the chief cause of
city growth. And pull factors were more important than push factors.
b. Rural-urban Migration:
Migration of people from the rural areas to the growing cities is one of the major
forces affecting the growth of cities. Factors which cause the migration are generally
grouped into pull and push factors. The former include various attractions of the cities
such as good employment opportunity, high standard of living while the latter
includes those unfavourable factors exercise in the countryside.
In the western countries, large scale urbanization was associated with the industrial
revolution at the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century.
Industrial advances increased agricultural efficiency through the application of
science and technology to the task of food production. The new machines and
techniques reduced the need for rural labour and enable one farm worker to support
many more urban dwellers. The rural workers who were released from farm work
moved to the cities to fill the new jobs in the expanding industries. The improvement
in transport also enable the rural people to migrate to the city.
Unlike farming, manufacturing and other urban activities use land as a site of
operation. They gain advantages by locating close to one another and so they tend to
exist in high density. Thus industrial agglomeration in favourable locations gradually
attracted more and more factories, which in turn attracted large number of displaced
rural workers seeking employment. Economic opportunities at that time were
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sufficient in cities, hence farm workers released from farm mechanization could be
absorbed by urban activities, which paid higher wages.
Besides job opportunities, the rural population are also attracted by the material
benefits, social life and educational opportunities in the city. As a result of these new
city forming forces, urbanization and urban growth in Europe accelerated remarkably
during the 19th century. For example, in England and Wales only 10% of the
population lived in city of more than 1000000 people in 1891. After industrialization,
the proportion has risen to 60% by 1973.
D. Difference between Developed and Developing Countries
1. Urbanization in the Developed Countries:
The western developed countries started their urbanization processes much earlier than
those less developed countries. Large scale urbanization was associated with Industrial
Revolution at the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century.
Urbanization in developed countries has now slowed down as transfer of people out of
rural employment are reaching their limit at present levels of technology. But at the same
time, urban growth keeps continuing.
Moreover, since World War II, there has been a flow back of people from the excessive
urban growth of big cities. Counter-urbanization in the form of suburb, satellite and new
town formation. This counter-urbanization process is called suburbanization.
Suburbanization means that the population growth rate in suburban zone is higher than
that in the inner zones of the city because of decentralization of people from the city
centre to the periphery, i.e. centrifugal migration on a city scale. However, on national
scale, it appears to have centripetal migration.
Suburbanization is caused by several factors:
a. Push factors/ negative factors in the inner zone of the city:
- overcrowded living environment,
- pollution, eg. smog, noise,
- higher land rent.
b. Pull factors/ positive factors in the suburbs:
- more open space, i.e. more pleasant living environment
- fresh air, quiet,
- lower land rent,
- lower crime rate,
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- large modern shopping centres
- large modern factories, i.e. more job opportunities.
c. Improvement of living standard - people can afford higher transportation cost and
look for better environment.
d. Improvement of transport between the CBD and suburbs, i.e. greater mobility of
e. Government policy, eg. urban renewal programme or slum clearance, the old
buildings are pulled down, the site is no longer used for residence, but for commercial
or industrial purposes, so the people must move to suburb.
2. Urbanization in the less developed countries:
Quick urbanization started since political independence or post war period (1945). The
less developed countries of Africa, Asia and Latin America are in the second stage of
concurrent urban growth and urbanization. In these regions, many cities have grown into
huge metropolises during the last 30 years.
But urbanization in the less developed countries today is not repeating past history of the
developed countries. Many of the less developed countries are urbanizing at a more rapid
rate than did the developed industrial countries in the heyday of their urbanization a
century ago. Between 1920-1970, people living in cities of 100000 or more increased
275% in the developed countries but it was 675% in developing countries. Moreover,
many world's fastest growing large cities are found in the less developed countries.
Tremendous growth of urban population in many less developed countries today is
largely due to the result of high natural increase. Birth rate is higher and death rate is
lower in city than in countryside, because there is a great contrast in social, economic and
medical in cities than in countryside. Health in non-western countries today is better than
that western countries experienced in the 19th century. For example, in India, urban death
rate is 10.2/1000 and rural death rate is 17.3/1000. Therefore natural increase will be
higher in cities than in the rural areas.
Rural-urban migration is another important cause of growth of urban population in many
less developed countries. Moreover, the push factors (overpopulation of the countryside,
low farm productivity) are more important than pull factors (attractiveness of the city).
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Factors leading to rural-urban migration in developing countries
3. Difference between developed and developing countries:
The typical cycle of urbanization in developed countries can be represented by an
attenuated 'S' curve, along attenuation after the bend. As the proportion climbs above 50%,
the curve begins to flatten out. It falters, or even declines when the proportion has reached
almost 75%. For example, in the UK, the steeper rise of the 'S' curve occurred from 1811
to 1851. It reached 78.7% in 1926, but it dropped back to 78.3% in 1961.
The situation in the less developed countries is very different from that of the developed
countries. In the developed countries, urbanization or rural-urban migration was forced by
the industrial revolution. but in the less developed countries, industrial growth is sluggish
and by no means is it possible to fully absorb the drastic and tremendous influx of rural
Countries % in towns of % in industry
France (1856) 10.7 29
Developed Countries Austria (1890) 12.0 30
Switzerland (1888) 13.0 45
Developing Brazil (1960) 28.1 9.5
Countries Venezurla (1961) 47.2 8.8
Malaya (1957) 20.0 7.0
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Urbanization in developed and developing countries
Moreover, the improvement of transportation between rural and urban areas enable
people to become more mobile. The rural people can migrate more easily to the urban
areas as in the case of Manila after World War II.
Transportation improvement also facilitate the diffusion of information from the urban to
the rural areas, hence the prosperity of the urban areas and the economic disparity
between the urban and the rural areas become known to the rural settlers. The
dissatisfaction induces the migration of the rural settlers, esp. in the developing countries
where conditions in the rural areas are much worse.
The high rural density of rural population exerts a great strain on the agricultural
resources. Overcrowding, overgrazing, soil erosion and declining productivity will force
the peasants to abandon their fields and move to the city.
The rate is specially high during droughts or famine.
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Furthermore, political instability in the countryside also encourage rapid rural-urban
migration in the developing countries.
As urbanization is ahead industrialization, i.e. when the developing countries still lack the
economic capacity to support this development, therefore urbanization in the less
developed countries is usually not matched by increased urban employment, better
housing and generally improved social conditions. Thus urbanization in the less
developed countries is usually part of a process of increasing social problems and
Emigrants from rural areas in developing countries have vague hope of finding
employment. The city cannot cope with such excessive labour. Migrants cluster in the
fringe of large cities, developing shanty towns and squatters, with extremely miserable
living environment. Urbanization in these countries is not solving rural problems and is
actually suffering from urban problems it has created.
II. Networks of Urban Centres:
The distributions of urban settlement represent an unorderly pattern and they are seemed to
be no definite factors controlling location, size and spacing of settlement. For the old
approach, the location of a town is explained in terms of its sites and situation. Site of a
settlement refers to the land on which it is built, eg. the availability of water, height of the
land. Situation is the relationship of the settlement with the surrounding region that is the
The locational factors vary with the function of a town. 'Central places' are affected by its
accessibility to the people who use them. Ports and manufacturing industry seek a location on
routes, roads, rail and water routes since manufactured products have to be exported and raw
materials have to be imported.
The size of the settlement is to some extent determined by its location. These favourable
locations are accessible to most people with plenty of resources nearby or offering of wide
range of goods or services will grow larger.
B. Central Place Theory:
1. What are central places?
Every town, in certain measure, acts as a focus for the surrounding countryside. It
is from this role that the general functions of a town are derived. Since every town acts as
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a focus of the countryside, it functions as a central place which therefore refers to those
towns or cities which serve the surrounding areas.
In 1933, Walter Christaller finished the book 'Central Places in Southern
Germany'. He studied the settlements of south Germany and tried to find out whether
there was any correlation between the size and spacing of the settlements.
Central places are settlements which are centrally placed within the area which
they serve. A central place serves and provides its immediate regions with goods and
Some central places are more important than others, i.e. they have more services
and serve a larger area. It is, therefore, possible to develop some sorts of spatial hierarchy.
Those of higher order dominate larger regions then those of lesser order, exercise more
central functions and therefore have greater centrality. For all, however, 'the sum of the
distance which rural residents travel to the central place is the smallest conceivable sum.'
High order goods or services are costly and are only purchased infrequently. Thus
they need a large threshold population (minimum number of customers required to
support a service or the provision of goods). Fortunately, people are willing to travel far
to get them, i.e. they have a large range (maximum distance over which people will travel
to purchase a piece of goods or service provided at a central place), eg. furniture and
motor vehicles which are fewer in number and widely spaced.
Low order goods or services are cheaper and needed more frequently. They only
require a low threshold population. The range is short nevertheless, eg. grocery, bakery
which are more numerous and closely spaced.
In building up a theory, certain assumptions are necessary to simplify the complexities of
the real world.
a. An isotropic plain - The land surface is a flat, uniform plain of equal population
density. There is no single barrier to movement and movement is possible in all
directions. Transport costs are proportional to distance and there is a single uniform
transport system. Moreover, physical resources are also evenly distributed.
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b. The population is of an even spatial distribution. The income, demand schedules, and
propensities to consume are all equal. Furthermore, both producers and consumers
behave in an optimum fashion. The producer seeks for maximum profit and the
consumer seeks to minimize their outlays in meeting their consumption needs.
c. Desire of people - Incomes of the people offering goods and services should be
maximized while the distance moved by consumers to purchase the goods and
services be minimized.
d. A long history of settlement with common culture and a common level of technology.
e. A uniform transportation network in all directions so that all central places of the
same type are equally accessible.
3. Building of the theory:
a. Threshold Value:
This concept implied the minimum population that is required to bring about the
offering of a certain type of goods for sale to sustain any service. For any producer
who ventures to produce a piece of goods over and above his own needs, he must
consider whether where would be sufficient returns from the sale of the piece of
goods to cover his own cost and to provide his own profit. The minimum level of
demand required to ensure this would be the threshold value while the population
required to bring about this demand is known as threshold population.
b. Range of Goods/ Services:
Range of goods or services is defined as 'the maximum distance over which people
will travel to purchase a piece of goods or derive a service offered at a central place'.
Range of Goods
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The range of a type of goods or service is actually determined by the demand of the
consumers. The quantity of the goods that a consumer will prepare to buy, on the
other hand, depends on the actual price of the type of goods. As have been mentioned
earlier, in an isotropic plain transport costs are proportional to distance, thus if the
consumer locates farther away from the point where the type of goods is offered, he
has to pay an additional cost. There fore, the price to the customer varies only with his
distance from the point of production. This means the further he is from this point, the
less he will consume. This relationship is well illustrated with the introduction of the
Hypothetical demand curve and demand cone
There are two limits in relation to each type of goods or service. These two limits can
be called the lower and upper limits and can be shown by the figure below. The upper
limit is the range of a type of goods from a central place while the lower limit is the
The lower limit and upper limit of goods from a central place
So far we have just considered one type of goods. But it is impossible for the whole
population to be served from one single point or central place. Other population will
be served by other points or foci. In this case various central points will appear each
having its own circular market area.
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c. The shape of the Tributary Area:
So far if the demand cone is considered, the market area of a type of goods will be
circular in shape, i.e. area of same distance from the central point will be served.
Areas which are not served by this point will be served by other points or foci. In this
case various circular market areas will appear on the isotropic plain. However, certain
problem arises. If the circular market areas just touch without overlapping as shown in
the following figure, there will be some areas unsupplied with the goods. On the other
hand, if the circles overlap, although there will be no area unserved, this is
unsatisfactory to the producer who seeks for maximum profit because it generates
As it has been pointed out previously that the price of the goods to the consumer
depends solely on his distance from the point of production, it is clear that the areas of
overlap can be bisected. The consumers within the zone of overlapping will still
purchase from the nearest production points. Only those consumers located along the
line of bisection would be able to buy goods at equal cost from two different
production points. Thus, this boundary is known as the line of indifference.
With the study of the three figures, it is possible, therefore, for us to explain why the
central places together with the tributary areas are arranged in hexagonal pattern. it is
Christaller that the
hexagon is the
for market areas
because 'It allows
amount of packing
of market areas
consistent with the
Shape of tributary areas
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d. Different Orders of Goods:
So far we have considered the production of only one kind of goods. However, it is
quite apparent that there will be production of different types of goods to satisfy
human's demand. However, it is impossible for all kinds of goods and services to be
provided at all locations. The lowest order goods are available at a large number of
locations while the highest order goods are available at only a small number of
It is not difficult to explain the frequency of occurrence of production points. The
simple rule is that the frequency of occurrence is inversely related to the order of the
type of goods. If the type of goods is of higher order, this piece of goods will be more
costly and needed infrequently. In this case, a large population is needed to sustain the
production. The area served by this point will be larger. On the other hand, if the type
of goods is everyday needed, it will require a smaller population.
Thus if different orders of goods are introduced, the distribution of the central places
will be shown in the following figure which shows that the different orders of goods
are arranged in an orderly hierarchy. To show how such hierarchy is produced, we can
first arrange the goods into different ranks namely goods '1' of the lowest threshold
value and goods 'n' having the highest threshold values. Since goods 'n' is designated
'A' centres, the actual number of 'A' centre will depend on the total amount of demand
for 'n'. Goods of the next threshold value (n-1) and (n-2) may also be located in the 'A'
centres. However, as we proceed down the list, we may discover that the market areas
of some types of goods supplied by the 'A' centres to justify the establishment of a
new set of production
points. These are
designated 'B' centres
in the figure. This
process can be
continued to produce
different hierarchies of
A Hierarchical Spatial
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e. Vertical Organization of Urban Settlements: (K value)
According to Christaller, there are three possible spatial arrangement of central places.
Christaller associated a controlling principle with each of 'k' in the three
- The Marketing Principle (k=3):
All areas are served from a
minimum set of central places. In
the marketing principle, the
boundary of centre A's market
area passes through six other
centres of consumption. The
demand of each of these centres is
shared with other production
points such that each producer
captures one-third of it. Thus
under the marketing principle, k is 3.
The number of lower order central places is 3 times the number of its next higher
order one. From the highest order central place to the lowest order central place,
the number of central places should be 1 : 2 : 6: 18 : 54 ……
The serving area of a central place is 3 times the area of its next lower order one.
From the lowest order central place to the highest order one, the serving area ratio
is 1 : 3 : 9 : 27 : 81 : 243 : …….
The spacing (distance) of the same order central place is calculated by the
following formula: 7 x k
Where n is the order of central place.
- The Transport Principle (k=4):
There, the distribution is such that as many places as possible lie on main
transport routes connecting the higher order centres. In this principle, the
boundary of A's market/ service area still passes through six other centres, but this
time each one is at the mid-point of an edge. It is shared only between two
producers, each one capturing half of its demand. This is the network form four
the transport principle.
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The number of lower order central places is 4 times the number of its next higher
order one. From the highest order central place to the lowest order central place,
the number of central places should be 1 : 3 : 12: 48 : 192 ……
The serving area of a central place is 4 times the area of its next lower order one.
From the lowest order central place to the highest order one, the serving area ratio
is 1 : 4 : 16 : 64 : 256 : …….
The spacing (distance) of the same order central place is calculated by the
following formula: 7 x
Where n is the order of central place.
- The Administrative Principle (k=7):
Efficient administration is the control in this case and this will demand a clear
separation of all complementary regions for they cannot be shared
administratively. This time both the size and orientation of the hexagon is changed
and there is no sub-division of centres. All six tributary centres are under the
control of 'A' and the number of subordinate centres served is seven.
The number of lower order central places is 7 times the number of its next higher
order one. From the highest order central place to the lowest order central place,
the number of central places should be 1 : 6 : 42: 294 : 2058 ……
The serving area of a central place is 7 times the area of its next lower order one.
From the lowest order central place to the highest order one, the serving area ratio
is 1 : 7 : 49 : 343 : 2401 : …….
The spacing (distance) of the same order central place is calculated by the
following formula: 7 x k
Where n is the order of central place.
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f. Horizontal Organization of Central Places:
Settlement of the same rank have the same number of establishments, same number of
inhabitants, same trade area and trade area population and do a same volume of
business. Towns of same rank are equidistant from one another. Because of larger
threshold population, the larger centres are more widely spaced than the low order
Real Pattern of urban settlements
4. Evaluation of the central place theory:
Christaller has not given a satisfactory explanation of the hexagonal shape of the
complementary areas. Moreover the regular arrangements of the central places have
only been tentatively demonstrated.
One of the assumptions of the model is an isotropic surface, it is only with this
assumption that a hierarchical structuring holds good; however, the aggregation of
areas masks this structuring.
With the studies of perception and use of centres by individuals, it has been shown
that the behaviour of the consumers is not necessary in accord with that predicted by
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the theory. The central place theory is criticized as economic deterministic. It allows
no account of individual perception.
The central place theory is also criticized as restricts to tertiary production and this is
abstract from reality as city performs various functions.
The theory is derived from empirical study. However, distribution of towns in most
area of the world reveals no sign of a hexagonal lattice.
Towns do not fall into discrete classes but rather are spread uniformly along a
continuum of sizes from the smallest to the largest.
Since the theory is devised for an agricultural area, it applies well in poor and thinly
settled farm districts with simple social organization and mainly self-contained, but
works less well in manufacturing area.
b. Values of the Christaller theory:
It shows the interdependence of town and its hinterland.
A hierarchy of functions and of settlement is devised.
The idea of competition between centres is stressed in the marketing principle.
On the basis of the theoretical structure, it is possible to make a number of predictions
about the pattern of future settlement location.
This theory has been much emphasized because it is the most important single piece
of work in the study of urban network. With more research it is hoped that the
generalization that urban networks are orderly systems and not just random
arrangements would be verified.
The nesting principle (the way in which the small tributary areas of lower order
centres fit into the larger hinterland of higher order centre) is being put forward.
5. Application of the central place theory:
a. Skinner's study in China:
A recent study of the regional patterns of economic organization in China
illustrates many of the features of central place theory. Skinner's study reveals that
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there are three levels of towns, namely standard market towns, intermediate market
towns and central markets.
The standard market provided for the exchange of goods produced within the
market's dependent area. It was the
starting point for the upward flow of
agricultural products and craft items as
well as the termination of the downward
flow of imported items in the marketing
system. Skinner found that most of the
standard market towns were having
hexagonal hinterland. most of the
tributary areas were between 11 and 37
sq. miles, with population densities
standard market area was slightly over 20
sq. miles. That is, in an area of a typical
market of this size, each centre would lie
about 5 miles from its neighbour, and no
villager would have to walk more than
about three miles to this local market.
The second level is the
intermediate market towns which
were markedly larger than standard
market towns. These markets
simply have intermediate positions
in the vertical flow of goods both
ways. The farmers seldom made
direct use of the intermediate
market towns unless they happen
to live within the immediate
vicinity of the intermediate market towns.
Highest in the hierarchy is the central markets. Skinner describes the central
market as being normally situated at a strategic site in the transportation network. The
function is to receive imported items and distribute them within its dependent area
and to collect local products and to export them to other central markets or
higher-level urban areas. These upper level markets would function not only as
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wholesaling centres for the
rural markets but would also
offer upper-level goods and
services to the market
represented by the wealthier
individuals in the community.
Christaller has presented urban hierarchies of both vertical and horizontal
components. cities of the same order were equidistant apart. While spacing for smaller
central place (the locality within which centralized functions are performed) will be much
closer than that of larger central places. As for vertical hierarchy, smaller central places
will be nested within larger central places according to marketing, traffic and
administrative principles, there will be a stepped hierarchy of centres established. This
theory, unlike the empirical rules like rank-size rule or primacy, was to find principles of
spatial science but not the generalize from observed facts.
Christaller's ideas are applicable to retailing. Garner had applied the central place
theory to distinguish between shopping centres of higher and lower order. Smaller
shopping centres will sell less goods with a smaller range and threshold but much more
frequently visited by customers. The theory also shows clearly the idea of hierarchy of
settlement and goes a long way to explain the distribution of settlement and the
continuous idea of urban growth. Such settlement patterns are more likely to be found in
non-industrial or rural areas. Though the theory is time-bound to a certain extent, it could
serve for prediction and future planning purposes, eg. enabling better population
distribution for the good of development.
This has been implied from the theory that there is a hierarchy of settlement. This
hierarchy can be explained in two ways:
a. The Size of the population:
The larger settlement serve large area and small settlement serve small areas. By
arranging settlement or service areas in order of size is known as a hierarchy for
settlement may be found from hamlet, village, town to city. There may be a hierarchy
AL Notes Geography Urban Landscapes Page 20
of shopping centres within a single urban area, eg. local centre, neighbourhood centre,
district centre and town centre in increasing order of importance for the people who
live there. It also suggests that there will not be a continuum from small to large urban
places but a step arrangement from order to order and size to size.
b. Number of functions:
The larger settlements are having greater number of functions while the smaller
settlements are within small number of functions provided for local people. As we
move away from village to town to city, the number of functions each centre performs
also increases. It is just the same as what we have done to arrange the settlement in
order by size of population. We can arrange the various service and retail functions in
a similar hierarchy. The city performs all the functions of the town as well as a few
more higher order services. In some areas certain towns have fewer or less important
functions than they could have for their size and really only perform village type
functions. Similarly it is possible to come across a group villages, some of which
perform the type of functions more characteristic of a town.
The whole purpose of a central place is a provision of services for the population
around it, therefore, if there are two towns of different sizes but equal in importance
as central places, the smaller town may be regarded as having a higher central place
status. For example, a resort town may have more service than its residential
population requires and by comparison a purely residential town of equal size is likely
to have fewer service functions. Judge purely on the basis of central place importance
the resort town would have a higher status than the residential town. However, with
improvement in transport the large range of services available in towns and cities will
become more accessible to more people so that villages may tend to become
residential rather than service town especially if they are located rather near to the
large areas. At the same time there are fewer smaller settlement especially hamlets
because of accessibility and each settlement on the same level of the hierarchy will
not necessarily with the same range of services. Centres may specialized in a
restricted range of services because improved transport makes it possible for the
customers to visit more than one centre.
We can measure the extent to which settlement serves as central place by
allocating the centrality score based on selected indicator services rather than
population size. This is important to planners in selecting towns which will act as
centres of growing areas.
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This can be illustrated by an index of centrality:
C = (t / T) x 100
where C = Coefficient of location of the function
t = Number of outlets of function 't' in one town
T = Total number of outlets of function 't' in the whole system
The table below shows the number of different functions in some towns in Britain.
Calculate the index of centrality/ function strength for each function and also the total
index for each town.
Furniture Clothing Grocers Jewellery
Doncaster 49 247 196 48
Sheffield 183 764 1067 199
Barnsley 26 148 199 31
Rotherham 30 115 154 32
Total 288 1274 1616 310
Example: Index of centrality of Doncaster:
(49 / 288) x 100 + (247 / 1274) x 100 + (196 / 1616) x 100 + (48 / 310) x 100 = 64
The greater the index, the higher the status as central place. Usually the higher the
rank of central place the greater the number of people. The information can be drawn
up in the graph using the centrality index as the vertical axis and the rank order of the
town, i.e. the population size as the horizontal axis. Sometimes their centrality index
may vary even though the rank order are the same, i.e. with the same number of
people in the town. This may be explained by the different functions of the town. A
market town or a shopping centre is having a functional strength or centrality index
while a railway or industrial town is less. Such different functions of the town will
give rise to different pattern of urban location. Such economic forces in affecting the
spatial arrangement or urban places has been disregarded in the central place theory.
III. Spatial Patterns in Urban Landscapes
A. Distribution of Urban Population / Population distribution in a city
1. The pattern:
Two noticeable features are evidenced : The city centre is very sparsely populated.
Population density increases with increasing distance from the city centre. It is due to the
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City centre Distance from city centre
Relationship between the distance from the CBD and the population distribution
a. The city centre is the most accessible place in the city because of the convergence of
transport routes. Land rent is very high since various landuses all demanding good
accessibility compete for these sites. Only the commerce enterprises can afford the
high land rent. Other landuses like residential landuse are forced to occupy sites of
poorer accessibility away from the city centre. Thus, population density is low.
b. Most of the people commute to the city centre every working day. Transportation cost
both in terms of time and money will be involved. The low income group cannot
afford the high transportation cost and the majority of them do not have a car. To
economize, they either live in very small apartments or resort to subletting. Therefore,
the residential district immediately outside the city centre will be very densely
c. The rich prefers to live in the suburb on the city periphery. They can drive to work
everyday and the high population density near the city centre results in deteriorating
environment, high crime rate and poor sanitation. In the suburbs, land rent is low.
They can live in spacious residences spread widely apart. The population density is
low because of the low density of houses.
d. Towards the periphery, density is extremely low because of the transportation cost
involved in overcoming the friction of distance in daily commuting.
2. Difference between developed and developing countries:
a. Western Cities:
Before the automobile era population growth in the city led to vertical
development of the cities and population density was very higher near the city core.
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Because of the improved accessibility from the periphery to the city centre, suburban
growth is permitted. With rise in income and the demand for better living
environment, more people moved to the suburbs. Trucks transportation release the
factories from dependence on downtown railway and they move to city periphery
where the land rent is cheaper. As for retailing activities, as a market has been created
in the suburbs, they also move away from the city core to where there is a local
market nearby. Offices are attracted by the lower land price, and easy accessibility to
the airport and begin to seek suburban location.
As job opportunities are available in the suburbs, workers move to the city
periphery to be near to the place of work. Therefore, the city declines in importance
and the intensified suburbanization create a gentler density gradient.
3 Urban Sprawl
CBD Distance from CBD
Changes in population gradients through time of western cities
b. Non-western cities:
The population density gradient maintain its steepness as the city expands
spatially. The transportation system are less efficient. The rich is still conformed to
the city centre where most of the urban functions concentrate. Consequently, there is
increasing crowdiness in the city centre. The poor has no choice but being pushed to
the periphery where access to the city centre is difficult and costly.
Population 3 Centre density continues to rise
Density 2 through time
Peripheral density also
CBD Distance from CBD
Changes in population gradients through time of non-western cities
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B. Economic Factors Affecting Distribution of Urban Population:
1. Urban land rent:
Rent of a particular piece of farmland depends on many factors, mostly physical
factors, such as climate, drainage and soil fertility. Urban land rent, on the other hand, is
chiefly determined by the location measured in terms of accessibility.
A lot of people will bid and compete for the most accessible site in the city. The
retailer will bid for the most accessible point for his market because locating his shop
elsewhere will result in a considerable reduction in profit. For the manufacturers, they
want to be near to the railway terminals to cut down the transportation cost of transferring
the raw materials and finished products. The land would go to the highest bidder. Thus,
the market value and the land rent of more accessible area will increase.
As the city core is a point of intersection of most, if not all, the urban transport routes,
the most accessible location will be found there and so is the peak of land value. Land
value will decrease from the core towards the periphery because of declining accessibility,
i.e. we have a distance decay function.
2. Bid rent curves:
Different economic activities or functions have different rent-paid abilities (Bid-rent
Indeed, the need for a higher central location for each type of function varies. The
following figure shows bid rent curves of various function.
Retailing Industry/ Commercial Multiple Family Housing
Single Family Housing Agriculture
Bid Rent Curves for various land use types
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greatest accessibility to
the whole city population
in order to maximize
profits. Away from the
city centre, proximity to
some market declines
very rapidly and so is the
willingness to pay high
rent. The bid rent curve
is therefore very steep in
Offices such as those of insurance firms, doctor, dentist also require accessibility and
a central location but they can still survive in less accessible regions. Very high rent of
the centre can be avoided. The curve is less steep.
Because of the size and high density of apartment blocks, they can give a larger return
per unit of area and so can obtain a greater degree of accessibility than single family
If the curves are superimposed, where the slopes intersect the users further away from
the core will be
out-bid. The user
nearer to the core
and that type of use
will succeed. If this
is converted into a
diagram, a series of
concentric zone will
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The above model assumes that accessibility falls regularly away from the city core.
but, in fact, it is directly related to the distribution of transport networks. In case of larger
city, several major peaks may be found all near to the points of inter-section of roads or
nest to the
terminal of mass
of high value
can also be
found along the
main roads. The
the land value in
the town will be
like that in the
Relationship between transport system and land rent value
Central peaks of land value will occur near the centre with a general decrease in all
directions. Ridges are relatively high value which extend along the major radial routes
conformed by minor pieces and significant intersection.
Rent, transport cost and location are interdependent. Good locations are those which
are highly accessible. Transport cost in overcoming in the friction of distance will be
minimized, but the saving in transport cost will be needed to pay for the high rent of that
C. Urban Land Use:
1. Central Business District:
The Central Business District (C.B.D.) is the most obvious functional zone within a
western city. This usually occupies the most central point of the city. Activities such as
retailing, offices which need a central and accessible urban location and have the ability
to pay rent occupy the area. Within the C.B.D., distinctive districts of specialization are
developed. These include retail trade, wholesaling, government offices and professional
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a. General Functions of C.B.D.:
The C.B.D. being the focus of transport routes and the area of greatest pedestrian and
vehicular traffic, characterized by a high intensity of urban landuse. The functions are:
- Public Administration: Offices of many governmental departments are located in
the C.B.D. because of prestige reasons.
- Head quarters of the large commercial insurance and financial business and
manufacturing companies also seek a central location. They had to be accessible
to their clients and other businessmen with whom they have frequent contact and
appointments. These large office blocks usually cluster around the downtown area
which is the zone of the highest intensity of administrative functions.
- Retailing and Services: Retailing is important but the sorts of shops are different
from those of the suburbs. There are large department stores and small speciality
shops which sell high price luxury goods, eg. jewellery. There are many cafes and
restaurants to supply meals to the working populations in the city core.
- Light Industries: Light industries, like printing and tailoring, which have to be
accessible to customers but only require a small floor space for the manufacturing
process. They usually occupy the upper floors.
- Entertainment Function: eg. theatres, cinemas, shops and expensive restaurants.
- Parks and Gardens
C.B.D. of Hong Kong
b. Characteristics of the C.B.D.:
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The C.B.D. is an area of maximum accessibility in the city. Transport route focus
on the C.B.D. and the terminal of public transport system are also found there.
Since many firms are anxious to obtain a site within the C.B.D., land value is the
highest. To mark the maximum use of the limited space, buildings increase in height.
A feature of the C.B.D. is that it is an area of concentration and as competition for a
central location increases the demand for space is solved not so much by outward
expansion but by upward development. The C.B.D. grows vertically rather than
horizontally. If the C.B.D. is expanding horizontally, its efficiency in performing its
functions will be deduced. The businessmen want quick access to other businessmen;
the shoppers want to shop around without having to walk long distance.
The vertical growth of the C.B.D. is a consequence of technological changed
which make the building of large tower block possible. The use of reinforced cement
to form the structural framework of buildings permit the construction of skyscrapers.
Such tall buildings must be served by lifts and escalators to transport the people and
goods vertically. The introduction of air-conditioning and the improvement in
artificial lighting mean that it is no longer essential to give all rooms access to fresh
air and sun light.
As the C.B.D. only occupies a small area, few of the people who work in it can
afford to reside in the C.B.D.. Consequently, there is a high day time and low night
time population density, a paradoxical situation made possible by efficient transport.
This daily flow of population into and out from the C.B.D. creates the morning and
evening peak hour rushes.
c. Criteria Used to Delimit the C.B.D.:
Old methods of delimiting the C.B.D. were crude and subjective. Landuse maps
were inspected in the search for the discontinuation between specified central
functions and non-central uses. Present day geographers are in favour of the objective
uniform method which involved qualification.
1. Appraised or Assessed Land Value:
It is based on the assumption that competition for the plots within the C.B.D. will
push up the land value. Either appraised value (market value) or assess value
(used for taxation purpose) can be used. However, for the former, there is a
general lack of data because of confidentiality. Information of the latter is
available from assessors' records in the city office. However, most of the
AL Notes Geography Urban Landscapes Page 29
assessment are subjective and differences between cities make comparison
Competition for site lead to a high rent such data are usually considered
confidential or restricted and so in most time, the rental of the building has to be
estimated by the geographer himself.
3. Ratable Value:
Each building is assessed by rating office for local taxation. The rate depends on
the type and quality of the building and the quality of the environment. As the
method of evaluation is virtually the same throughout the country, it can be used
for comparing the boundaries of cities in the same country. The short comings are
that the value is rated at a personal assessment and the assessment is not based on
the land alone. The conditions of the building are also considered.
4. Building Height:
It appears a plausine means but the building may be of different designs and tall
buildings of non-C.B.D. function may be included, eg. multi-storey factory estate,
5. Vehicular and Pedestrian Traffic Count:
However, the traffic generated may be unrelated to C.B.D. function. Traffic may
be just passing through since the C.B.D. is usually the focus of regional road
6. Land Use:
A method derived by Murphy and Vance in 1955 is considered as the best one.
- Define the uses to be accepted as characteristics of C.B.D., non-C.B.D.,
uses are residential, governmental and public buildings, organizational
establishments (churches and colleges), industrial establishments except
newspaper, wholesaling, commercial storage, vacant blocks and vacant
- Measure floor space devoted the C.B.D. and non-C.B.D. uses. All the
storeys should be considered. Amount of floor space allocated to each use
category is calculated. The unit of these processes is the city block.
- Calculate the following indexes:
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i. Total Height Index (HI) = ( Total floor space / Ground floor space )
This index measures the number of storeys but it is not very
useful because it does not take the landuse into account.
ii. Central Business Height Index (CBHI) :
CBHI = ( Total central business floor space / Ground floor space )
CBHI of 1 indicates a complete ground floor covered by C.B.
uses. More than 1, then more than the ground floor is devoted to C.B.
uses and vice versa. Yet, it fails to show the proportion of total
available space in central uses.
iii. Central Business Intensity Index (CBII):
CBII = ( Total central business floor space / Total floor space ) x 100%
This measures the percentage of all available floor space in C.B.
uses. Choice of some limiting value (say 50%) can be used as a
standard in delimitation.
iv. Central Business Index (CBI):
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CBI = CBHI of at least 1 and CBII of 50%
- All continuous blocks meeting the requirements set in CBI are included. A
non-C.B. block surrounded by C.B. blocks are also included within the
b. Demerits of the Method:
- The central business uses are subjectively determined even if they are
- The variation in block size is not taken into account.
- No account is taken of the quality of use of an area; a smaller corner shop
and a specialized and expensive central shop belong to the same class.
c. Delimiting the Hard Core of the C.B.D.:
- The method of Murphy and Vance was modified by D.H. Davis in his
studies of the central cape town. Cinemas, hotels, head-offices, newspaper
establishment, governmental offices and retail shops offering low quality
goods (subjectively defined) were regarded as non-C.B. hard core uses.
The necessary minimum for CBI were increased to CBHI of 4 and the
CBII of 80% is delimiting the hard core area.
d. Internal Specialization within the C.B.D.:
- Particular zones distinguished by particular kinds of uses are common in
the C.B.D.. Various economic and functional links bind together the
landuses which characterize these specialized area. For example,
concentration of a large number of retailing outlets is a strong force in
attracting potential purchasers: theatres and cinemas and other forms of
entertainment profit from each other's presence since this draws the
attention of patrons to the range shows currently running and the overflow
from one place of entertainment to another help to maintain full houses;
proximity of various government and administrative offices in the same
district adds to the efficiency of the functioning.
- Specialization is strongest in these parts of the city centre which posses the
highest land value. If the cost of a site is very high, only a few functions
can afford to utilize the site. Towards the fringe of the city centre where
the land value is lower, users tend to be less segregated because more
functions can pay for those sites.
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2. Commercial landuses:
a. Types of shops:
Shops or stores in the city can be divided into three types:
i. Shops providing convenience goods which are patronized frequently and regularly.
These stores can survive of a low threshold population and consequently they
have a small trade area, eg. bread store, newspaper stands.
ii. Stores selling shopper's goods which are patronized less regularly, at intervals of
about a week or less, eg. clothes stores, boutique, shoe shops. As the goods are
needed less frequently so a larger threshold population and a larger trade area are
essential. Thus, these stores have to seek a more central location to capture a
iii. Specialist stores selling goods needed only occasionally, eg. furniture shops. Both
shoppers' goods and specialist goods are durable goods.
b. Hierarchy of Retailing Centres within the city:
Retailing centres within the city can be differentiated according to two criteria:
i. Number of shops in present: Higher order business centres will have more shops
and vice versa.
ii. Types of goods available for sale: All the sectors offer more or less the same
convenience goods but there is a variation in the types and quality range of
shoppers' goods provided. High order centres will provide convenience goods and
a wide range of shoppers' goods while in low order centres, there may be an
absence of shopper' goods.
Using these two criteria, retailing centres in business districts can be divided into
- The C.B.D. : It serves the whole city. There are a large number of stores
offering a large variety of goods. There is a greater range of stores to suit the
various taste, reference and purchasing power of the clients of a much larger
- Regional Business Districts:
- Neighbourhood District: Offering low order goods with only a limiting range
of high quality goods.
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- Local Centres: Conspiracy of a cluster of shops selling convenience goods.
c. Spatial Arrangement of shopping centres:
The cities' most accessible site will be occupied by the C.B.D. providing both
convenience goods for local needs and shoppers' goods serve a much larger trade area.
Other business districts of various sizes and importance will spread out throughout the
city. Higher order centres, eg. regional business districts which require a large
threshold population will be fewer in number and spread more widely apart to reduce
competition. Between these high order centres, there will be numerous low order
centres, locally accessible to the inhabitant living in the vicinity.
The trade area of the low order centres will be nested within the trade areas of the
high order centres. A hierarchy of shopping centres will therefore involve. The
following figure shows a model of shopping centres in a city of about 200,000 people.
Thus, Christaller's idea can be extended to explain the intra-urban structure of
shopping centres. But the pattern shown in the model is unlikely to be closely
followed as the distribution of those centres do not depend solely upon the factor of
accessibility. Also importance are the variations in density of population and income
level of the people. The consumers' behaviour will also affect the pattern.
d. Factors affecting decisions to locate a stored:
AL Notes Geography Urban Landscapes Page 34
i. Trading Area Potential: The site must enable the store to tap sufficient customers
to pass the minimum threshold requirement.
ii. Accessibility to Trading Area: Maximum accessibility to the population of the
trading area is essential. This will result in competition for a site near to road
intersection or corner sites at the main roads.
iii. Growth Potential: Access to area with growing population and / or rising income
iv. Business Intersection: A site between the big concentration of working population
in the downtown area may be needed. So, the pedestrian may be intersected along
the main lines of daily movement.
v. Cumulative Attraction: A number of similar stores in a small specialized area can
exert greater centrifugal force on the potential customers than an isolated store.
The possibility of inspecting several stores offering similar goods will generate a
pull of its own.
vi. Compatibility: Concentration in an area providing goods of compatible uses will
generate maximum customer interchange.
vii. Minimization of Competition Hazards: Sites there competition is critical should be
viii.Rental Value: Certain stores may be able to bear high rent because the goods sold
are of small bulk and high value, eg. jeweller's shop can stand high rental because
only a small space is needed for displaying the jewels and conducting business.
However, as in furniture retailing, items are space consuming and a large premise
is essential to exhibit the goods. These shops cannot afford central location.
3. Zone in transition:
It is an area of mixed commercial and non-commercial landuse. It separates the retail
heart of the city with the surrounding residential neighbours or heavy industrial districts,
usually present are warehouses, light manufacturing, wholesaling, multi-family residents.
If the C.B.D. is extending basically, the inner area will be taken over. The residential
uses of the outer area will be forced to extend outwards. The zone is therefore in a state of
AL Notes Geography Urban Landscapes Page 35
transition. However, the upward growth of the C.B.D. and the suburbanization of the
central business functions result in a reduction of demand for space in the zone in
transition. Thus, the lack of renewal of old buildings will create deterioration and blight.
4. Residential areas:
Residential areas cover most land in the city. In America, residents constitute the
largest single use of land, varying between 30% and 40%. Geographers are concerned
with the distribution of houses within the city on two criteria: house types and
socio-economic status of residents. There are some overlapping in the two criteria. Type
of house (classified by most of construction, style, design, size, age and so on) correlates
directly with the type of inhabitants (labour, workers, managers executives).
However, Confusion may arise from the filtering down process where by houses are
passed down to the lower income group. Personal reference and taste may also affect
one's choice of housing types. Thus, we should be more concern with the distribution of
a. Social Characteristic of Residential Areas:
The studies on this topic are based on the concept that population are segregated
into social classes. Since social distance can be translated into physical distance,
pattern of residential segregation groups can be occupied by separated residential area.
The degree of basic segregation of the highest and lowest end of the social economic
scale is the highest.
b. Intra-urban Residential Pattern:
Kain, from his study of Detroit, demonstrated that household journey-to-work will
increase as an increasing function of income.
The wealthier classes will abandon their dwellings in the congested city centre and
move to the spacious residents which can only be found on cheap land in suburbs.
The distance between their home and places of work will not be a problem since
they can afford the cost of daily commuting into the C.B.D. The vacant buildings
abandoned, old and declaim houses, are either redeveloped or deteriorated into
slums. As a result of the high land value near the C.B.D., the owners will try to
maximize the rent returns by sub-dividing them into small units to be sold or
rented to those who demand these sites. Those who want to live near the city
centre in spite of the high density are: poor city workers who cannot afford the
AL Notes Geography Urban Landscapes Page 36
transport cost; young students who choose to live to the place of studies; new
immigrants who live in the slums and scatter in the city centre because they are
usually engaged in poorly paid job or perhaps they prefer to live near the people
of similar religions, linguistic and cultural background.
However, a single variable lack of distance to place of work is inadequate the
explain such as complex pattern of housing distribution.
ii. Shevky and Bell:
Other geographers have tried to divide the city into social areas (residential
districts inhabited by people of the same social background). The work of Shevky
and Bell provided a more detail explanation of the intra-urban residential pattern.
They found that three different locational pattern can be identified. The complex
pattern of the social areas is really a result of the superior in position of the three
Their major hypotheses was that with increasing level of economic development,
societies would be characterised by three changes:
- Occupational differentiation and consequently the population can be divided
into different social classes.
- A wider range of life style which will be reflected in the different family
structure and composition.
- Population redistribution (migration) will bring people of various ethnic and
culture background into the cities.
These social changes will make the city population more heterogeneous. People of
different social ranks, family status and ethnic status will be segregated physically
and live in different social areas.
c. Three Locational Pattern:
i. Sectors or wedge-like residential zone with their origins at the city center.
Residents of this zone are segregated according to their economic status or social
rank. The rich will move to the respectable district or districts with superior
residential quality, eg. in higher ground, near to the coast, near sea view areas.
The poor is conformed to another wedge-like zone adjacent to the industrial
districts. Such a distribution can be explained by Hoyt's theory of the city
AL Notes Geography Urban Landscapes Page 37
ii. Different family status will be lead to formation of concentric zones - Residents
can be divided according to their different style of life. Family orientated
household (more children, wife is a professional home-maker) will prefer the
spacious of suburban houses. Journey-to-work is only one of the many trips that
taken by the family, so the distance from the C.B.D. does not really matter. As for
the non-family orientated households (children, young couples, singletons, aged
couples, wives usually working) will prefer a small apartment near to the city
centre because they are seldom at home and with most of their journeys are
directed towards the C.B.D. People at different stages of their life circle will then
have different housing need. For example, the youngsters prefer the location near
the C.B.D.; married couples would like to live in the suburbs. Therefore, the
districts will be occupied by people more or less in the same aged group or
household of similar structure.
iii. Different ethnic status of different population will result in the existence of
clustered groups of similar racial, linguistic or cultural background. Many of the
minority groups are of low status but there are other reasons for the spatial
separation. They are discriminated against by the housing market and may not
have free choice of where to live. They may have to live in the ghettoes. Some
minority groups may isolate themselves of their own accord in order to share
specific facilities, eg. food stores, church speaking their language.
d. Ghettos in the city:
The origin of the ghettos dated back to World War I. After the WWI, large scale
of Negro migration from the rural south to the urban north began. Together with other
immigrants from other countries, they live in slums created in the periphery of the
business and industrial districts. The residents of the ghettoes may escape through the
rising of economic and education status. The Negroes, however, found it impossible
to leave the ghettos. This leads to the absolute dominant of Negroes in the segregated
The ghettos are characterized by high unemployment, low income, less home
ownership and substandard homing, inferior educational opportunities and inadequate
public services and amenities, and high delinquency and crime rate.
5. Manufacturing areas:
a. Attraction of large cities for industry:
Many industries prefer location near to within the city because:
AL Notes Geography Urban Landscapes Page 38
i. Accessibility to Potential Customers:
The dense population living in the city will form a local market for the consumer
goods. People living within the sphere of influence of the city will buy their goods
from the city. There is also a market within the city for producer goods since there
are a lot of industrial undertakings in the city. Factories producing producer goods
or component parts for assembly into large items can save transportation cost by
having a city location. Some large cities are also ports. A location within them
often access to both international and internal market.
ii. Presence of External Economies:
External economies are benefits enjoyed by building a firm or factory in an area of
high concentration of industrial activities. These benefits will be absent if the
factory is isolated. For example, infrastructure such as highways, rail lines and
terminals, commercial facilities (advertising agencies, insurance company),
educational institutes, research organizations (to find new techniques, to design
new fashions) are on present where there is a high concentration of industrial
iii. Availability of Suitable Labour Supply:
Large cities provide a pull of labour of varied skills. Many firms in the same line
of business in the same place will give rise to facilities for training skilled workers.
Educational facilities of a large city make it easier for manufacturers to recruit
suitable managerial staff. Major cities also offer a supply of unskilled, low-paid
workers since new immigrants and married female are always available to fill up
b. Industrial structure of the city:
Industrial structure of the city is very difficult to generalize since each type of
industries will have its own locational requirements. The factors influencing industrial
location are mainly concerned with accessibility - access to water, power, raw
materials, skilled workers, space, market, port facilities and so on - and the relative
importance of this factor varies from industry to industry.
i. Characteristic Locations:
- Central Location: Industries which occupy central locations either need access
to skilled labour from the whole urban area, eg. the making of instrument and
tools, or need access to the whole market for distribution of products, such as
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- Location Along Transport Arteries or Port Industries: These locations are
sought by industrial enterprises which need good locations for assembling raw
materials and distributing finished products, for access to unskilled and
semi-skilled male or female labour. But, however, cannot afford the high land
price of the central site. factories producing products for export will also be
found in these locations.
- Scattered Locations: Light industries which are less space consuming and less
irritating to other industries will scatter around the city, but essentially, they
are still affected by the transportation system.
- Suburban Location: Large space consumer (assembly line production, space
for storage, space for waste disposal) or those industries which are dangerous
and obnoxious (like vehicle manufacturing, heavy engineering, petro-chemical
plant) will want a suburb location on the outskirts of the city.
- Manufacturing shows the least tendency to agglomerate as compare to other
landuses because each type of industry will have its own particular set of
- Manufacturing activities tend to be dispersed away from the city centre and
have a linear appearance because the factories will extend along the main
- Factories cannot afford the high rental in the city centre.
- Congestion in the city centre may lead to diseconomy, eg. high transportation
cost, delivery delayed.
- Large basic processing industries, eg. oil refinery, iron and steel plants which
create a great deal of noise, smoke and unpleasant odour, will repeal other
landuse development thus must be removed from them.
- Large manufacturing plant of organized integrated industry. For example, car
assembly plants may need an extensive area and a location along the road and
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railway so that the transport of bulky materials and commodities can be
- Some large new plants like to seek a sub-urban location because land is
cheaply available: lacking of female labour will also within reach.
D. Concentric Model:
This model is the result of an empirical study of Chicago by E.W.Burgess and his
associates in 1925. It states that urban landuse tended to display a zonal organization
concentrically arrayed about the city centre.
Two assumptions are implicity stated in the model. The first is that the population
throughout the city is evenly distributed. The second is that movement is equally easy in all
directions. The whole city is considered as an isotropic plain.
1. The theory:
According to this theory, a western city consists of the following zones:
i. The Central Business District:
It is the focal point of the city, the centre of commercial, social and administrative
activities, the main transport node of the city.
ii. The Zone in Transition:
It encircles the C.B.D. and is
an area of declining
residential equality. This
area is often inhabited by
recent migrants to the city.
iii. The Zone of Low-paid
It is the residential area of
better quality than the zone
in transition. It is inhabited
by industrial workers who
wish to live reasonably near
to the place of work.
iv. Residential Zone:
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It is an area of single family. The houses and flats are of higher quality and are
occupied by the middle income group.
v. Commuter Zone:
It is equivalent as sub-urban area which may be separated from the urban area by a
green belt. Residents of this zone commute daily to the city centre.
As the city expands spatially, there is the tendency for each of the inner rings to increase
its area by approaching upon the zone next further up.
The model fails to consider the location of heavy industry. Although Burgess referred
to the factory district, his description of the zone in transition was only about light
industry instead of heavy industry.
Clear cut boundary with a sudden and marked change in landuse on both sides could
not be justified although there may be significant changes associated with distance from
The zones instead of being homogeneous in terms of landuse, in fact, display much
internal variation. For example, there is the exists of rail concentrated on discrete social
area within the zone in transition.
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The model is much too simple to summarize the model city structure. It may be
applied to the US cities of 1920's. However, with increasing mobility brought about by
the common use of automobile, there is the sub-urbanization of retailing, administrative
and industrial activities. The internal structure of cities has become more complex.
The circular configuration of the city is often distorted by the routes radiating from
the city centre. Star pattern is more common. In the figure below, route X is of the same
absolute distance from the city centre as point Z. But in terms of travelling time and cost,
point X is as far from the city centre as point Y. This is because point Y lies on the main
route leading directly to the city centre. A person wishing to reach the city centre from X
had to go via Z or negotiate a maze of side streets where there are many routes radiating
from the C.B.D.. The district will become star shape. We can only have a circular C.B.D.
if there is an infinitive number of main routes.
The model assumes that landuses are free to move about and segregate themselves
into zones but in reality, government planning is important in deciding landuse pattern. In
the past, town planning was in favour of functional differentiation. Therefore, leading to
zones of single landuse but the current popular planning principle is to order to cut down
the demand for transport.
The model is not universally available to all cities. it cannot be applied to
pre-industrial city. In the pre-industrial cities, the privileged class clustered the core
because of their need for close association with the governmental and religious building
in the city centre. There is also a low incidents of functional differentiation. The
manufacturing and selling of the products may be carried out in the same building,
properly the division of work and places of residential on which the concentric model is
based. The model is not applicable to the third world cities.
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The model takes account of the vertical differentiation of the landuse within the same
zone as there is also diminishing accessibility from the ground floor. Even in the C.B.D.,
it is common for the using of upper floor for storage and the top floor for residents.
The size and stage of development of the city have been neglected by the model.
Usually, the small towns have no differentiation of landuse. Five stages in the
development of the towns can be identified. Each with a different pattern of structure:
- Infantile stage with no factory but with the mixing of housing.
- Juvenile stage with a retail zone begin to develop.
- Adolescence stage, a factory development.
- Early mature stage, the upper class household began to move out to better area.
- Mature stage, this district zone can be identified.
This model is too simple and too limited historically and culturally to a particular
situation at a particular time in a particular country. Burgess's model derived from an
inductive approach with no theoretically explanation. We can refine it into deductive
theory by adopting the following assumptions:
- Central areas are more accessible and therefore more desirable for domestic and
- City population are heterogeneous. We have different socio-economic groups.
- The poorer classes cannot afford to travel a long distance to and from work, therefore,
live in the inner part of the city.
- The wealthy classes will always prefer to move out to the city's edge where land value
are relatively low and where large suburban property can be bought economically.
- Space is in greater supply towards the city fringe.
- Land value and hence economic rents are high at the city centre and fall off steadily as
one moves outward to the periphery. This brings about the zoning of urban functions
according to their capacity to meet the economic rent and their needs for a highly
E. Sector Model:
1. The theory:
The model was advanced by Hoyt in 1939. It is developed from a study of residential
rent patterns of 30 cities in the USA. He intended to explain the distributions of housing
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in various American cities and concluded that since the rent area in American cities
tended to conform to a pattern of sectors rather than concentric circles, landuse of the
similar type tend to extend outwards from the C.B.D. in elongated wedges along the
radiating routes. As the city grows, newer houses are added at the suburban fringe.
Industrial areas are also wedge-like as they usually develop along major roads, rail or
water routes leading out of the city centre.
Certain features exercises a dominant influence on the city's structure:
a. There is a difference in accessibility between the arteries, i.e. put more emphasis on
the role of transport and development of industry in the town.
b. High rent residential districts grow in the direction of high ground open space, lake
shore, sea coast, home of community leader, areas free from the disturbances of
industrial activities, i.e. growth of high class residential zone shift outward gradually.
c. Low class residential districts develop in another direction properly adjacent to the
industrial zone where the quality of the environment is lower.
d. Heavy industry will develop along major lines of communication in order to facilitate
the transportation of bulky materials and finished products.
Hoyt had added the directional element to the distance variable in explaining the
internal structure of the city. The model is widely applicable and an introduction marks a
vital step from generalization to reality.
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The model might be taken as a modification of Burgess's zonal model rather than a
completely different model. It recognized the effect of social leap-frogging which did not
guarantee a whole sector to be geographically similar at any one moment of time. Thus
different land uses might be found even within one sector. The existence of a particular
land use was better explained by the law of natural selection which acted randomly rather
than strictly directionally.
2. Application and limitation of the model:
This model places more emphasis on the role of transport and the development of
industry in the town in the study of urban structure.
Hoyt's model recognizes the spatial association of mutually attractive land use
activities (eg. wholesaling and light manufacturing zone located close to the low class
residential zone) and mutually opposed land use activities (eg. the separation of the
manufacturing zone from the high class residential zones).
Hoyt's model is better than Burgess's model in the way that both the distance and
direction from the city centre are considered. More reality is shown by considering the
directional element of outward-oriented city growth. moreover, Hoyt's model is perhaps
only a refinement of Burgess's model because it is also based on city growth around one
single centre and it also suggested that within one sector concentric zones can be found.
The sector model has been criticized on the ground that it is constrained by its narrow
focus on housing and rent. It is too concerned with residential land use and not paid
enough attention to the existence of residential and industrial suburbs which are spatially
separated from the city proper.
It has paid too little attention to the segregation of residence according to racial
difference and religious creeds. However, Hoyt's model was able to recognize the
separation of residence according to economic status.
Like Burgess, Hoyt had paid little attention to the height of buildings and the variation
of use with height. He had neglected the existence of mixed land use zones. For example,
zones in which both lower class residence and light manufacturing units can be found.
F. Multi-Nuclei Model
1. The theory:
Both the concentric zone and sector models suggested that zones developed outwards
from a single centre. Harris and Ullman opposed this idea. It is because in a large city
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with many millions of people, a single C.B.D. or a single shopping district is seldom
enough to meet the need of a large number of business firms or upper class retail shoppers.
The main shopping district or the C.B.D. may be too small in size or too congested with
Therefore, Harris and Ullman
(1949) suggested that zones will
develop around a number of
separate nuclei like railway station
and industrial complexes, in
addition to the C.B.D. Thus cities
have a cellular structure. The
number of nuclei will depend on the
size of the city, and the larger the
city the more numerous and
specialized are the nuclei. Around
each nucleus, a particular zone
develops. Each containing a distinct
variety of landuses.
The distinct complex landuse
pattern is due to the following
a. Certain activities require specialized facilities. For example, the C.B.D. is located at
the point of maximum accessibility, also industry cluster along the waterfront.
b. Certain activities group together because close contact brings mutual benefits. For
example, retailing activities benefit from grouping which increases the concentration
of potentially customer. Industrial activities cluster together because of the finished
products of a factory may be needed as the raw material for another factory.
c. Certain activities are detrimental to one another because they will be found in
different part of the city, eg. industrial landuse and high class housing, i.e. lead to
d. Certain activities are unable to afford the high rent of the most desirable site, eg.
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e. With improvement in transport technology, there is the suburbanization of
administrative functions, eg. the outlying business district.
This is the most flexible of all the theories. The dispersal of urban functions have been
made possible by increased car ownership. Landuse functions are less attached to the
C.B.D.. There is the growth of retail sub-centres and the decentralization of population
and individual activities is a general trend in the world cities. This is the most applicable
model among the three.
2. Application and limitation of the model:
This model is a step further from the generative, simple zonal and sector models. It is
more complex and can be more appropriate in describing the land use in cities in reality.
The model also allows for the peculiarities of a city's individual sites as well as the
corporation of more general social and economic forces. The time dimension, i.e.
historical development, of the city is also included. Thus, it can be taken as a guide to
think about the structure of the city rather than a rigid generalization about urban forms.
This model is the most flexible of all the three main models of urban structure and is
far more widely applicable to large modern cities. It also reflects the tendency for
dispersal of business activities, retailing activities, residence and manufacturing activities
through a large city.
This model tells more about the concept of agglomeration, forces of attraction and
repulsion. These explain the complexity of present day urban functions. It is more
realistic because today the increase of suburbanization and decentralization tends to
develop multiple nuclei.
Like the other two, the model considers only the ground floor land use and fails to
recognize the existence of a number of land use activities in a single building.
The implicit assumption that once nuclei for various types of activities have been
established, the general encouraging the sorting out of urban activities into distinctive
land use regions confirming and developing the pre-existing pattern is still too rigid to
explain the diversified pattern of locations of retailing activities. The concept of urban
hierarchy should be used to allow the growth of the less important or sub-centres for
retailing activities which spread in a more random pattern than other activities.
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G. Theories of Internal Structure of City: Conclusion:
Towns embody the elements of these three models to varying degree and in various
combinations. Generally speaking, small towns especially very old established towns on flat
land exhibit concentric zones, medium sized industrial towns have sectors, and large towns
have multi-nuclei patterns. it is also generally true that the larger the town the greater will be
the tendency for it to show aspects of all three models.
The multi-nuclei model is most applicable to conurbation where minor towns have been
engulfed by major ones but continue to function as secondary foci within the resulting
agglomerations. It can also be seen to work in many colonial cities in Asia and Africa which
have separate European and native centres, each one generating its growth.
In the world's largest cities all three models pattern may be observed in superimposition.
Sydney is such a place: concentric rings of residential development, together with sectors of
industry and within these sectors are district zones which are self-contained social entities.
Although different land use patterns may co-exist, it has been suggested that they develop
individually during different periods in a town's growth. Early growth may be around a
central area and other nuclei. later growth would be conditioned by transport routes which
create a sector pattern, and finally, adjustments of land use in response to land value changes
would reflect a concentric element.
H. Application of the Theories of Internal Structure of a City:
For a metropolitan city such as Sydney, it could be expected to show many of the
characteristics of the early western metropolitan. Moreover, it provides a helpful case
study to justify the validity of some of the theories of urban morphology.
Sydney is the capital of New South Wales, with a population of 2.9 million in 1975.
Port Jackson separates it into two parts: the southern flat land and the northern hilly area.
Sydney lies between the Blue Mountains and the Tasman Sea. Its productive hinterland
and excellent harbour, together with the nodal position in the states road and railway
network enable it to become the primate city of its state.
Sydney's functional pattern may be considered as basically one of concentric zones
modified by topographical influences. The normal pattern is distorted by the harbour and
the sea and the line of Paramatta River. Moreover, the differences of relief between the
north and the south also alter the original pattern. This is shown in the figure below.
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Simplified Land Use Pattern in Sydney
However, the appropriateness of the concentric zone model in explaining the land use
pattern of Sydney suffers from severe criticisms since the model overlooks the
importance of transport routes.
Later, Hoyt modified the concentric zone model and suggested that the urban land
value system consisted of corridors of high value and high accessibility land immediately
adjacent to the transport radials. So land use of similar type tend to extend outwards from
the C.B.D. in elongated wedges along the radiating routes. As the case in Sydney,
elongated land use zones were developed since 1917 when railways and tramways were
developed to the suburbs such as Blacktown and Liverpool.
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However, with the rapid improvement of transport technology, increasing car
ownership and significance of government planning in deciding the land use pattern of
Sydney. Therefore, the multi-nuclei model must also be considered. The model suggests
that with increasing car ownership, suburbanization grows in its importance. So, a
number of quite separated nuclei apart from the C.B.D. can exist as the growing points.
Around each nucleus, a particular zone develops.
In fact, the land use pattern of Sydney includes the elements of concentric zone model,
sector model and multi-nuclei model. So, a fused model which contains elements of all
three models is a useful compromise in explaining the land use pattern of Sydney.
Rutherfold states that the central core of Sydney, together with several outer business
districts around which concentric zones develop, but these are broken by sectors of radial
growth along the main transport arteries that connect the various business districts which
are considered as nuclei for development. The resulting land use pattern is that the central
business district is located close to the docks on the southern side of the harbour. Beyond
this zone, the blighted zone which include light manufacturing and poor quality
residential area immediately surrounds the city core. Further southward lies the residential
zone and heavy manufacturing zones (esp. around the Botany Bay). Moreover, several
nuclei connect with the C.B.D. by transport lines, such as Hornsby, Blacktown,
Parramatta, Liverpool and Sutherland. It is due to the rugged relief of northern Sydney,
the land use pattern is dominated by high-class residential area associated with some
commercial and industrial activities. Other zones with specialized function much as
military reserve and green belt is located in the suburbs.
Though the fused model is more realistic in explaining the land use pattern of Sydney,
some elements are still lacking. The zones instead of being homogeneous in terms of land
use, display much internal variation. Moreover, the model takes no account of the vertical
differentiation of the land use within the same zone since accessibility also decreases
from the ground floor.
Land use pattern is not constant at a point of time. In fact, it is under a dynamic
changes which are modified by various forces of change such as the centrifugal and
centripetal forces, processes invasion and succession and government planning. It is
difficult to identify the land use pattern of a city due to the complexity of internal
structure of a city.
For Sydney, it is more realistic to adopt the fused model which contained elements of
the concentric zone model, the sector model and the multi-nuclei model to explain the
land use pattern. The future trends of the development of Sydney will tend to have
increasing important sub-centres and further urban expansion towards the southern and
the western part Sydney.
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2. Southeast Asian cities:
The post-WWII urban growth in the developing countries such as the Southeast Asian
countries characterised by its rapidity and divergent path which are apparently different
from what experienced by the West. It became an important field of investigation to
urban researchers. Particularly the emphasis is on testifying the western developed
models and constructing a general, explanatory model capable of coping with these new
changes in these cities.
However, these models bear very strong westernized orientation. The western society
is characterised by the existence of mono-economic system and well-developed urban
transportation network which makes possible a maximum specialization of land use in
most western big cities. These two factors are powerful forces in shaping the urban
However, it is quite obvious that these two operational forces are quite different in the
large cities in Southeast Asia. These cities, such as Singapore, Manila, Kuala Lumpur and
Hong Kong, are mainly western injection on local agrarian culture. The economic system
in these urban giants is no longer single. Rather, it exhibits a dichotomy of both western
elements transplanted during the colonial era and traditional elements inherited from the
indigenous culture of the region. To quote McGee's words, such economic system is
referred to as the 'dual economy'.
Furthermore, the transportation systems of most of the Southeast Asian cities are still
rather backward. Traditional modes of transportation, such as carts, tricycles, rickshaws
and sampans, are still carriers of goods and people in these cities. Thus, it is not
surprising to find that land use in these cities is quite mixed and sometimes a 3- or
4-storeyed house is divided up for commercial, industrial and residential uses
In order to minimize the transportation costs or simply because of insufficient
transportation facilities, the work places of a lot of urban residents in these cities are
usually confined to districts within walking distance. it is common to find houses,
especially the shop houses in which people live and work, and buildings with the ground
floor being employed for industrial uses, usually of small-scale, and the upper floors for
residential uses. These areas of multiple functions are very common in the commercial
areas such as the China towns or Indian towns and their nearly slum areas where high
population density is also found. Examples of these could be found in Binondo (in
Manila). Sheung Wan and Yaumati (both in Hong Kong). This mixture of land use clearly
contrasts to what the concentric model depicts, high specialization of land use and
clear-cut zonal boundaries among the land use zones.
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Moreover, the dual economic systems are also a basic determinant of the land use
patterns. The co-existence of the firm-type economy and the bazaar-type economy is
reflected on the urban land use. Generally it also exhibits dualistic characteristics which
the western-based concentric model lacks. For instance, there are different types of
commercial types of commercial areas and they can be broadly divided into two groups.
The western commercial areas with their large European style department stores, hotels
and offices, wider streets and motor vehicles are representation of the firm-type economy.
These areas, to a certain extent, are comparable to the C.B.D. in western cities. On the
other hand, the alien commercial areas, usually dominated either by the Chinese or Indian
people, with the shop house business operated by small families, and the indigenous
commercial areas consisting of the ubiquitous market place or bazaar scatter throughout
the city represent the centres of the bazaar-type economy. Similar dualistic structures can
be detected among the residential areas (eg. the bungalows and the housing estates in
contrast to the squatters and the slums) and the manufacturing areas (eg. the industrial
estates in contrast to the small scale cottage-type workshops).
Other elements which the concentric model fails to incorporate is the common
existence of the port areas, squatter areas and the newly built industrial and housing
estates. Most of the Southeast Asian million cities are port-cities and today the function of
the these ports continues to flourish and, indeed, the port area still remains as the
economic focus of the city as it occupies a central location within the city. The concentric
model which is a general land use model for western cities essentially takes no account of
this special element.
Furthermore, the ruthless demographic growth of these Southeast Asian cities,
associated with the failure to accomplish economic development and improve urban
infrastructure has turned a number of these modern cities into refugee camps
characterized not only by slums, but also squatters. Squatter areas are found in Kuala
Lumpur at Kampong Sector and elsewhere on the urban fringe on Hong Kong. These
areas often duplicate the housing of rural areas and look like rural village transferred to an
urban setting. On the other hand, planned new estates, both industrial or residential are
gradually appearing on the urban scene. They represent somehow the modern planned
development of the cities. These phenomena are especially obvious in the two city-states,
Hong Kong and Singapore. These estates are mostly creations of the government and they
are located on the less developed urban fringe. This sort of locations, in essence part of
the political processes, undermines the simple notions of market forces as the creators of
concentric zonal patterns of land use.
Upon the juxtaposition of residential land uses, the Southeast Asian cities generally
exhibit deviations from the concentric model. Although high income areas of detached
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bungalows, sometimes set in spacious gardens are found in the suburbs of Hong Kong
and Singapore. The inner cities and the western C.B.D. remain homes of the well-off
entrepreneurial classes for most cities. Different juxtapositions of the zone of better
residence may indicate different stages of economic development. For most of the
western cities nowadays, as the concentric model depicts, these high class residential
areas are located away from the city centre. In fact, the western cities and the Southeast
Asian cities, to a certain extent, may represent two stages of economic and technological
development, one being industrial and another being transitional between industrial and
pre-industrial, if not totally pre-industrial.
The assertion of a single centre (C.B.D.) no longer holds wither in these developing
cities. As have already been discussed, the commercial centres are usually many,
including the westernized one, the alien one and also the indigenous one. McGee has
developed a general multi-nuclei land use model showing a number of commercial
Other hypothetical model may also be employed (the figure below). The essential
point is that they all recognize the existence of multiple commercial centres. However,
these models, to a certain extent, also identify four or five broadly concentric zones,
namely the port zone, the mixed land use zone, the medium density residential zone, the
squatter zone and finally the market gardening zone. These zones may not be in a
continuous manner. However, they conform roughly to the concentric model though the
zones may be of very different nature.
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One very critical point, at this juncture worthy of stressing, is that the Southwest
Asian cities, even discussed in a very generalized manner, are by no means of only one
single-type. Processes of social, economic and political changes especially in the postwar
period, have resulted in significant variations in the operation of the urbanization process.
These processes have also resulted in some considerable variation in the patterns of land
use of these cities, the whole picture of which cannot be represented by any generalized
model. The land use is also a dynamic element of the city. It is by no means possible to
illustrate these pattern of land use by one all embracing model. Singapore and Hong Kong,
to some extent, demonstrate a path half-way from colonial imposition to western
duplication. These two cities are experiencing falling birth rates and the fastest rates of
industrialization in the region. The morphology of the cities has changed owing to the
appearance of rings housing estates surrounding the old metropolitan areas. The rapidly
growing tourist trade in these cities has also led to extensive hotel building and the
upgrading of the inner areas of the cities. These phenomena are still, however, less
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eminent in other cities. In addition, the diversity of the land use patterns will be even
greater and obvious if a number of socialist cities (eg. Hanoi) are included. It is believed
that the forces shaping the land use patterns in these cities within a planned economy are
Further complication is caused by physical conditions such as topography. For
instance, in Kuala Lumpur, patterns of land use spread out in series of concentric circles
from the centre of the city.
But in Hong Kong, the influence of the Victoria Harbour and the hilly landscape is
obvious the dividing influence of the harbour, to some extent, has caused some repetition
of the land use features in Kowloon and on Hong Kong Island.
Land use Model of Hong Kong (1970s)
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Land use Model of Hong Kong (1980s)
To sum up, the concentric model is constructed based on the operational processes
which are quite different form the Southeast Asian cities. The concentric model is useful
as a stepping stone to the understanding of the land use patterns. But, to suit the context
of this region with a different mix of cultural, social and economic conditions, the
western-developed models such as the concentric model need to be modified or even
reconstructed. Moreover, it is important to appreciate that any land use model, no matter
how comprehensive it is, represents only a generalization which does not necessarily have
to fit reality and no model is entirely satisfactory.
IV. Urban Problems:
A. Transport Problem:
The separation of land use within a city generates a lot of traffic: journey to shop,
journey to school, journey to work and journey to recreation, etc..
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Transport is a service of all activities in a city because only with transportation, the
city's activities can function in their best way. Moreover, transport can also be regarded as
a type of landuse roads, tracks and stations and parking areas all need space.
With rapid urbanization, suburbanization, and industrial development, traffic
congestion brought about by the increase movement of people and goods along routes
which are planned to carry much lighter traffic is a serious problems in many cities.
In pre-industrial towns, the number of trips and the distance involved was short
because those towns were small in area. As a town grows larger and larger, its functions
become more important and more people are likely to work and shop there. And as the
town becomes larger, even people living within the built up areas need to travel by car or
bus to cross the town/ city. And because of urban sprawl, many suburban dwellers travel
long distance each day to and from work in the city centre. They usually bring their cars
or travel by public transport. Wherever trade is important, commercial vehicles such as
vans and lorries will also help to add to the heavy traffic.
Because most of the commercial activities are concentrated in the C.B.D., and as
C.B.D.s are the focal points of transport and are the largest employment fields of the city,
C.B.D. are the areas of greatest traffic congestion.
Moreover, within the city, roads leading to factories, offices or schools will be
congested with vehicles and people in the morning and in the evening. Entertainment and
shopping districts will be very busy at night and in mid-afternoon respectively. And roads
running to residential areas will be very congested when commuters flock to the cities in
the morning to work and return home in the evenings. This put tremendous pressure on
public transport and causes journey to take much longer than they normally would.
2. The Problems:
In most cities in the developed countries, the rush hours may last for 2.5 hours or
3 hours and during that period buses and trains are crammed to capacity, roads are full
of buses, private cars and taxis, and movement around and out of the city is very slow.
Congestion of urban central areas is largely due to the use of private cars, eg. in
London, some 140,000 people in 97000 cars enter the central area daily between 7
and 10 am. Because the central city streets are congested that speeds are greatly
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reduced. For example, in many US cities, speeds are reduced to 6-10 km/hr, and in
most other cities reduced to 15 km/hr.
In Hong Kong there are daily congestions during the rush hours in various spots,
eg. the entrance of the Cross Harbour Tunnel, in Central District, Tsing Yi Bridge and
Tuen Mum Highway.
Congestion can also happen in the developing countries because the narrow streets
are built not to accommodate heavy traffic. This is also a case in Hong Kong.
Moreover, in the developing
countries, traffic management is
poor and there may be presence
of animals on the roads. For
example, in India, there are
many cows on the roads and the
people don't bother to drive them
away. Moreover, poor
maintenance of cars can also
b. Inefficiency of the Public Transport:
It is difficult to eliminate peak hour congestion because usually factories and
offices have the work hour 9 am to 5 pm. Peak hour congestion affects both private
and public transport but present special difficulties for the latter.
About 80% of the total demand for public transport is confined to a mere 20 hours
of the week. During rush hours each day, the rolling stock is used to capacity, but at
other times, it is either under-utilized or lying idle. Overall operating costs are pushed
up and fares are higher than would be the case if the same total volume of traffic were
spread evenly through the week.
Peak problems are likely to get worse as the working week is shortened and shift
work forced further out of fashion. Capacity pressures on buses and trains are now the
norm at peak periods at all metropolitan cities. For example, in Tokyo, the commuter
rail system has a typical morning rush hour overloaded of 308% of capacity. In Paris,
the metro operates at 115% capacity. Therefore services are irregular and
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Commuter rail and tube-services (underground rail) also suffer disadvantages that
they need to stop at a number of stop to collect a payload. This make their journey
slow and tedious and increase fares due to the high cost of frequent braking and
During off peak hour period, public transport suffer from the problem of too few
passengers. In large cities, the commuters would take public transport to work. Other
members of the family can use the car during the off peak hour thus public transport
very often cannot maintain a considerable number of passengers. There is loss in
operation. This loss is most serious in cities that public and private transport are both
c. Inadequate Parking Space:
There are also problems in finding parking spaces in central areas. In older towns,
whether in developed or underdeveloped countries, the narrowness of the streets,
which were built long before the days of motorized transport and the lack of parking
facilities help to create congestion. Cars may park along the edges of the roads
restricting movement of traffic may slow down movement and thus create even
Moreover, prohibited parking in streets and one way systems hinder shop
deliveries, conversely shop deliveries hinder traffic flow in the city centre.
d. Safety of the Pedestrians:
Traffic kills many lives. In Hong Kong, there is average 1 person killed in road
accidents each day. Moreover, the pedestrians are threatened by mechanized transport
in many ways:
i. the widening of roads can narrow the width of pedestrian walkways.
ii. by decreasing the time allocating for the movement of pedestrians by lessening the
time of green light for pedestrians;
iii. by building flyovers and tunnels, there appears separation of the pedestrians and
vehicles. This can reduce accidents but this can decrease the ease of movement of
the old people, young children, pregnant women or handicapped people.
In the developing countries, there are too many pedestrians on the streets because
they can't afford to travel by vehicles. These pedestrians forms an obstruction to
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transport because they may block the roads. And it is dangerous for the pedestrians to
compete space with the vehicles.
3. Possible solutions:
Traffic congestion results in the loss of much time and money for the city dwellers.
Therefore various methods are being used in different cities to solve the transport
a. Most large cities are trying to strike the right balance between public and private
transport with deliberate efforts to encourage and expand the use of public transport
while curbing the use of private transport.
Most planners agree that steps should be taken to restrict the use of private cars in
cities. Possible methods include: imposition of road tolls, high parking fee, costly
excise license, punitive purchase taxes on new cars, road pricing, some busy streets
could be closed to all traffic while other streets could be limited to public transport,
create bus only lane in busy streets.
While on the other hand, public transport services should be improved by:
i. establishing improved bus services as a major contribution to the transport of
passengers and to set up special lanes to give buses unrestricted movement to
make bus services more reliable and competitive among those means of transport.
ii. as rail systems are efficient in the transport of passengers in terms of number, the
government should place a major emphasis on improved rail facilities for
commuters. For example, in San Francisco, a newly built electric rail system in
the Bay area is especially designed to ensure the swift and comfortable transport
of masses of commuters to and from downtown, San Francisco. And, in Hong
Kong the MTR and KCR accompanied by the feeder bus system have contributed
to the reduction of surface traffic congestion and improved the intra and inter
districts transport to a certain extend.
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b. Building of ring roads and by-pass. Ring roads and by-pass allow traffic to pass a city
without having to pass through its busy inner areas, eg. in Hong Kong the Eastern
Corridor from Causeway Bay to central and the Tsuen Wan by-pass.
However, there is clash of interest between those who seek improved accessibility and
those who which to preserve the environment. The main objection to such roads are
that they are visually unattractive, noisy and is a source of funes, dirts and vibration.
They destroy community relationship in the districts through which they pass because
they mean a physical barrier. Moreover, they mean loss of business to the shops by
passed by the road, and it means devaluation of the properties in front of or behind a
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c. Better town planning.
To decentralize economic activities from city centre to suburbs is a way of reducing
traffic congestion. The government can give incentives like tax relief, cheap land and
monetary grant to industries to disperse to smaller centres especially to declining
areas where provide many migrants/ commuters to major centres. This can keep
population and economic development more evenly distributed and can reduce the
need to travel long distance to and from work.
Building of new towns at a distance from the main urban centre. Such towns have
industrial as well residential areas aim to provide employment as well as better
housing for people who move from the major towns to the new towns. From 1972
onwards, Hong Kong started its development of new towns: Tsuen Wan, Tuen Mun,
Shatin and others. One of the aims is to achieve a balanced and industrial, residential
and community services to reduce the daily commuting between places of work and
home. Recreational facilities and amenities in the new towns are incorporated in their
development. So people in the new towns do not have to travel to the urban areas for
Britain has many new town, some of which have been more successful than others.
Many within the 'commuter belt' still have a large outflow of labour to London or
other large cities but others have succeeded in providing adequate and suitable
employment for the population within their own areas.
Many other countries have followed the example of setting up new towns. In
Malaysia, Petaling Jaya was set up not only to house overspill population from Kuala
Lumpur, but also to provide employment on its industrial estates. As a self-contained
new town Petaling Jaya has been a failure because, being so close to Kuala Lumpur,
there is a tremendous exchange of workers each day contributing very much to traffic
congestion in the whole area. The better conditions of the new town attracted many of
the wealthier people to move from crowded Kuala Lumpur to new homes in Petaling
Jaya but fewer workers were able to move especially in the early stages of town's
growth. Industrial development proceeded well but many workers had to come from
Kuala Lumpur to factories in Petaling Jaya while the better-off citizens of Petaling
Jaya still move every day to their offices and business in Kuala Lumpur.
d. Other methods, such as introducing staggered working hours, building new roads;
introducing 'park-and-ride' scheme (commuters parking their cars at the C.B.D. edge
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and completing their journeys in small low cost express coaches) and traffic/
B. Housing Problem:
There is housing problem when people found that their home cannot fulfill the role of
a home. For example, there is restricted privacy, or living in the house is highly
uncomfortable or inconvenient, making the people who stays at home unenjoyable.
The presence of housing problem is related to:
a. quantities of houses available - if there are not enough houses for all residents in the
city, there is a housing problem. Some of the residents have to crowd in small houses
and some erect their temporary houses - squatter;
b. quality of houses - there is housing problem if a city fails to provide enough decent
and acceptable houses for all residents. The quality of houses is related to: space
available per person, degree of privacy, availability of facilities, supply of electricity
and water, materials used for construction, width of streets, lighting of streets,
provision of drainage system, etc..
For a growing city housing is always a critical problem. For the high income groups,
the housing market can easily satisfy the demand and many beautiful home are available
for private occupancy. Housing conditions for the poor, however, are unsatisfactory and
too many people live in congested slum or squatter areas.
2. Housing problems in western cities:
a. The Problem:
In the 19th century, many European cities in response to industrialization grew
rapidly. There was the problems of housing the workers close to their place of work.
Owing to the limited space in the city centre and the keen competition for land use,
the price of land and hence the rent rose to an unbearable level. Thus the low-income
workers were forced to live in the substandard housing in the transitional zone. These
substandard housing suffered from narrow and winding streets, poor lighting and poor
Some of these slums districts still persist today in the western cities. Those living
in these slums are mostly the poor, the new immigrants, and the socially deprived and
colour groups. In the USA, it is called ghetto formation, i.e. squatters with racial
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minorities of the Blacks, Puerto Ricans and Chinese. These slums pose social
problems like health hazards, delinquency, crime and social unrest.
In England and Wales there are over one million houses listed as unfit to live in,
while a further two million lack one or more basic amenities such as an indoor
lavatory, a fixed bath or hot and cold water.
In Tokyo, overcrowding is a serious problem. Tokyo is a city of over 11 million
people. The majority lives on the narrow coastal plains, particularly in the 640 km belt
from Tokyo to Osaka, known as the Tokaido megalopolis. A very high density of
population in the settled areas has made Japan's cities overcrowded, congested and
polluted. In Tokyo, where rents are so high that few families can afford a city centre
flat bigger than about 6 m x 4 m.
Such housing problem can be lessened by two solutions:
i. Urban renewal helps to remove the urban slums and rehouse the former residents.
However, urban renewal is bound to be piece meal in nature. It is because some of
the old housings are being preserved for historical and cultural reasons. But more
important, not all individual land owners are willing to sell their land. Some try to
hold out their land seeking to obtain a higher price for their properties. Therefore
the acquisition of land is time consuming and expensive. Thus urban renewal
projects are done bit by bit.
ii. Encourage suburbanization. Some western cities develop public housing in the
suburban areas or develop new satellite towns beyond the metropolis fringe as to
disperse the overcrowded population to the periphery.
3. Housing problems in the developing/ non-western countries:
a. The Problem:
In the developing countries, the rapid expansion of the city population, the
shortage of reasonable employment, and the poverty of many families, lead to a
desperate struggle for land and housing. Housing which is cheap enough for the poor
is simply not available in sufficient quantities. Because they cannot afford to buy the
houses that are available, the poor take to building their own squatters on empty land.
This results in the formation of shanty towns.
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Housing problem is very serious in many developing countries. The seriousness of
the problem is shown by street-sleepers or hopelessness and the ubiquitous slums and
squatter areas. Some dwellers occupy houses at an incredible high rates of
overcrowding and high population density in the central city as well as in the outer
areas. In other words, shanty towns grow in any available space.
Most of these temporary structures are found around the periphery of the build-up
areas, since the poor immigrants cannot afford the high rent of the city core. These
slum/ squatters areas have few public services like water and electricity supply,
sewage facilities and proper drainage. And many houses are mere shelters made of
wood, mud, straw or even flattened petrol tins. There are hazards of fire, landslides,
flood and crime, and spread of disease is easy. Many Southeast Asian and Latin
America cities are suffering from such a serious problem.
In Latin America, shanty towns are the result of housing shortage rather than of
poverty. Some of the occupants or slum dwellers are indeed professional people or
emergent middle class living in the better built shanties. The root of the problem lies
in the lack of conventional housing and low cost housing to accommodate the
In Calcutta, India, with more than 3/4 of the people live in overcrowded slums,
over 1/2 the families have only one room, and 20 people share a lavatory. Rubbish is
dumped in the street and left where it falls. In 1975, 1.75 million people were living in
shanty towns in the conurbation while 100,000 were pavement dwellers.
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In Hong Kong, industrialization brings about rapid urbanization. Together with
the heavy influx of immigrants from China esp. in 1945-56, Hong Kong became one
of the world's most densely populated areas. Those cannot afford the high rents,
constructed squatters on the hillslopes or live in the slums on the edge of the city. The
squatters of Hong Kong are largely peripheral to the urban area. In Kowloon, the
largest squatter areas are found at the walled city and Diamond Hill. The largest
single squatter in Hong Kong Island is found at Holy Cross Paty Village.
While in the early residential districts, eg. Shamshuipo, Yaumati and the Western
District of Hong Kong side, there are still many old attached tenement houses of 3 or
4 storeys high. The inner partitions are usually wooden planks, so that rooms in the
central portion are dark, lacking fresh air and sunlight, because only the front and rear
portions have windows. It is common to find 5 or 6 families crowded on one flat of
Building rate, including housing estates, has never been able to keep pace with
population growth. The great demand with the high price of land reduces the sizes of
flats to below 30 sq. m. and pushes the buildings to 30 storeys or more making no
relief to the high density of population per unit area. Apart from frequent social
conflicts with neighbours, improper disposal of rubbish creates habitats for insects
Some non-western countries with advantages of organization and investment
capital have attempted ambitious solution to this urban problem, eg. Hong Kong and
Singapore by the public housing and resettlement schemes.
The clearance of shanty towns and the rehousing of their inhabitants in high and
low cost apartment blocks offers one solution. The policy of the Hong Kong
government has been to clear the slum and shanty towns and to rehouse people on
large new estates and in new towns away from the city.
Large scale redevelopment has only been possible because of Hong Kong's
rapidly expanding industrial wealth, many third world governments cannot afford to
undertake such schemes. The most realistic alternative policy is to recognize the
opportunities for self-improvement that exist within the squatter areas themselves.
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The upgrading of existing shanty towns probably offer a better solution. This has
taken place in Lusaka (Zambia) where city council has cooperated with squatter
settlement inhabitants in self-help projects, to provide fresh water supplies and better
In Columbia, low cost housing is being built by the people of a poor
neighbourhood with materials provided by the government. However, such schemes
still require considerable amounts of money and again seldom keep pace with the
demand for housing from the rapidly increasing population in the cities.
Moreover, the development of farming might slow down rural migration to cities
and so stem the growth of shanty towns. In Zambia, this solution is also being
attempted under the operation of food production programme.
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