Where are Cities Located and Why?

Where are Cities
Located and Why?
Site and Situation
* absolute location
of a city
* a city’s static
location, often
chosen for trade,
defense, or
* relative location of
a city
* a city’s place in the
region and the
world around it.
Trade area
Trade area – an adjacent region
within which a city’s influence is
Green Country, Oklahoma
Rank-Size Rule:
in a model urban hierarchy, the population of the city or
town will be inversely proportional to its rank in the
hierarchy. The nth largest city will be 1/n the size of the
largest city in that country.
For example:
largest city = 12 million
2nd largest = 6 million
3rd largest = 4 million
4th largest = 3 million
Primate City
The leading city of a country. The city is
disproportionately larger than the rest of the
cities in the country.
For example:
London, UK
Mexico City, Mexico
Paris, France
- the rank-size rule does not work for a
country with a primate city
Central Place Theory
Walter Christaller developed a model to predict how and where
central places in the urban hierarchy (hamlets, villages, towns,
and cities) would be functionally and spatially distributed.
Assumed: surface is flat with no physical barriers
soil fertility is the same everywhere
population and purchasing power are evenly distributed
region has uniform transportation network
from any given place, a good or service could be sold
in all directions out to a certain distance
Hexagonal Hinterlands
C = city
T = town
V = village
H = hamlet
Urban Structure
Urban Morphology
The layout of a city, its physical form and
• Functional Zonation
– The division of the city into certain regions (zones)
for certain purposes (functions).
Zones of the City
• Central business district (CBD)
• Central City (the CBD + older housing zones)
• Suburb (outlying, functionally uniform zone
outside of the central city)
Modeling the North American City
• Concentric zone model (Ernest Burgess)
• Sector model (Homer Hoyt)
• Multiple Nuclei Model
(Chauncy Harris and Edward Ullman)
Three Classical Models of Urban Structure
Edge Cities
Suburban downtowns,
often located near key
freeway intersections,
often with:
- office complexes
- shopping centers
- hotels
- restaurants
- entertainment
- sports complexes
Urban Realms Model
Each realm is a separate
economic, social and
political entity that is
linked together to form
a larger metro
Modeling the Cities of the Global Periphery and
• Latin American City (Griffin-Ford model)
• African City (de Blij model)
• Southeast Asian City (McGee model)
Disamenity sector – very poorest parts of the city
eg. the favelas of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
The African
(de Blij
Asian City
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