Urban Structure Models

Urban Structure Models
Concentric Zone Model - develops outward, designed by sociologist Ernest Burgess in 1923
- consists of the CBD (central business district) and outer zones where
lower-density suburbs & their new business & shopping centers lie,
ex: NYC
5 Concentric Zones
1) CBD - shops, offices, banks, government bldgs.
- in larger cities may be divided into subdistricts: theater, financial, gov’t. center
- high land values & maximization of floor space
- transport lines converge
2) zone of transition - residential deterioration (area of postwar urban renewal)
- encroachment of business & light manufacturing
- urban blight, tenements & slums, inadequate services, poverty
3) zone of workingmen’s homes - closely built older residences
4) zone of middle-class residences - greater affluence & spaciousness
- early shopping centers made their appearance
5) commuters’ zone - highest priced residential areas
As the city grows the whole system expands outward. This model did not account for heavier
industries within cities which formed several concentrations in certain transport-related areas of
the city, also certain facilities can not move outward (RR yards, ports, factory clusters, etc.),
transportation routes interrupt the concentricity scheme.
Sector Model - pie-shaped wedge, designed by economist Homer Hoyt in 1939 (“The Structure
and Growth of Residential neighborhoods in American Cities”)
- based on rent paid
- city develops in a series of sectors & expands outward in a wedge from the
Center, ex: large urban area extending from San Francisco to San Jose
Multiple Nuclei Model - a # of independent centers, developed by geographers Chauncy Harris
& Edward Ullman in 1945 because the other two models left too many unresolved
- a city consists of a number of discrete functional areas that each
formed & revolved around their own separate nuclei (ex: port, business center,
university, park, airport, etc.)
- certain activities are attracted to certain nodes, ex: metropolitan LA,