Geography Models
Preparing for the
AP Human Geography Exam
Models, Models, Models
Let’s review them all!
What do we always say about
 This is a model
Is this what most
men & women look
It’s the same way
with models in
Geography models
are simply theoretical
representations of
the built environment
Johann von Thunen
 1783-1850, German economist who proposed
an agricultural model on how farmers choose
their crops or animals.
Farmers compare two costs, the cost of the land
versus the cost of transporting products to
Prepared a model on the spatial arrangement of
different crops/animals around the city center.
Von Thunen’s Land Use Model
•1826- von Thunen
•According to the model, a
commercial farmer initially considers
which crops to cultivate and which
animals to raise based on market
•Farmer takes into account two costs:
cost of land v. cost of transportation
•The goods that are expensive to ship
or are perishable will be closer to the
central city while the goods that need
lots of land or are inexpensive to ship
will be farther from the central city.
Von Thunen Agriculture Model
Land rent or cost = Bid Rent
Labor costs
Transport costs (distance to
Production costs
The market is a central Isolated
The Isolated State is surrounded
by forest
The terrain is homogeneous, flat,
has no rivers or mountains.
Soils/climate are even and
Farmers behave rationally to
maximize profits
Location Theory
Distance Decay and Friction of Distance
Predicting where something should be located
This can be on the local, regional, national or global
von Thünen looked at locations of primary industries,
but secondary industries locations are more
Secondary industry locations include human behaviors
and decision making – political, cultural, economic
Profit is the primary motivator
Variable Costs – energy, transport, labor and others
Alfred Weber
1868-1958, German economic geographer
 Ideas similar to von Thunen in terms of industrial
 The Least Cost Theory, accounts for the location of a
manufacturing plant in terms of the owners desire to
minimize three categories of cost –
Agglomeration (when enterprises cluster in the same area
and provide assistance to each other through shared
talents, services, and facilities).
Weber’s Least Cost Theory – 3 primary
factors of location (to minimize costs)
Transportation – the lowest possible costs in moving raw
materials to the factory and the finished product to market
Labor – this reduces profits, therefore owners may want to
move farther from raw materials and markets
Agglomeration – like industries clustering in the same
area(s) can reduce costs. Existing infrastructure (transport,
phones, water, buildings, etc.)
Deglomeration – what happens when too much
agglomeration takes place?
Other Factors – political stability, cheap energy, local receptiveness
(locating a prison), taxation (exemptions), free land, climate (LA and film
industry), local mores (brewery, sex shops, etc.), owner’s local
connections to area
Weber’s Least Cost Theory
Model developed according to the location of manufacturing establishments is
determined by the minimization of three critical expenses:
1. labor
2. transportation
3. agglomeration (a process involving the clustering or concentrating of
people or activities. Often refers to businesses that
benefit from proximity because they share
skilled-labor pools and technological and
financial amenities.)
Walter Christaller
 German geographer
 Central Place Theory --model that would show
how and where central places in the city
should be located
 Used hexagons to determine range and
threshold of business/services.
Christaller looked at the arrangement of urban place and
functions. He started trying to model what he saw.
Arrangement and Spacing of Urban Places
Circular shapes resulted in
unserved or overlapped areas
Hexagons had no gaps or
This suggests an inverse
relationship of higher order and
lower order settlements (towns
and cities)
Theoretically, settlements will be
equidistant from each other
In other words, big towns/cities are
Central Place Theory
A theory of Walter Christaller that seeks to explain the relative size and spacing of
towns and cities as a function of people’s shopping behavior.
It explains how and where central places in the urban hierarchy should be
functionally and spatially distributed.
The smallest settlements in an urban system will provide only those goods and
services that meet everyday needs (bakery and dairy products, and groceries) and
that these small settlements will be situated relatively close to one another because
consumers, assumed to be spread throughout the countryside, will not be prepared
to travel far for such items. On the other hand, people will be willing to travel
farther for more expensive, less frequently purchased items usually found in the
larger settlements.
Range and Threshold are taken into account when deciding where to place a
Hotelling’s Model
Concept of Locational
 Suppose there is a
beach a mile long
 There are two ice
cream vendors
 Where would they
locate on the beach to
maximize their sales?
Hotelling Model on the landscape
E.W. Burgess
 American sociologist of the 1920’s
 Developed the Concentric Zone Model
describing how a city grows outward from a
central area in a series of concentric rings –
Zone in transition
Zone of working class homes
Zone of better residences
Commuters zone
Characteristics of Concentric Zone
Burgess studied 1920s
Chicago to make this
5 concentric zones
Burgess suggested that
immigrants lived in inner
zones which caused
affluent residents to
move farther out
Invasion and Succession
Concentric Zone’s
weakness is that it does
not allow for change in
the city
Concentric Zone does
not allow for physical
geographic barriers
Concentric Zone Model
Definition: A city grows outward from a central city in a series of concentric rings.
The rings denote different classes of people.
1st is the CBD
2nd is the zone of transition containing industry and poorer houses
3rd is the working-class zone containing modest homes with working class families
4th is the middle class with newer spacious homes
5th is the commuter zone
Homer Hoyt
Land economist of the late 1930’s
Developed a model of city structure based on series
of sectors
 Certain areas of the city are more attractive for
various activities, thus as city grows activities expand
outward in wedges or sectors from the center –
Transportation and industry
Low-class residential
Middle-class residential
High-class residential
Hoyt Sector Model
Late 1930s
Answered the drawbacks of
Burgess Model
Hoyt said growth created
pie-shaped urban structure
Hoyt said his pie-shaped
zones could reach from the
Core (CBD) to the edge of
the city (e.g. low rent sector
3 from CBD to outskirt of
Sector Model says that the
CBD is not as important as
Burgess indicated
Sectors were developed
along transport routes (e.g.
highways, RRs, etc.)
Sector Model
Definition: The city develops in a series of sectors, not rings. As a city grows,
activities expand outward in a wedge from the center. Many areas are more
attractive for various activities. Social classes are found in sectors of a city, not
in the rings from the inside out.
Thomas Malthus
 1766-1834, English economist proposed that
the world’s rate of population increase was
far outrunning the development of food
 In other words, population is growing
geometrically while food is increasing
Malthus’ Principle of Population as
it affects the future
Malthus’ Principle of Population as
it affects the future
What Malthus said:
• population grows geometrically while food production grows arithmetically
• according to Malthus, these growth rates would produce the following
relationships between food and people in the future:
• Today
1 person, 1 unit of food
• 25 years from now
2 persons, 2 units of food
• 50 years from now
4 persons, 3 units of food
• 75 years from now
8 persons, 4 units of food
• 100 years from now
16 persons, 5 units of food
• these predictions were made just after England became the first country to
enter stage 2 of Demographic Transition
Malthus’ Principle of Population as
it affects the future
1. Population growth is increasing greatly in the poorer countries of
the world because of medical growth not growth of wealth. They are
not increasing their food production as quickly as they are their
2. Population growth is stripping the world of many valuable
resources like energy sources, not just food.
Malthus’ Critics:
1. Boserup and Kuznets: Population growth could stimulate economic
growth and bring about more food production.
2. Simon: Population stimulated economic growth. More people=more
brains to invent things to improve life.
3. Marxists: No cause-effect relationship between the growth of population
and economic development.
Ester Boserup
 1910-1999, Danish economist stated the
population growth influences the distribution
of types of subsistence farming.
 Subsistence farmers increase the supply of
food through intensification of production
through the …
Adoption of new farming methods
Land is left fallow for shorter periods
E.G. Ravenstein
 1834-1913, 19th century geographer who
outlined 11 migration “laws”.
 To understand where and why migration
occurs, Ravenstein’s “laws” can be organized
into three groups…
The reasons why migrants move
The distance the typically move
The characteristics of migrants
Wilbur Zelinsky
 1921 – present, American geographer
identified a migration transition which
consists of changes in a society comparable to
those in the demographic transition.
International migration is a phenomenon of
countries in stage 2 of the demographic
Internal migration is more important in stages 3
and 4 of the demographic transition.
Immanuel Wallerstein
 1930 – present, Sociologist
 Describes the plight between less developed
countries and their relationship with more
developed countries, aka World Systems Theory
 Describing a dynamic capitalist world economy
from the 1500’s onward (feudalism on to
colonialism on to capitalism).
 The core (capitalist) countries benefit from their
relationships with the semi-periphery and
periphery – which have varying degrees of
dependence on the core.
World Systems Theory
Immanuel Wallerstein
The good news is that each sector is not necessarily
static – can move from one sector to another
3 sectors that we have discussed before – These are
relationships between countries – all three types need
each other
But, who always wins?
Core-Periphery Model
C.D. Harris and E.L. Ullman
American geographers of the late 1940’s
Developed the Mulitple Nuclei Model of urban structure.
A city is a complex structure that includes more than once
center around which activities revolve, thus it has several
centers or nodes –
Low-class residential
Middle-class residential
High-class residential
Heavy manufacturing
Outlying business district
Residential suburb
Industrial suburb
Multiple Nuclei
Harris & Ullman
hypothesized the CBD
was further losing its
CBD no longer the
nucleus of the modern
city, thus emergence of
Reflects decentralization
and then re-nucleation of
urban functions
Nuclei are disconnected
and do not necessarily
rely on each other
Multiple Nuclei Model
Definition: A city is a complex structure that includes more than one center around
which activities revolve. Examples of these nodes are a port, neighborhood
business center, university, airport and park. Some activities are attracted to
particular nodes, whereas others try to avoid them like things near universities and
World City Models
Latin American City Model
W.W. Rostow
Economist of the 1950’s
Proposed a five-stage model of development
aka Rostow’s Development Model or the
International Trade Approach –
The traditional society
The preconditions for takeoff
The takeoff
The drive to maturity
The age of mass consumption
Rostow’s Modernization Model
Sometimes called the Ladder of Development
Eurocentric and Americentric
Doesn’t account for regional differences
within a country
Doesn’t account for cultural differences
within a country
Doesn’t account for one-commodity
Major bias that all economies will grow
the same way developed countries grew
Rostow believed all countries would grow
in an orderly fashion like Japan and
Europe and the US did
Dependency Theory
Political and economic relationships between countries and
regions control and limit development possibilities
Example – colonialism created…
Dependent relationships between mother country and the
occupied country
These relationships sustain prosperity of the core country and
poverty of the periphery country
Gives rise to NEOCOLONIALISM in the 1970s, 80s and on to
the present
Alexander Humboldt & Carl Ritter
 German geographers (1770’s-1859)
 Urged human geographers to adopt the
methods of scientific inquiry used by natural
 Concentrated on how the physical
environment caused social development and
thus Environmental Determinism.
Jean Brunhes
French geographer
 Major contributer to the cultural landscape tradition
 Cultural landscape geographers argue that each
region has its own distinctive landscape that results
from a unique combination of social relationships
and physical processes.
 Example – Africa and its political/economic instability
tied to its natural resources/physical
features/political boundaries.
Mackinder’s Heartland Theory
and Spykman’s Rimland Theory
Mackinder’s Heartland Theory
and Spykman’s Rimland Theory
Heartland Theory:
Mackinder believed that a land-based power, not a sea-based power,
would ultimately rule the world. He believed that Eurasia was the most
important area in the world containing a “pivot area” extending from Eastern
Europe to eastern Siberia. The “pivot area” became known as the Heartland.
Who rules East Europe rules the Heartland.
Who rules the Heartland rules the World Island.
Who rules the World Island rules the World.
Rimland Theory
Spykman believed the Eurasia rim, not its heart, held the key to global
power. He parodied Mackinder:
Who controls the Rimland rules Eurasia
Who rules Eurasia controls the destinies of the world.
Spykman saw a divided rimland as a key to the world’s balance of power.
Today the rimland includes Western Europe and China
The Demographic Transition
Demographic Transition Model –
page 54
Demographic Transition
The Demographic Transition
Stage One:
CBR- very high
CDR- very high
NIR- low
Population Growth: Low
Movement from Stage One to Stage Two:
MDC- Industrial Revolution
LDC- Medical Revolution
Stage Two:
CBR- very high
CDR- plummets
NIR- high
Population Growth: High
Movement from Stage Two to Stage Three:
Changes in Social customs and improved technology
Demographic Transition
Stage Three:
CBR: Drops quickly
CDR: Falling put slower than before
NIR: slows
Population Growth: Moderate
Movement from Stage Three to Stage Four:
greater gender equity, more women working and improved birth control
Stage Four:
CBR: low
CDR: low
NIR: low
Population Growth: Low
Demographic Transition
Examples of Countries and Regions of each stage of demographic transition:
Stage One:
Stage Two:
Sub-saharan Africa
Nigeria, Sierra Leon, Cape Verde
Stage Three:
East Asia, Latin America, Middle East
China, Brazil, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, Chile
Stage Four:
Western Europe
United Kingdon, Demnark
Now, let’s apply the model
Questions for the DTM
Billy loses his job as a grave digger
Parents start to think more about family planning
Children are warmer in bed at night because they have more brothers and sisters
There are more Golden Anniversaries
Large percentage of women never have a child
A mother sobs over the grave of her last six children who died in a typhoid epidemic
A lot more houses are being built
The Public Health Inspector smiles as the building of sewers are completed
Fewer children share a bedroom
Grandparents are very rare
There are no brothers/sisters, no aunts/uncles, no cousins
Features of an age-sex diagram or population
is divided
into 5 year age
groups or cohorts
•Population is divided
into males (left) and
females (right)
•The percentage of
each age/sex group is
•Let’s look some up on
our smart devices and
Rapid, Slow and Zero Growth
High fertility and mortality = broad base
Low fertility and mortality = narrow base
Terms you know but have not heard
of???? Give examples…
Devolution – the de-evolution of political powers from one
authority to another.
Syncretism – blending old and new parts of culture together,
aka acculturation.
Forward capital or forward thrust capital – purposeful
movement of a national capital to a new location to benefit
the government, economy and/or population.
Enclave – foreign territory that perforates a larger state.
Exclave – An outlying portion of one state, usually inside
another country.
Shatterbelt – region under continuous stress due to
aggressive political or cultural rivalries aka balkanization.
Supranational – greater political, economic and cultural
power than local or national organizations/governments.