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Geography

Urban models in MEDCs

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It is possible in many cities to identify zones with a particular type of land use - eg a residential zone. Often these zones have developed due to a combination of economic and social factors. In some cases planners may have tried to separate out some land uses, eg an airport is separated from a large housing estate.

The Burgess and Hoyt model

Geographers have put together models of land use to show how a 'typical' city is laid out. One of the most famous of these is the Burgess or concentric zone model.

This model is based on the idea that land values are highest in the centre of a town or city. This is because competition is high in the central parts of the settlement. This leads to high-rise, high-density buildings being found near the Central Business District (CBD), with low-density, sparse developments on the edge of the town or city.

The Burgess model

The Burgess model

However, there are limits to the Burgess model:

  • The model is now quite old and was developed before the advent of mass car ownership.
  • New working and housing trends have emerged since the model was developed. Many people now choose to live and work outside the city on the urban fringe - a phenomenon that is not reflected in the Burgess model.
  • Every city is different. There is no such thing as a typical city.

Another urban model is the Hoyt model. This is based on the circles on the Burgess model, but adds sectors of similar land uses concentrated in parts of the city. Notice how some zones, eg the factories/industry zone, radiate out from the CBD. This is probably following the line of a main road or a railway.

The Hoyt model

The Hoyt model

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