Urban place Sub-System - Essay Prowess

Urban place Sub-System


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Urban place subsystem

Concentriczone theory, originally developed by burgess 1923,and its associated school constituted the most developed locational model in geography while moving outwards. The theory was based in the city of Chicago and it majorly used concentric rings to show how urban land was used. It sought to explain the socio economic divides in and out of the city. This was the first theory to explain the distribution of social groupings. The basic features of the theory as outlined by Burgess and Perk include:

  1. The central area has a higher density and the availability of the land is scarce
  2. A large segment of the society reside outside the city center where they can build large houses.



The concentric zone theory was first developed  by a sociologist Ernest Burgess in 1923. His main focus was to explain why the social structures look the way they are like why the banks and grocery stores are where they are. Burgess theorised that urban land use organises itself in concentric rings around the central business  district(CBD),while each ring having a different land use. The theory was based in the city of Chicago from the 1980’s to the early20th Century, whereby  the concentric zones depicted the city’s land use dynamics in a natural manner.housing  and commerce activities has influencesthe growth of urban areas.They suggested that due to the struggle for scarce urban resources especially land this led to competition between groups and ultimately to the division of the urban space into distinctive zones that were subject to same ecological presuures. This theory predicted that cities would take the form of concentric rings with areas of social and physical deterioration concentrated near the city and more prosperous areas located near the city’s edge. However in the post war period the ecological models articulated by Park and burgess fell out of favour as critics suggested that the models were over simplistic and that there search for “natural” or “organic” process was superficially undertaking which neglects the social and cultural dimensions of urban lifeand the political economic impact of industrialization on urban geography.


The purpose of this model is to review the history on concentric zone theory focusing upon the application of the theory to the urban place subsystem as well as the industrial place subsystem. This paper serves as the background and general context into which the present study falls.

Urban Place Subsystem

Concentric zone theory, originally developed by Burgess has been the subject of much analysis and empirical testing in the last two decades. It’s based on concentric rings where by each ring explains the land use of the particular region and the activities which take place in those regions. It explains why the activities and the arrangement of towns are the way they are.

The concentric rings include five regions or zones.  The zones include the central business district, the zone of transition, the working class zone, residential zone and the commuter zone.


This is the centre of the model and the oldest part of the city around which the city expands with time while the newest developments taking place on the edges of the city. Based on the city of Chicago at this zone this is where the land has the highest value as most of the activities in this zone are tertiary and they earn maximum returns. At this zone there are no residential as majorly its classified as the centre for business and commerce. According to his model this is the region which is most accessible because of the convergence and passing of transport networks through this part from surrounding and even the places which are far from the city. Its marked with various features and characteristics. The major features in this zone includes the presence of tall buildings and noticeably high density to maximize the returns from the land. the presence of commercial activities in the area results in negligible residential activity in this zone. Along the boundary of this zone are wholesale markets, ware houses and industries which do  not require much space.