Concentric Zone Theory

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I. CONCENTRIC ZONE THEORY Burgess’s concentric zone theory was presented in 1924. He presented a descriptive urban land use model that divided cities in a set of concentric circles expanding from downtown to the suburbs. His representation came from Burgess’ observations of various American cities, especially Chicago. Burgess model assumes a relationship between the socio-economic status of households and the distance from the Central Business District. The further from the district, the better the quality of housing, but the longer the commuting time. Making this Accessing better housing is done at the expense of longer commuting times and costs as well. According to Burgess, urban growth is a process of expansion and reconversion of land uses, with a tendency of each inner zone to expand in the outer zone. According to Burgess’ theory, a large city is divided in six concentric zones, Burgess’s model has its cons according to critics. It is said to be a product of its time. That is, it won’t work the same with present cities. The model was developed when American cities were growing very fast and when motorized transportation was still uncommon as most people used public transit. Thus the concept cannot be applied to those from the second half to the twentieth century where highways have enabled urban development to escape the reconversion process and to take place directly in the suburbs. The model in this case was developed for American cities and is limited elsewhere.
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