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Concentric zone theory

Definitions of Concentric zone theory
  • Concentric zone theory is the principle that states cities tend to grow in concentric rings around their core. The highest values and intensive uses occur at its core while values and intensity decreases moving outward.


What Is Concentric Zone Theory?

Concentric zone theory arose from the observations of Ernest Burgess about urban development. He recognized that cities grew around a core at the center of the city which led him to develop a concentric theory of zones that grew around a central business district.

This urban core, or central business district (CBD) had a concentration of business activity. The economic activity drove land values higher at the CBD. As the city grew, development occurred as concentric zones around the central business district much like rings around a tree.

The first concentric zones, or rings, around the central business district were a transitional area that was composed of businesses that needed to be in proximity to the CBD, or workers who needed to reside in proximity to the CBD due to transportation costs.

As the concentric zones moved farther away from from the central business district, the greater space and lower land costs made them more attractive places to reside. The outer concentric rings beyond the transitional rings around the CBD developed as suburban residential areas, known as suburbs.


        

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