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zonal model

  A model of urban spatial organization created by E.W. Burgess (1924, 1927), a leading member of the Chicago school of sociologists. His main research interest was the determinants of urban social problems, such as vice and crime, and his maps of their occurrence within Chicago indicated their concentration in certain type areas only. To appreciate their nature, he developed a model of the socio-spatial organization of the entire city comprising five major zones (see figure).

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zonal model Burgess\'s zonal model (Park et al., 1925)

The dominant feature of this zonal structure is the positive correlation between the socioeconomic status of residential areas and their distance from the central business district: the most affluent urban residents live in the outer suburbs, a finding which Burgess\'s followers generalized from Chicago to all American cities (see Schnore, 1965). Growth within the city was propelled from the centre through the process of invasion and succession whereby new immigrants occupied the lowest quality homes in the zone in transition and pressed longer-established groups to migrate outwards towards the suburbs.

Burgess\'s model has been tested empirically many times, and subject to a variety of criticisms. Hoyt, for example, proposed an alternative, sectoral model and Harris and Ullman combined the two into their multiple nuclei model. In addition, invasion and succession was presented as a special case of the filtering process which underpinned Hoyt\'s model. These models were popular with urban geographers in the 1960s and 1970s (Johnston, 1971), but are widely considered obsolete now. (RJJ)

References Burgess, E.W. 1924: The growth of the city: an introduction to a research project. Publications of the American Sociological Society 18: 85-97. Burgess, E.W. 1927: The determination of gradients in the growth of the city. Publications of the American Sociological Society 21: 178-84. Johnston, R.J. 1971: Urban residential patterns: an introductory review. London: George Bell and Sons. Park, R.E., Burgess, E.W. and Mackenzie, R.T. 1925: The city. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Schnore, L.F. 1965: On the spatial structure of cities in the two Americas. In P.M. Hauser and L.F. Schnore, eds, The study of urbanization. New York: John Wiley, 347-98.

Suggested Reading Burgess, E.W. and Bogue, D.J., eds, 1965: Urban sociology. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.



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