Central Place Theory (Christaller)
By. Sai Sumar
  • A theory that explains the distribution of services, based on the fact that settlements serve as centers of market areas for services; larger settlements are fewer and farther apart than smaller settlements and provide services for a larger number of people who are willing to travel further
  • It also attempts to provide a framework by which those areas can be studied both for historic reasons and for the locational patterns of areas today.
  • The theory was first developed by the German geographer Walter Christaller in 1933 after he began to recognize the economic relationships between cities and their hinterlands. He mainly tested the theory in Southern Germany and came to the conclusion that people gather together in cities to share goods and ideas and that they exist for purely economic reasons.
  • In 1954, German economist August Losch modified Christaller's central place theory. He focused on maximizing consumer welfare and creating an ideal consumer landscape where the need to travel for any good was minimized and profits were held level.
  • Though Losch's central place theory looks at the ideal environment for the consumer, both his and Christaller's ideas are essential to studying the location of retail in urban areas today.
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