Urban Theory


Urbanization refers to a process through which cities and towns come into formation and enlarge due to the growing flow of people into them. Sociologists observed such process and came up with theories, which explain urbanization. One of the examples is the concentric theory, which was developed in 1923 by a sociologist Ernest Burgess. According to his model, cities have distinct zones in circle forms. The zones are automatic divisions that start from the center of the city. The determining factor of these zones, called the concentric circles, is the demand of the land. This is the amount any individual would be willing to part with due to the expected profits one would get from using the land.

The concentric theory is relevant in the field of the study of the development and growth of towns and cities. It explains how towns come about and expound that they have a universal automatic formation due to various factors mentioned in issues essays. The theory makes people aware of urbanization cobwebs so that they do not question the reason why the cost of land in cities is not standard in all its parts. It also helps people to learn that the cost of land increases with the decrease of the distance to the heart of a city or town.

The first zone is the Central Business District (CBD), located in the middle of the city. The second zone is the transition zone. This is where most business transactions of the city take place. Moreover, it is the most crowded part of the city. There are multi-occupations rented by immigrants. This is the zone of ghettos. The third zone comprises the houses of people who belong to the working class. The second-generation immigrants occupy this zone. The next two zones are represented by well-to-do residents of the city. It means that those individuals who have money occupy zone four while those who commute occupy the fifth and the last zone. The most important thing to understand is that the development of these zones is never planned by an individual. Their formation comes because of varied demands of land due to completion bringing about a difference in cost.

The unique concentric theory contributions are the explanations of how cities and towns spring up. It explains that the city framework comes about without the government interventions. This means that critics of the governments should not involve cities to criticize the system of government in particular countries.

Concentric zone model has a number of limitations. First, this theory provides a unique geography of America, where the inner parts of a city are poor while the outer ones are rich. It also assumes that the landscape is unchanging. The situation in commuter villages coincides with the theory since commuter houses are distant. The other limitation is that the physical features restrict the growth of certain aspects of a city. Hence, the format given by the theory is not universal. The theory does present manufacturing industries and shops as being decentralized. The theory explains nothing about urban politics, as well as globalization issues.

Burgess model can be used to give an explanation about the impact of cities on social life. The structure of cities determined by the theory can show how conurbations affect the social life of urbanites. The governing factors of such urbanized system are the separate living zones with different standards due to price of the land. People who are able to buy the competitive space are well off. Lower class representatives live in cheap places away from the Central Business District. Thus, the theory can be used to tell who is who in the social sphere of life.