A city grows outward from a
central area in a series of
concentric rings. The size and
width of the rings may vary.
A - The Central Business District
• This is the area most accessible
to the largest number of people,
containing shops, offices, banks,
• Land is expensive and this area
has high rents and multi-story
buildings as a consequence.
• There is very little space and
competition for land is high.
• Traffic congestion is high.
• Vegetated areas are sparse
Boston’s central city
CBD of Boston
Notice the high density of land uses and the presence of skyscrapers that
Characteristically mark the CBD.
B - Zone of Transition
This land has TWO sections:
Wholesale light manufacturing
low class residential (old inner city
• cheap housing for each new immigrant
• Redevelopment and renewal in this
area and the growth of zone A to meet
the needs of an expanding town, mean
that Zone B is in a state of constant
• The poorest people in the settlement
live here, but it is now fashionable for
old warehouses to be refurbished in
the center of some cities for sale at
extremely high prices.
Abandoned row houses in
C - Council Estates
• Semi-detached housing
can be found here with
gardens and on large
• Less expensive private
estates can also be found
• Often described as
immigrants and rural
Middle-income neighborhoods in Reston,
VA. Social areas can be delimited by
Certain traits taken from the census, such
As income, education, or family.
D - Commuter Zone (suburbs)
• High class residential area where private, top
quality housing can be found.
• Detached and semi-detached housing can be
built on cheaper land here.
• Often lots of garages. Big gardens and many
outbuildings can be found here.
• Called the 'commuter zone' as it is expected that
the more affluent members of the community
would live in the zone furthest away from the
center as they could afford the transport costs to
the center for access to services and
Suburban homes built on landfills, Treasure Island, FL. When land values are
high and pressure for housing intense, terrain rarely stands in the way of the
developer. In fact, particular physical site characteristics can actually increase
E - Countryside Areas
• In the countryside surrounding the urban area,
those seeking to escape from the urban area
can live in pleasant rural surroundings whilst still
being close to work.
• Although Burgess did not include this zone in his
original model, it has been added here to show
the importance of rural living, whilst still being
close to services.
• Many satellite villages and towns surround major
urban areas, allowing people to live further away
from the main settlement.
Four recurring themes &
regularities evident in all cities
• All cities perform functions. They have an
• No city exists in a vacuum.
• Each city has an orderly internal
arrangement of land uses, social groups,
and economic functions.
• All cities have experienced problems of
land use, social problems, and
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