ORIGINS OF THEORY
• Developed in the 1920’s by Ernest Burgess and
Robert Park, University of Chicago
• Sought to explain the socioeconomic divides in and
out of the city
• Model was based on Chicago’s city layout
• First theory to explain the distribution of social
WHAT IS THE CONCENTRIC ZONE THEORY?
• Social structures extend outward from one central business area.
• Population density decreases towards outward zones
• Shows correlation between socioeconomic status and the distance from the central business district
• Also known as the Burgess Model, the Bull’s Eye Model, the Concentric Ring Model, or the Concentric
ZONE 1: CENTRAL BUSINESS DISTRICT
• Non-residential center for business.
• “Downtown” area
• Emphasis on business and commerce
• Commuted to by residents of other zones
ZONE 2: ZONE OF TRANSITION
• “Least desirable place to live in the city”
• Dilapidated housing and infrastructure
• Large percentage rent
• Highest crime rate
• High rate of people moving in and out
ZONE 3: WORKING CLASS
• Modest older homes
• Stable, working class families
• Can afford to move out of Zone 2
• Second generation immigrants
ZONE 4: MIDDLE CLASS
• Newer, more spacious homes
• Less likely to be rented
• Well educated
ZONE 5: COMMUTERS
• Mostly upper class
• Can afford to commute into city for
work or entertainment
• Shaw and McKay (1930’s)
• Disease, Deterioration, Demoralization
• Poverty stricken areas have a higher rate of
• High rate of residents moving in and out
• Lessened sense of “community”
PROBLEMS WITH THE THEORY
• Does not work with more modern cities, or cities outside of the
• Assumes an unchanging landscape
• Assumes flat land, without geographic features inhibiting
• Decentralization of business areas
• Bunyi, Joan. ": Concentric Zone Model." : Concentric Zone Model. Lewis Historical Society, 1 May 2010.
Web. 17 Apr. 2014. <http://www.lewishistoricalsociety.com/wiki/tiki-read_article.php?articleId=16>.
• Pick, Ashley. "Social Disorganization." Crime and Place. N.p., n.d. Web. 17 Apr. 2014.