Urban hierarchy


Urban hierarchy

Urban hierarchy a term that relates the structure of towns within an area. It can typically be illustrated by dividing towns into four categories:
* 1st Order Towns
* 2nd Order Towns
* 3rd Order Towns
* 4th Order Towns

1st Order Towns provide the bare minimum of essential services, such as bread and milk. The services which 1st Order Towns provide require only a very low threshold population to survive, which make them suited to small communities. Services which require more customers to remain viable are not found in 1st Order Towns.

3rd and 4th Order Towns are larger cities and communities. They are home to services which people are willing to travel longer distances to get to, as they are more important or rarer. The services in 3rd and 4th Order Towns require large threshold populations to survive, which is why they are only found in more developed areas.

It is clear, therefore, that there should be more 1st Order Towns than 4th Order Towns, as 1st Order Towns only require a small number of people in their hinterland to remain viable.

German geographer Walter Christaller proposed the concept of the K-Ratio to describe the number of towns in one order in relation to the next. While Christaller's model is rarely found, it still provides a useful rule for the establishment of towns.

If a country had a K-Ratio of 3, for example, this would mean that there would be 3 times as many towns in the order beneath the current one. For example, if a country had the following number of towns in the relevant orders:
* 1st Order Towns = 27
* 2nd Order Towns = 9
* 3rd Order Towns = 3
* 4th Order Towns = 1

The country or area would be said to have a K-Ratio of 3, as a large, 4th Order Town had three 3rd Order towns within its hinterland, nine 2nd Order Towns and twenty-seven 1st Order Towns.


Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Urban geography — is the study of urban areas. That is the study of areas which have a high concentration of buildings and infrastructure. These are areas where the majority of economic activities are in the secondary sector and tertiary sectors. They probably… …   Wikipedia

  • Hierarchy — • This word has been used to denote the totality of ruling powers in the Church, ever since the time of the Pseudo Dionysius Areopagita (sixth century), who consecrated the expression in his works, The Celestial Hierarchy and The Ecclesiastical… …   Catholic encyclopedia

  • Urban morphology — is the study of the physical form of a city, which consists of street patterns and shapes, urban design, building sizes and shapes, architecture, population density and patterns of residential, commercial, industrial and other uses, among other… …   Wikipedia

  • Urban IV —     Pope Urban IV     † Catholic Encyclopedia ► Pope Urban IV     Reigned 1261 64 (Jacques Pantaléon), son of a French cobbler, born at Troyes, probably in the last years of the twelfth century; died at Perugia, 2 Oct., 1264. He became a canon of …   Catholic encyclopedia

  • Urban Sagstetter — (* um 1529 in Pfaffstätten, Niederösterreich; † 13. Oktober 1573 in Gurk, Kärnten) war katholischer Bischof von Gurk und Administrator der Diözese Wien. Leben Er wurde 1532 nach einem Angriff der Türken auf die Festung Güns als überlebendes Kind… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Hierarchy of roads — The hierarchy of roads categorizes roads according to their functions and capacities. While sources differ on the exact nomenclature, the basic hierarchy comprises freeways, arterials, collectors, and local roads.The related concept of access… …   Wikipedia

  • Urban planning — Housing and Urban Development redirects here. For the Cabinet department of the United States government, see United States Department of Housing and Urban Development. Urban planning designs settlements, from the smallest towns to the largest… …   Wikipedia

  • urban culture — ▪ sociology Introduction       any of the behavioral patterns of the various types of cities and urban areas, both past and present. Definitions of the city and urban cultures       Research on urban cultures naturally focuses on their defining… …   Universalium

  • Urban society in the People's Republic of China — There is considerable confusion in both Chinese and foreign sources over definitions of urban places and hence considerable variation in estimates of China s urban population (see Migration in China). The problem of determining the size of the… …   Wikipedia

  • urban fashion trends — While different Chinese cities display dissimilar configurations of fashion cultures and different regional urban centres have developed distinctive fashion cultures, it is still possible to identify some of the common contours of fashion among… …   Encyclopedia of Contemporary Chinese Culture


Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.