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Unformatted text preview: region Figure 2 .9 A system o f central places Source: based on Chris taller 1966: 66. 27 28 TRADITIONAL ECONOMIC GEOGRAPHIES TRADITIONAL lOCATION THEORY B ox 2 .2 IKEAtS CENTRAL PLACE H IERARCHY ' lhe Swedish home-furnishings chain IKEA provides an interesting example o f a retailer that has expanded into a range o f i nternational markers. Founded in southern Sweden in 1943 IKEA now directly owns a nd operates over 250 stores in 2 4 different countries, with a further 30 stores in 16 countries run by franchises. lKEA is best known for selling its o wn b rand o f h ome furnishings such as beds, furniture a nd h ome accessories. I n C hrist aller' s terms IKEA retails high o rder goods, meaning those that are purchased infrequently and at some expense. Consequently the stores have thresholds such t hat we m ight expect lKEA's store locations to follow the classic pattern o f c oncentrating in t he largest central olaces within a national urban system. lKEAs operations i n C anada provide a useful way o f examining the extent to which retail location strategy accords with Christaller's central place model. Table 2.1 lists the location o f each ofIKEA's 11 C-anadian stores, Table 2. 1 IKEA's Canadian stores Year opened 1976 City Vancouver Population (and national rank) 2,116,581 1977 Toronto 5,113,149(1) 1978 Edmonton 1,034,945 (6) Calgary 1,079,310 (5) 1979 979 Ottawa 1,130,761 (4) Montreal 991 1,593,502 (2) Toronto 5 ,113,149(1) 2001 Toronto 5,113,149 (1) 2002 Vancouver 2,116,581 (3) 2003 Montreal 1,593,502 Toronlo 5 ,113,149(1) , 2003 I Source: IKEA 2010. the year i n which i t was established a nd t he population (and population national rank) according to the 2 006 Census, Table 2.1 is ranked according to t he year in which the store was established. I he pattern exhibits a n umber o f interesting features. First is the concentration o f stores in the country's largest urban centers, a pattern that conforms to the Christaller model. All 11 o f t he stores are concentrated in Canada's six largest metroareas, providing a good indication o f the sizeable threshold required to sustain an IKEA store. Indeed, none o f t he stores are found in what Christaller would term lower order central places. Second, the chrono­ logical pattern indicates that between 1976 a nd 1982 lKEA established a presence i n each o f the six central places, although t he o rder o f store openings from t hat which the population rank o f the six centers might suggest. Third, i t is clear that from 1991 onwards the very largest central places were seen to be o f sufficient size to sustain multiple outlets with the largest city, T oronto, c urrently hosting a total o f four lKEA stores. The presence o f four T oronto stores, along with two in Vancouver and two in Montreal, also raises some interesting questions about t he c oncept o f a 'central' rKEA, like many major retailers, demonstrate~ a preference for s uburban r ather t han d owntown locations, highlighting t he growth o f the automobile as t he d ominant m ode o f c onsumer transportation in the west, and in N orth America in particular. I n this sense the context is q uite d ifferent from t hat in which Christaller developed his model and i t suggests that the 'central place' should be seen as a n abstraction rather than a direct, descriptive reference to a town o r city center. ' I he comparison between lKEA's suburban loca­ tions a nd those o f the traditional downtown department storefronts provides a stark contrast. A nd yet despite the obvious differences ill appearance both serve as central places in the classic sense o f Christaller's model. u rban hierarchy. Christaller developed other central place hierarchies by considering the impacts o f t ransport o r traffic between central formulating a K-4 transport model and a K-7 model to represent the administrative functions o f central places. Central place theory thus represents a combination o f horizontal order (the hexagons) and vertical order o f central places) (Beavon 1977: 38; Garner 1967). I n the 19505 and 19605 especially, a growing cadre o f economic and urban geographers, as well as regional scientists and planners, refined Christaller's ideas about urban hierarchies. O ne o f the most well known results o f their efforts is the 'rank size rule' derived from arranging urban centers, o r central places in Christaller's terms, into a rank order based o n size. The rank size rule hold~ that i f cities in a region o r c ountry are ranked in descending order size o f total DODulation, t he size o f the populations o f 1.0 the lower ranked cities a nd towns will be proportional to that o f the largest or top ranked city. Furtllermore, the rank size rule indicates that the largest city will be twice the size o f t he second largest; t hat t he second largest city will be three times the size o f the third and so on, generating a linear pattern, as s hown in Figure 2.10. The rank size rule, while i t is clearly more descriptive than explanatoty, spurred a series o f investigations in postwar decades (e.g., Z ipf 1949) into the functioning o f u rban hierarchies through a...
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This document was uploaded on 01/24/2014.

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