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Unformatted text preview: ffect a rent t hat c ould
be ' bid,' a p oint e laborated by s ubsequent l ocation
theorists such as W illiam Alonso
Thiinen was n ot o nly interested in the choice
to be grown bur also in the farming system t hat w ould be
adopted - or w hether i t w ould be rational to adopt a crop
rotation system a nd a pply lare;e a mounts o f m anure t o Crop 1 (e.g. strawberries) ~ Crop 2
(e.g. wheat) o d istance from town/market Crop 1 Production Zone Crop 2 Production Zone Figure 2 .1 Bid rent functions for two crops
Source: based on Alonso 1964: 40. enrich the soil o r not. Thiinen recognized that o n land near
the market o r u rban center intensive agriculture would be
the economically rational use. Land further away, and thus
with higher transport costs, w ould t end t o have less
intensive agricultural use.
T hiinen m ade liberal use o f s tatistics - both t o
d etermine how his model would operate o n the basis o f
hypothetical data, a nd t o compare the model to actual data
o n costs, yields a nd prices obtained from his own estate.
The mathematical calculations. though, are less frequently r eproduced t han the supplementary diagrams (drawn,
Thiinen tells us, by an u nnamed ' friend o f m ine'), which
appear in standard economic geography texts. The most
well k nown is in fact a c ombination o f two
(Figure 2.2). The top portion o f this famous depiction
describes the rings o f agriculture that surround the central
town. The lower p art i ntroduces two factors that disturb
the concentric pattern. O ne is a navigable river along
which the rings form and the second is a small town, which
has its o wn agricultural hinterland. The river alters the 17 I
11 I1· '
I II !Iil 18 TRADITIONAL LOCATION THEORY TRADITIONAL ECONOMIC GEOGRAPHIES I1'1'1 ;'1
'111 1. 11 IIII III' 1111\1
11 11 CJ ~ CJ Free cash
cropping Forestry Crop
system ." rn Il Improved
farming 1 \1 II'II!
Fig I I !I II
; 11'1 ,11 \
1 I [I. I::1 ' I!
Fig II :111:: ! II
Miles 1,1 J Ilill l o 40 I Figure 2 .2 The isolated state
Source: based o n Thiinen 1966: 216.
1 1 :11 p attern because Thilnen assumes t hat t ransport costs by
water are one tenth o f the cost o f land freight (1966: 215).
T he d iagram indicates c oncentric rings o f v arying
w idths a round t he t own, each c ontaining a d ifferent
agricultural use. The rings, their definition a nd c ontent,
were derived from applying calculative logic based o n t he
concept o fland r ent b ut s upplemented by other considera
tions such as soil fertility. T hilnen identified six rings:
First ring: H ere 'free cash cropping' will occur. This is
e ssentially w hat w e k now as m arket g ardening: t he
c ultivation o f ' delicate' fruits a nd vegetables such as
strawberries a nd lettuce. Thilnen also assigned dairying to
this ring. Milk production, h e reasoned, is c omplementary
to market gardening as c attle can be kept intensively
eating c ut clover a nd left over vegetables i n stalls rather
t han n eeding extensive grazing pastures. The l and r ent in
this ring is h igh and, w ith t he application o f a dditional
manure, soil fertility can be raised, eliminating the need
for fallow periods.
Second ring: This is t he zone o f forestry in which w ood
a nd charcoal for fuel a nd t imber for urban construction
are sourced from managed forests. I n T hilnen's time, wood was the major fuel for townspeople as well as those i n t he
T hird ring: This is a relatively narrow ring in w hich d ie
'crop alternation system' prevails. Grain crops (such as rye)
a nd feed crops (such as clover) alternate a nd t here is n o
fallow period. The soil is e nriched t hrough the applica
tion o f m anure. Thilnen spent a considerable part o f
his b ook discussing the various systems o f c rop alterna
tion e merging i n n orthern E urope a nd p redicted t hat
over time innovative crop rotation systems w ould be
widespread. I n t he initial model, though, they occupy a
F ourth ring: The ' improved system' is p racticed i n this
ring. Here, arable l and is used in t urn for grain a nd r oot
crop cultivation a nd for pasture. Fields are periodically left
fallow a nd fertilized w ith m anure.
Fifth ring: Here the traditional three-field system is
prevalent. Fields rotate from arable to pasture to fallow.
Sixth ring: Stock farming. This ring is t oo far from the
town for grain cultivation as t he t ransport costs w ould
o utweigh revenue generated from its sale (see Figure 2.1).
However, T hilnen p oints o ut t hat i f t he g rain were
distilled a nd c onverted to a lcohol- a higher value product
- it could be transported profitably to market. Further
more, in this zone by-products o f the distilleries could be
used for animal feed. Animals are grazed extensively i n this
zone, w ith t heir wool a nd m eat sold i n t he t own . Thilnen
predicted t hat as t he e conomy prospered, working m en
a nd w omen w ould increase their c onsumption o f m eat
i nstead o f relying o n p otatoes o r rye bread for their
n utrition , a nd d eemed this to be a positive development
since, he reasoned, it w ould lessen the likelihood o f a
serious famine. Thilnen's isolated state was thus, in part,
a n ideal world i n w hich the Malthusia...
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