Wood___Roberts_2011_Tradional_Economic_G

This weighty volume was written a mid privations a nd

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Unformatted text preview: English in 1954 a nd was, like t he o ther theoretical works examined in this chapter, highly influential in economic geography i n the English speaking world. I n the preface t o t he first edition, Losch 'proposes t o view all economic activities geographically' (1954: xiii). Like m any h e was interested n ot o nly in explaining contemporary patterns o f location, bur in advocating a normative view o f w hat t he world s hould l ook like. H e wished to be able to determine the 'best location' a nd thus improve w hat h e called ' our sorry reality' (1954: Losch h oped e conomic geographers would be able to 'create' rather t han s imply 'describe,' although he was skeptical o f rigid planning systems, valuing the results o f individual rational decisions made freely (1954: 508). Losch's m ethod was to construct a model from the starting p oint o f individual decision makers. ] hus, for Losch, optimal industrial location is a m atter o f individual enterprises selecting the 'right' location which, for I,osch, means the location 'where the n et profit is greatest' (1954: 27). N et p rofit results from the interplay o f a great many factors, a nd Losch critiqued Thiinen a nd W eber for their one-sided models, working instead toward a compre­ hensive analysis o f l ocation. Losch's b ook takes o n ' economic regions' a nd ' trade' in addition to location. H is c ontributions o n regions begin w ith establishing t he hexagon as an appropriate model o f a m arket area. Losch's regional urban hierarchy is specified differently from that o f Christaller. For Christaller, a higher order place would offer all the goods o f t he central places below it in t he h ierarchy plus additional higher o rder goods. Furthermore, each center o f t he same order would offer precisely the same mix o f goods a nd services. LOsch argued that the K = 3, K = 4 a nd K 7 arrangements identified by Christaller were b ut three o f a vast range o f possible market area arrangements. I n fact Losch identified 150 different structures. Furthermore, combining the different market structures, each made up o f a network o f hexagons, produces a landscape in which certain sectors o f t he landscape are characterized by many higher order centers while other sectors are characterized by relatively few. Losch identified these sectors as 'city-rich' a nd 'city-poor' sectors respectively, although it is the number o f activities o r goods produced ~hich varies between t hem r ather t han t he actual number o f central places (Figure 2.12). O n this basis Losch's model allows for the fact that places at the same 31 TRADITIONAL LOCATION THEORY ~ ." QJ I .. +-' +-' QJ C QJ u C QJ I Y -..I - ..I l .!­ I.!- 0 o ." ~ 0 t o: 't­ : u.) Q c C ' ';::; Q.) t: 0 t § ~ ..... !:! .S .- ... >... t: -o 0 ~ c u .g- § ~~ II II ~ -.0 M ....-- .g E QJ ~ W ." ~ E ~~ ~ QJ -£ : ; ~ b.o ~ I .~ IS.. ~ I :::.:::: E ~ N cxl 0 I .!-!::! 0 Q.) ~"E ex: ciS 6 a' . ... c) . c: "i' .... "<1< .] ~ :l .. 55;:g c. ....,: 0­\ '" <U 0 .. .~ c \j ...c: .- ... J jU ~~~~ ~~~IS.. 0 .. I @ - ..I I a... I~ " -J Q.. cxl <:(:::lE @@G@ cU c: :0 < U ' "!j ...... i';l ~..8 '~ AUGUST LOSCH . .. <U u=:: .2! ~ QJ Even before Central Places i n Southern Germany was translated into English i n 1966, n umerous economic geographers were testing central place theory in a variety o f places, including the US a nd notably in the flat landscape o f southwestern Iowa, b ut also in Asia - including northern India a nd s outhern Sri Lanka, a mong others as well as in Australia a nd N ew Zealand, Mrica a nd Europe. As i n t he case o f t he rank size rule, the predicted perfectly ordered landscape o f theory was never realized in t he 'real w orld' a nd, in t he l anguage o f s ubsequent modeling, real places always 'deviations' from the predicted o r idealized patterns a nd m uch energy was expended trying to account for the deviations in order t o further refine the models. T he language o f deviation also alerts us t o t he more normative quality o f these models. Are linear rank size distributions o f cities a nd regular a nd orderly hierarchical landscapes o f cities and towns a nd their hinterlands more 'ideal' t han the so-called deviations? Is it better o r more proper t o have economic spaces organized in these regular a nd orderly ways? S hould urban a nd regional planning strive to counteract tendencies towards deviation from such order by enacting policies designed to economic landscapes more perfectly along the lines o f t hese models? I n m any c ountries, t he p attern o f urbanization has been such that an urban hierarchy based o n a p rimate city has emerged, w ith o ne d ominant metropolis a nd very few medium sized cities a nd towns. Urban primacy, especially in poorer countries, has been viewed as s omehow undesirable o r sub-optimal, for b oth e conomic a nd p olitical reasons, a nd t he m any attempts to plan for the development o f so-called secondary cities in developing countries can be understood in this conte...
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