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Discuss the central place theory developed by Christaller. | UP PCS Optional Geography Mains Paper 1 2019

Discuss the central place theory developed by Christaller.

( UPPSC, UP PCS, 2019, 15 Marks) 
क्रिस्टालर द्वारा विकसित केन्द्रीय स्थल सिद्धांत की व्याख्या कीजिये ।

  • number, size, location, and pattern of Human settlement,
  • Assumptions,
  • range and threshold,
  • Marketing Principle, 
  • Transportation principle
  • Administrative principle,


A central place is a place that provides services to surrounding areas. Central place theory was developed by Christaller in 1933 to explain the number, size, location of human settlements, and spatial distribution of human settlements over a particular region.


The following are the basics assumption in Christaller Model.
  • Isotropic and limitless surface.
  • Population and resources are evenly distributed.
  • Humans are economic persons and perfect competition is the market.
  • Same income to all persons and want to travel minimum distance to avail goods and services.
  • Transportation cost is directly proportional to distance.
  • A settlement is in hexagonal-shaped market areas.
  • Threshold:
    • Minimum income or population needed for the survival of particular Shops or services.
  • Range:
    • It is the maximum distance that the public wants to travel to avail of particular goods and services.

The following is the hierarchy of human settlement from low-order to high-order settlements:

  • Hamlet
  • Village
  • Town
  • City
  • Mega-City

The following are the explanation of human settlements:

Size and number;
  • High-order or larger settlements are fewer in number. The high-order settlements provide larger goods and services.
  • The large settlement is distantly spaced and smaller settlements are closely settled to each other.
Spatial Distribution of Human Settlement:
Christaller predicted the different layouts of the settlement based on the K values.

K values of Christaller show the influence areas of human settlement.

K=3: Marketing Principle
If the lower-order settlement is in each corner of a hexagon then market areas of higher-order settlement influence the 1/3rd of market areas of surrounding settlement. 
K=1(itself) + 1/3 rd of each surrounding human settlement= 1 + 1/3*6=3;
Marketing Principle of Christaller
Marketing Principle of Christaller 

That means high order settlement would provide the goods and services of 3 smaller order settlements. For examples,
1 Mega-City would serve = 3 City=3*3 town=3*3*3( 27), Village=3*3*3*3 (81) Hamlet.

K=4: Transportation Principle
If a human settlement is placed in the middle of each edge of the hexagonal high-order settlement, then the transportation cost would be minimal. The high-order settlement would cover 1/2 of each surrounding settlement. 
Transportation Principle of Christaller
Transportation Principle of Christaller 

K=1+ 1/2*6= 4.

 For examples
1 Mega-City would serve = 4 City=4*4(16) town=4*4*4( 64), Village=4*4*4*4 (256) Hamlet.

K=7: Administrative Principle
If we see an administrative or political point of view then sharing of settlement is not a good option. For efficient administration, all 6 surrounding lower-order settlements are influenced by higher-order settlements.
Administrative principle of Christaller
Administrative principle of Christaller

K=1 + 6=7.
 For examples
1 Mega-City would serve = 7 City=7*7(49) town.

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