The concentric theory of urban settlement was propounded by? | Sociology for CUET by Vikash Ranjan | Sociology Guru

concentric theory of urban


Question: The concentric theory of urban settlement was propounded by?

  1. Park
  2. Burgess
  3. Whyte
  4. Houser

Answer: (2)

The Concentric Zone Model of urban settlement, also known as the Burgess Model, is a significant theoretical framework for understanding the organization and growth of cities. Developed by sociologist Ernest W. Burgess in 1925, this model provides insights into the spatial structure of urban areas and the dynamics of urban growth. In this comprehensive explanation, we will explore the key components of the Concentric Zone Model, its implications, and its relevance in urban sociology.

Understanding the Concentric Zone Model:

The Concentric Zone Model is a sociological theory that seeks to explain the arrangement of urban areas and the patterns of urban development. It postulates that cities grow outward from a central core in a series of concentric circles or zones, each with distinct characteristics, functions, and populations. This model was developed as an attempt to understand and map the social and spatial organization of cities, using Chicago as a primary case study.

Key Characteristics of the Concentric Zone Model:

Central Business District (CBD): At the core of the model is the Central Business District (CBD). This area serves as the economic and commercial heart of the city. It is characterized by high population density during working hours due to the influx of workers, shoppers, and visitors. However, few people live in this zone, as it is primarily a hub for business and commerce.

Zone of Transition: The second concentric zone, known as the Zone of Transition, surrounds the CBD. This area is characterized by a mix of land uses, including industrial, residential, and commercial properties. It is often marked by physical deterioration, high crime rates, and a transient population. Immigrants and low-income residents may settle in this zone, as it is more affordable than the CBD.

Working-Class Residential Zone: The third zone in the model is the Working-Class Residential Zone. This area is home to industrial workers and lower-income families. Housing tends to be older, more affordable, and of lower quality. These neighborhoods are typically situated closer to the industrial areas where residents find employment.

Middle-Class Residential Zone: The Middle-Class Residential Zone is the fourth concentric zone and is inhabited by middle-class families and individuals. This area offers better housing options, improved infrastructure, and access to parks and amenities. The quality of life is generally higher in this zone.

Commuter Zone: The outermost zone in the model is the Commuter Zone. This area is characterized by suburban development and is primarily inhabited by affluent families. Residents in this zone often commute to the CBD or other parts of the city for work, returning to the suburban area in the evenings.

Processes in the Concentric Zone Model:

The Concentric Zone Model is not just a static depiction of urban structure but also emphasizes the dynamic processes that shape urban development. Key processes within this model include:

Invasion: The process of invasion occurs as people and activities from the CBD spread outward into the Zone of Transition. This movement is driven by factors such as increased demand for space, higher land values in the CBD, and changes in transportation infrastructure.

Succession: Succession is the replacement of one population or land use by another. In the context of the Concentric Zone Model, it refers to the gradual displacement of existing residents and businesses in the Zone of Transition by new groups or activities. This can lead to changes in the character of the zone over time.

Concentric Expansion: As a city grows and evolves, it expands radially from the CBD, forming new concentric circles or zones. This outward expansion is influenced by factors like population growth, economic activities, and urban planning.

Significance and Critiques:

The Concentric Zone Model has been instrumental in the field of urban sociology for several reasons:

Descriptive Framework: It provides a clear and descriptive framework for understanding urban spatial structures and the changing demographics of cities.

Historical Context: The model was developed during a period of rapid urbanization and industrialization, making it relevant for understanding the growth of cities in the early 20th century.

Influence on Urban Planning: The model has influenced urban planning and zoning decisions by highlighting the need for land-use regulations and infrastructure development.

However, the model has also faced criticisms and limitations:

Simplification: The model oversimplifies the complexity of urban development. It does not account for the diversity of cities, cultural factors, or the impact of technology on commuting and communication.

Lack of Cultural and Social Factors: The Concentric Zone Model focuses primarily on physical and economic factors while neglecting cultural, social, and political dimensions of urban life.

Historical Context: The model was developed in the context of early 20th-century industrial cities and may not fully capture the dynamics of contemporary urban areas.

Inadequate for Global Cities: The model is less applicable to global cities with highly specialized and diverse economic activities.


The Concentric Zone Model, or the Burgess Model, remains a valuable tool for understanding urban spatial structures and the processes of urban growth. While it provides a simplified representation of urban development, it has played a crucial role in shaping urban planning and research. However, it is essential to recognize its limitations and consider more comprehensive models and theories when analyzing the complexities of modern urban environments. Urban sociology continues to evolve, providing a more nuanced understanding of the diverse and dynamic nature of cities worldwide.

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Frequently Asked Questions:

1. Question: Define the term “ethnic movement” and provide an example from India.

Answer: An ethnic movement refers to a collective effort by a group sharing common cultural, linguistic, or religious traits, seeking to assert their identity and rights; an example from India is the Khalistan Movement in Punjab.

2. Question: Identify the main objectives behind the Gorkhaland ethnic movement.

Answer: The Gorkhaland ethnic movement primarily seeks to establish a separate state for India’s Nepali-speaking population in the Darjeeling region, advocating for linguistic and cultural recognition and political autonomy.

3. Question: What was the Operation Blue Star, and which ethnic movement was it related to?
Answer: Operation Blue Star was a military action in 1984, aiming to remove Sikh militants hiding in the Golden Temple in Amritsar; it is related to the Khalistan movement, which sought a separate Sikh country.

4. Question: Mention a critical factor that triggered the emergence of ethnic movements in India, as discussed by Dipankar Gupta.
Answer: Dipankar Gupta emphasized that ethnicity is fundamentally a political process, wherein caste and religion, the key components of identity formation, are politicized by leaders for vested interests.

5. Question: What were the primary reasons for the Assam Ethnicity conflicts involving Bodo tribals and Bengali Muslim settlers?
Answer: The Assam Ethnicity conflicts primarily stemmed from issues related to immigration, land rights, and resource allocation, leading to clashes, riots, and evolving relationships among indigenous communities to address challenges.

6. Question: Briefly describe the role of the Dravidian Movement in terms of caste and societal structure.
Answer: The Dravidian Movement, led notably by E.V. Ramasamy, aimed to establish an egalitarian society, focusing on anti-Brahmanism and advocating for equal rights for backward castes, while also introducing reforms like self-respect marriages.

7. Question: Name the prominent ethnic movements in North-East India and specify one common objective.
Answer: Prominent ethnic movements in North-East India include the Nagas’ and Mizos’ struggles; a common objective was to gain autonomy and recognition for their distinct tribal identities and cultural uniqueness.

8. Question: What is the key argument of Gail Omveldt regarding traditional Indian society and multiculturalism?
Answer: Gail Omveldt opposed romanticizing traditional Indian society, arguing that hierarchy has always dominated it and dismissing the notion that multiculturalism is an intrinsic feature of Indian society as a myth.

9. Question: Briefly explain the social hierarchy factor as a contributing element to ethnic movements as suggested by Olzak.
Answer: Olzak suggests that the construction of hierarchies among ethnic communities, which often leads to the suppression of one group by another, is a key factor that can instigate social and ethnic movements.

10. Question: Identify one consequence of the unequal economic development factor within the context of ethnic movements in India.
Answer: One consequence of unequal economic development is the marginalization and underdevelopment of certain groups, leading to feelings of alienation and sometimes initiating ethnic movements as these groups strive for equality and recognition.

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