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Christaller and “big data”: recalibrating central place theory via the geoweb

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journal contribution
posted on 16.10.2018, 15:26 by Michiel Van Meeteren, Ate Poorthuis
This article utilizes central place theory (CPT) to navigate the “deluge” brought about by big data. While originating in the 1930s, CPT is a theoretical monument of 1960s spatial science. CPT aims to understand settlement geographies based on consumption behavior and is often presented as a singular, outdated, and rationalist theory. After critically reviewing the history of CPT, we assess the microfoundations of Christaller’s CPT–the threshold and range of goods–for various central functions in Louisville, Kentucky. The microfoundations are estimated through data from social media platforms Foursquare and Twitter. These sources alleviate many of the operationalization issues that traditionally hamper empirical use of CPT. The empirical application of CPT reveals that: (i) central functions have typical ranges and thresholds relating central places to population spread; (ii) central functions cluster based on an approximate hierarchical structure. The findings indicate the ongoing importance of CPT in shaping urban-economic geographies.

Funding

This article draws from research conducted within the Policy Research Centre on Spatial Development funded by the Flemish Government (Belgium).

History

Department

  • Geography and Environment

Published in

Urban Geography

Volume

39

Issue

1

Pages

122 - 148

Citation

VAN MEETEREN, M. and POORTHUIS, A., 2017. Christaller and “big data”: recalibrating central place theory via the geoweb. Urban Geography, 39 (1), pp.122-148.

Publisher

© Taylor and Francis

Version

AM (Accepted Manuscript)

Publisher statement

This work is made available according to the conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) licence. Full details of this licence are available at: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/

Acceptance date

19/02/2017

Publication date

2017-03-03

Copyright date

2018

Notes

This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Urban Geography on 3 March 2017, available online: http://www.tandfonline.com/10.1080/02723638.2017.1298017.

ISSN

0272-3638

eISSN

1938-2847

Language

en