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A basic version of the Sector model

The sector model also known as the Hoyt model is a model of urban land use proposed in 1939 by economist Homer Hoyt.[1] It is a modification of the concentric zone model of city development. The benefits of the application of this model include the fact it allows for an outward progression of growth. As with all simple models of complex phenomena its validity is limited.[2]



While accepting the existence of a central business district, Hoyt suggested that zones expand outward from the city center along railroads, highways, and other transportation arteries. Using Chicago as an example, an upper class residential sector evolved outward along the desirable Lake Michigan shoreline north of the central business district, while industry extended southward in sectors that followed railroad lines.

In developing this model Hoyt observed that it was common for low-income households to be near railroad lines, and commercial establishments to be along business thoroughfares. Recognizing that the various transportation routes into an urban area, including railroads, sea ports, and tram lines, represented greater access, Hoyt theorized that cities tended to grow in wedge-shaped patterns -- or sectors -- emanating from the central business district and centered on major transportation routes. Higher levels of access meant higher land values, thus, many commercial functions would remain in the CBD but manufacturing functions would develop in a wedge surrounding transportation routes. Residential functions would grow in wedge-shaped patterns with a sector of low-income housing bordering manufacturing/industrial sectors (traffic, noise, and pollution makes these areas the least desirable) while sectors of middle- and high-income households were located furthest away from these functions. Hoyt's model attempts to state a broad principle of urban organization.


This model applies to most English cities. For example, if it is turned 90 degrees anti-clockwise if fits the city of Newcastle upon Tyne reasonably accurately. This may be because of the age of the cities, as a general rule older cities follow the Hoyt model and more recent cities follow the Burgess (concentric zone) model.


The theory is based on early twentieth century transport and does not make allowances for private cars that enable commuting from cheaper land outside city boundaries.[3] This occurred in Calgary in the 1930s when many near-slums were established outside the city but close to the termini of the street car lines. These are now incorporated into the city boundary but are pockets of low cost housing in medium cost areas.[2]

  • Physical features - physical features may restrict or direct growth along certain wedges
  • The growth of a sector can be limited by leapfrog land use

See also


  1. ^ Hoyt, H. (1939) The Structure and Growth of Residential Neighbourhoods in American Cities Washington, Federal Housing Administration
  2. ^ a b Smith, P.J. (1962) "Calgary: A study in urban pattern", Economic Geography, 38(4), pp.315-329
  3. ^ Rodwin, L. (1950) "The Theory of Residential Growth and Structure", Apprasial Journal, 18, pp.295-317

External links



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