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Basic industries

Industries that sell their products or services primarily to consumers outside the settlement.

business services

Services that primarily meet the needs of other businesses.

central business district

the oldest retail setting usually located in the community's downtown area

central place

A market center for the exchange of services by people attracted from the surrounding area.

central place theory

Theory proposed by Walter Christaller that explains how and where central places in the urban hierarchy should be functionally and spatially distributed with respect to one another.


a city with political and economic control over the surrounding countryside

clustered rural settlement

A rural settlement in which the houses and farm buildings of each family are situated close to each other and fields surround the settlement.

consumer services

Businesses that provide services primarily to individual consumers, including retail services and personal services.

dispersed rural settlement

A rural settlement pattern characterized by isolated farms rather than clustered villages.

economic base

A community's collection of basic industries.

enclosure movement

The process of consolidating small landholdings into a smaller number of larger farms in England during the eighteenth century.

gravity movement

model that is used to account for a wide variety of flow patterns in human/economic systems, based on Newton's gravity equation which defines gravity or the flow potential (between two sites or locations) as directly proportional to the product of their masses (or size) and inversely proportional to the square of the distance between them: gravity = (mass × mass) ÷ distance2.
distance decay

market area/hinterland

The area surrounding a central place, from which people are attracted to use the place's goods and services.

nonbasic industries

Industries that sell their products primarily to consumers in the community.

personal services

Services that provide for the well-being and personal improvement of individual consumers.

primate city

The largest settlement in a country, if it has more than twice as many people as the second-ranking settlement.

primate city rule

A pattern of settlements in a country, such that the largest settlement has more than twice as many people as the second-ranking settlement.

producer services

Services that primarily help people conduct business.

public services

Services offered by the government to provide security and protection for citizens and businesses

range (of a service)

The maximum distance people are willing to travel to use a service

rank-size rule

A pattern of settlements in a country, such that the nth largest settlement is 1/n the population of the largest settlement.

regional multiplier

A numerical relationship showing the number of total jobs created for each new basic job in a region.

retail services

Services that provide goods for sale to consumers.


any activity that fulfills a human want or need and returns money to those who provide it


A permanent collection of buildings and inhabitants.


The minimum number of people needed to support the service

transportation and information services

Services that diffuse and distribute services.

urban hierarchy

a ranking of settlements according to their size and economic functions

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