Engineering Essay

1279 words - 6 pages

Discuss The Von Thunen Theory In Relation To Resource Use Planning
Definition and Origin of Von Thunen theory
The Von Thunen theory use was created by farmer and amateur economist J.H. Von Thunen (1783-1850) in 1826 (but it wasn't translated into English until 1966). Von Thunen's model was created before industrialization and is based on the following limiting assumptions:
* The city is located centrally within an "Isolated State" which is self-sufficient and has no external influences.
* The Isolated State is surrounded by an unoccupied wilderness.
* The land of the State is completely flat and has no rivers or mountains to interrupt the terrain.
* The soil quality and ...view middle of the document...

Ranching is located in the final ring surrounding the central city. Animals can be raised far from the city because they are self-transporting. Animals can walk to the central city for sale or for butchering.
Beyond the fourth ring lies the unoccupied wilderness, which is too great a distance from the central city for any type of agricultural product. Even though the Von Thunen model was created in a time before factories, highways, and even railroads, it is still an important model in geography. The Von Thunen model is an excellent illustration of the balance between land cost and transportation costs. The more one gets closer to a city, the price of land increases. The farmers of the Isolated State balance the cost of transportation, land, and profit and produce the most cost-effective product for market. Of course, in the real world, things don't happen as they would in a model.
The Von Thunen Theory in Relation to Resource Use Planning
Looking at the Von Thunen theory in relation to resource use planning, Von Thünen considered four generalized types of economic and agricultural activities, categorized according to relative economic yield per unit area and perishability or difficulty of delivering products to market (table 1, in an order of roughly decreasing perishability and yield per land area). He made predictions of the distributions of these activities relative to an isolated urban center. Assuming an otherwise homogeneous landscape (equal fertility and access to water throughout the area) and isolation of the system (no trade connections with outside states), von Thünen theorized that the following three factors would affect the spatial distribution of agricultural types:
* More perishable products would be grown closer to market
* Products with higher economic productivity per land area will be grown closer to market
* Products that are more difficult to transport will also occur closer to market.
According to these assumptions, one would expect that different types of agriculture will form in concentric rings around the market, ordered in distance from the center according to their relative values of the three factors mentioned .
Von Thünen's approach was considered in terms of global properties of a city and surrounding areas. The assumptions listed before are instrumental in maximizing efficiency and minimizing overall costs to the city as a whole. A rural planner who buys into this theory might be tempted to effect maximum efficiency through land zoning or some other centrally imposed order. However, most of the forces attributed to creating these conditions occur from the bottom up, and much of what is observed as a global pattern is in fact the emergent result of many individual actions.
It is not readily apparent to everyone how a society composed of such selfishly motivated participants, bereft of any higher motivation and lacking any centralized authority, could produce a market that spatially conforms...

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