While accepting the existence of a central business district, Homer 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 numerous British cities. For example, if it is turned 90 degrees counter-clockwise it fits the city of Newcastle upon Tyne reasonably accurately. This may be because of the age of the cities when transportation was a key limitation, 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 rail transport and does not make allowances for private cars that enable commuting from cheaper land outside city boundaries. 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.
- Physical features - physical features may restrict or direct growth along certain wedges
- The growth of a sector can be limited by leapfrog land use
The model was created in 1939
- Rodwin, L. (1950) "The Theory of Residential Growth and Structure", Apprasial Journal, 18, pp.295-317
- Smith, P.J. (1962) "Calgary: A study in urban pattern", Economic Geography, 38(4), pp.315-329