Learning Resources Bank

Central Place Hierarchies

In this tutorial students identify central place hierarchies using a common phenomenon – pizza parlours. Using an online business directory (such as Yellow Pages, Urban Spoon, or Google) students identify all the pizza parlours in each of 10 selected cities, which must range from small (~500 population) to large (1million +). These should be contained within the same state if possible for comparative purposes. Students count the number of pizza parlours and record the

• Town/City name

• Town/City population

• Number of pizza parlours

Students then create a log-linear chart in Excel plotting pizza places against the log of population which is almost a linear relationship. Students are asked to calculate the “threshold” value of pizza parlours and to explain their presence or absence in particular locations.

This activity can be extended by comparing two services (dentists, beauty parlours, car dealerships (Holden, Ford, Mercedes), pubs) for “threshold” values and distributions.