The Hybrid Land Use Model: Transportation and the Formation of Urban Landscapes

The Hybrid Land Use Model Transportation and the Formation of Urban Landscapes

Source: Adapted from Taaffe E.J., Gauthier H.L. and O’Kelly M.E. (1996) Geography of Transportation (second edition).

The evolution of the urban landscape can be considered from a hybrid perspective, where different paradigms were at play at different points in time. Since the concentric, sectorial, and zonal models had problems dealing with specific conditions, hybrid representations of urban land use were developed. They try to include the strengths of each representation where some urban land uses are oriented along major transport axis (sectors), while others, notably industrial and commercial, are located in nuclei (clusters) where they reach both scale and agglomeration economies. The urban land use is thus an overlay of different transport effects, let they be sectorial, zonal, or nuclear:

  • Pre-industrial. Concentric land use development with strong distance decay factors. Cities were compact.
  • Streetcar. Sector development along the main lines. The expansion of cities into new residential neighborhoods was shaped by streetcar lines and suburban railway stations.
  • Bicycle. Concentric development with less distance decay. This new form of mobility enabled a wider range of suburban development.
  • Automobile. Concentric development with low distance decay. The creation of a new suburban space composed of single-family homes.
  • Highway. Concentric development and the emergence of sub-centers along major road intersections. The automobile became the main mode shaping development in many urban areas.