The Harris and Ullman Multiple Nuclei Model is a model of urban land use that was developed by geographers Chauncy Harris and Edward Ullman in 1945. The model states that different parts of a city develop around different centers of activity, or “nuclei”. These centers can include commercial, industrial, educational, recreational, and residential areas. Each center has its own distinct characteristics and functions, and the interactions between these centers can shape the overall urban landscape. The model is used to explain the spatial organization of cities, and to analyze the relationships between different urban land uses.

Multiple nuclei model

multi-core model

The multi-core model It is an economic model created by Chauncy Harris and Edward Ullman in the 1945 article “The Nature of Cities”.

The model

The model describes the layout of a city, based on Chicago. It says that even though a city may have started with a central business district, or CBD, other smaller CBDs develop on the outskirts of the city near the most upscale residential areas to allow for shorter commutes from the outskirts of the city. This creates nodes or cores in other parts of the city than the CBD, hence the name multicore model. His aim was to produce a more realistic, albeit more complicated, model. Its main objectives in this were:

  1. Move away from the concentric zone model
  2. Better reflect the complex nature of urban areas, especially larger ones

The model assumes that:

  1. The earth is not flat in all areas.
  2. There is also Resource Distribution
  3. There is even distribution of people in residential areas
  4. There are also transport costs

model reasons

Harris and Ullman argued that cities do not grow around a single core, but rather several separate cores. Each core acts as a growth point.

The theory was formed based on the idea that people have greater movement due to increased car ownership. This increase in movement allows the specialization of regional centers (ex. heavy industry, business parks, commercial areas). The model is suitable for large expanding cities. The number of cores around which the city expands depends on both situational and historical factors. Multiple nuclei develop because:

  1. Certain industrial activities require transport facilities, eg ports, railway stations, etc., to reduce transport costs.
  2. Various combinations of activities tend to be separated, for example, residential areas and airports, factories and parks, etc.
  3. Other activities are found together for their mutual benefit, for example universities, bookshops and coffee shops, etc.
  4. Some facilities need to be installed in specific areas of a city – for example, the CBD requires convenient traffic systems and many factories need an abundant source of resources.

Effects of multiple cores in Industry

As the multiple nuclei develop, transport centers are built, such as airports, which allow the establishment of industries with reduced transport costs. These transport hubs have negative externality such as noise pollution and lower land values, making land around the hub cheaper. Hotels are also built near airports because people who travel tend to want to stay close to where they travel. Housing develops in wedges and gets more expensive as you move away from the CBD.

See too


urban geography urban government urban economy Urban planning urban population urbanism Environment

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