The First Culture of Cities

  • Juval PortugaliEmail author
Part of the Understanding Complex Systems book series (UCS)


The quantitative revolution was an attempt made in the 1950s by a new generation of urbanists to transform the “soft” descriptive study of cities into a “hard” analytical science (Burton 1963). These urbanists have revolutionized the field mainly by adopting location theory – a group of theories developed since the mid-19th century, mainly by economists who added space into the otherwise ‘spaceless’ economic models, and settlement geographers who employed economic consideration and physical analogies as means to explaining settlement patterns. The “founding father” of location theory and by implication of the quantitative revolution, was the 19th century German economist Johann Heinrich von Thünen with his Isolated State and our story begins with him. I write “founding father” in brackets because economist Thünen will never know that some 120 years after publishing his Isolated State, his work has become the foundation for a new theory of cities and settlements.


Central Place Location Theory Urban Ecology Innovation Diffusion Founding Father 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Dept. of Geography and the Human EnvironmentTel Aviv UniversityTel AvivIsrael

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