6 Apr

Geographical Review Preview: Geography, Von Thünen, and Tobler’s First Law

By: Robert Toovey Walker

What is the main purpose of your study? The main purpose of my article is to review the contribution to Geography made by Johann Henrique von Thünen.

Johann Henrique von Thünen

What are the practical, day to day, implications of your study? The practical implication of my article is to remind Geographers of the degree to which we are indebted to von Thünen for some of our most fundamental spatial concepts.

How does your study relate to other work on the subject? My article contributes to a perennial discussion about the utility of formal models to Human and especially Economic Geography. As such, it represents a response to a critique issuing from the cultural turn.

What are two or three interesting findings that come from your study? The three most interesting points the article makes are that (1) von Thünen’s influence remains strong in Geography; that (2) von Thünen’s concept of location rent provides the conceptual basis for Alonso’s theory of urban form and for land change science’s notion of “accessibility;” and that (3) Tobler’s First Law is strengthened by reference to accessibility, a Thunian principle.

Part of statue of Albrecht Daniel Thaer (1752-1828) at Schinkelplatz in Berlin-Mitte, Berlin (Germany)

What might be some of the theoretical implications of this study? The primary theoretical implication of the article is that it forces us to recast one of our fundamental laws.

How does your research help us think about Geography? This article helps us think about Geography by restoring location rent as a key principle that undergirds spatial variation.

To access the full articles, become an AGS affiliate and get free online access!
Click here to read the abstract of this article.