Document type: DU ETD
Collection: Geology Theses  
Title The Spatial Expression of Public Schools in the City and County of Denver, Colorado: A Central Place Study
Author(s) Driscoll, Linda B.
School/Department Department of Geography
Institution University of Denver
Degree Type Master's
Degree Name M.A.
Type of Resource text
Degree Date August 1973
Digital Origin reformatted digital
Rights Statement All Rights Reserved
Reason for Restrictions No restrictions
Type of Restriction No restrictions
Keyword(s) Geography
Genre Dissertations, Academic
Language English
Abstract The study is concerned with an application of central place theory to the non-economically oriented service of a public school system, whereas central place theory has been applied primarily to economic functions. Not only can central place theory produce a theoretical explanation of spatial aspects of public facility location, but the theory may be further refined by its application to noneconomic functions. This research attempts to describe the explanatory significance of central place theory in describing the spatial attributes of public schools in a municipal setting. Following a discussion of the assumptive conditions of Christaller’s central place model, the seven fundamental diagnostic criteria of the ideal central place hierarchical structure are outlined. These criteria, established by John Marshall, are used as the theoretic basis for the study of central place applied to a school system. Criterion four, the interstitial placement of orders, is also the theoretical basis for the empirical validation. The theoretic portion of this study would have application to any public school system, while the empirical portion relates only to data on the Denver Public School System of the City and County of Denver, Colorado. The empirical application is divided into two parts. The first part is concerned with determining whether the spatial distribution of the Denver Public Schools is random, hexagonal, or clustered, using nearest neighbor technique modified for central place studies by Dacey. These five relationships are tested. 1. All central places. 2. Senior high schools with respect to all central places. 3. Junior high schools with respect to all central places. 4. Elementary schools with respect to all central places. 5. All Senior high schools The analysis is for a thirty year span using the years 1940, 1950, 1960, and 1970. The results show the distributional pattern approaching randomness from clustered, rather than hexagonal as required by central place theory. The second part of the analysis is concerned with the shapes of the complementary regions (service areas) of the three levels of schools—elementary, junior highs, senior highs—for 1940, 1950, 1960, 1970 through the use of Dirichlet polygons. The assumption is made that all pupils are assigned the school nearest their place of residence. The service areas have a tendency toward five sides rather than the required hexagons. It is suggested that central place theory could readily explain the locational aspects of a school system within a municipality if the criterion of interstitial placement of orders were not so rigid. To
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