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Hierarchical Regional Space (HRS) model

Skinner's Hierarchical Regional Space (HRS) model views agrarian societies as a nested hierarchy of local and regional systems, each centered on a city or town at a given level in an urban hierarchy. HRS draws upon and elaborates fundamental elements of modern geographical thought, including central place theory, regional systems theory, and spatial diffusion theory:

Even as agrarian societies industrialize, elements of these spatial structures may persist for generations. Within this framework, specific social and economic variables express their spatial pattern most strongly at certain spatial scales. Geographic Information Systems (GIS) facilitate modeling these structures at multiple scales, enabling social scientists to situate data from specific locations within these spatial contexts. As an alternative to the conventionally mapped hierarchies of political systems and administrative units, the HRS model provides a useful framework for explaining the spatial variation in many demographic and ecological phenomena.

Excerpted from "Conceptualizing HRS and Constructing Tabular and Spatial Datafiles" by Mark Henderson, G. William Skinner, and Lawrence W. Crissman. Paper prepared for the Geoinformatics '99 conference, China Data Center, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, 20 June 1999. Archived at

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