Walter Christaller’s research on regional and rural development planning during World War II Preston, Richard E.
Universität <Berlin, Freie Universität> / Institut für Geographische Wissenschaften
Institut für Geographische Wissenschaften <Berlin, Freie Universität>
Walter Christaller’s research on regional and rural development planning during World War II
The goals of this study were to describe and evaluate Christaller's research on regional
and rural planning during World War II. His research was analyzed by identifying ideas
from his pre-war studies that were basic to his war research, by piecing together
theoretical perspectives from sources from 1940-1945, and by identifying links between
those studies and his research on central places. It was shown that Christaller's research
contributed to plans facilitating German Lebensraum policy and the objectives of
Himmler's Reich Commission for the Strengthening of Germandom, that he built the
conceptual and theoretical frameworks used in his war research on his earlier theories
of central places, administrative regions, and rural settlement change, that he used his
theoretical ideas to confront basic problems in planning and human geography, and
that he offered innovative solutions including (1) generalization of his original theory by
the addition of a mixed hierarchical principle, (2) development of normative systems of
urban-centered administrative-planning regions both for the German Empire and in
more detail for western Poland, (3) development of a model of metropolitan regions,
and (4) development of a settlement system based theory of rural development.
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