An evaluation and application of the minimum requirements method of economic base analysis to the delineation of the functional structure of New Zealand urban places, 1971 : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts in Geography at Massey University
The basic-nonbasic dichotomy of functions performed by urban places, their relative importance in ensuring the existence and continued growth of urban places, and the problems encountered in their identification and measurement have been examined within the conceptual framework of the economic base concept. One of the indirect or macro methods of economic base analysis which has been used in the identification and measurement of the basic and nonbasic functions performed by urban places, namely the minimum requirements method and its variants, has also been examined and evaluated in order to provide a theoretical and methodological framework for the application of the second variant of the method to 82 New Zealand urban places. On the basis of the Department of Labour's April, 1971 half-yearly survey of employment statistics, the second variant of the minimum requirements method as developed by Ullman and Dacey and refined by the use of least-squares linear regression equations and their associated regression lines which systematically correct the results obtained for variations in urban place population size, has been used to identify and measure the basic and nonbasic functions performed by New Zealand urban places. Using the basic functions, which are generally considered predominantly of economic significance, as a quantitative measure of the extent to which each of the industrial categories represented in the employment structure of an urban place constitute an economic specialisation of the urban place; the complex of specialised functions characteristic of each urban place in New Zealand has been used to delineate the functional structure of the urban place. To clarify these results and provide a comparative indicator, reference has been made to several direct or micro economic base studies which have applied the sales-employment conversion method of economic base analysis to individual New Zealand urban places, and to a number of overseas economic base studies which have applied the minimum requirements method and its variants to various national and regional systems of urban places. Finally, to obtain an overview of the New Zealand urban scene the basic functional structures of New Zealand urban places have been characterised and classified. Each urban place's dominant function, its distinctive functions, and its degree of functional specialisation have been determined to achieve this end in a similar manner to Maxwell's functional classification of Canadian cities. The results of this classification have been presented in tabular and cartographic form, discussed in terms of their spatial patterns and statistical aspects, and compared with several functional classes derived by Pownall in his earlier functional classification of New Zealand towns. The overview gained indicates the predominantly multi-functional basic character of the functional structures of New Zealand urban places.