Date: 13 Jan 2011

Gravity Modeling and its Impacts on Location Analysis

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Throughout the 20th century, geographers have developed a variety of models that assist public and private entities in locating facilities from factories to emergency services. In the area of retail location analysis, the early gravity models of geographers William J. Reilly and David L. Huff played a pioneering role in delineating retail trade areas and modeling many other kinds of spatial interaction. Their fundamental insight was that customers do not necessarily shop at the closest store, but patronize locations in proportion to the attractiveness of the retail centers and in inverse proportion to their distance. In this chapter, we elucidate the early history, structure, and significance of these models.