Have you ever wondered what makes your business community unique? Communities have much in common. They are filled with familiar stores, fulfilling similar needs. The storefront and the name may change as you move from state to state, but the function of that business remains the same. In communities, not only can you find the corner sandwich shop, but also a central business district, where activities like finance, insurance, real estate, consultants, and law aggregate. Every community has some activities that distinguish them from other communities. Some have manufacturing centers, some medical centers, some research centers or universities, some technology centers, and others farms or food processing operations. Together, these groups form economic systems that support both the residential and business community.
Locus Business Maps let you map the businesses in these economic systems. Maps.Locus uses a standardized grid to plot the economic distribution within a community. Each box on the grid represents a group of functionally similar roles played by businesses. Functional roles are described using a combination of an activity, like sales, and an object of the specific activity, like food, forming what we call a business locus. In our “Background on the Locus Model”, we discuss the idea of a business locus. A standardized grid based on business loci lets the user see the distribution of businesses in a community. Because this grid is standardized, it lets a user compare one community to another.
Below we show different types of communities to demonstrate how to read Locus Maps. For each type, we show a few examples to show how common types of communities have common distributions of businesses.
The economy of any region is distributed geographically across the region. Some zip-codes contain shopping centers; others contain central business districts; others have manufacturing centers, and still, others are the residential centers where we live. You see this allocation of economic activity across geography when you study zip-codes. When you study cities, you see how these different zip-coded regions aggregate up to a larger city-wide economic system. This pattern continues as one moves between different scales of geography.
Agricultural states exhibit similar patterns that are easily identifiable in Locus Maps by the presence of a large 2 Fuel box. These states have a high concentration of businesses that produce food.
Urban Residential areas are noticeable by the presence of a large 2 People box (representing services for people), a relatively large 3.1 Food services box and not much else. Businesses associated with 2 People include personal care services like nail salons, barber shops, and healthcare providers. The larger presence of 3 Energy service functions is associated with restaurants, bars, and supermarkets.
Business Districts have high concentrations of 4 Div service businesses. These businesses are largely legal, consulting, and accounting firms that have many customers across various industries which are reflected by the Div object.
Financial Centers are found close to or mixed with Business Districts. There is a large presence of 4 Div and 4 Money service businesses. These businesses are associated with finance, insurance, real estate asset managers, lawyers, consultants, and accountants.
Areas with large shopping centers tend to have large 3 Equipment service functions with slightly smaller 3 Fuel (food courts, bars, etc.) functions.
Each specialty industry is marked by its unique Locus Business Map. The Fashion District in NYC, home to the Fashion Institute of Technology, is an area oriented around 2 Equipment: apparel manufacture and 3 Equipment (services for apparel). These are a large number of entrepreneurs in apparel from FIT. The Info Tech region in Redwood City, CA is the home of Oracle and many other info-tech start-ups found in business parks. San Jose’s industrial and tech region the home of applied materials and silicon (think semiconductors) is oriented around 2 Equipment and 2 Information, as well as 3 Equipment; these areas are equipped with manufacturing plants and wholesale industrial retailers.
As one may expect, the 2 People (services for people) function is largest in university zip-codes as it is the Locus code for education as well as hospitals and medical schools.
University Tech development areas are marked by a large presence of consulting firms (4 Div), consumer support services like salons, general stores, and restaurants (2 People, 3 Equipment, and 3 Fuel respectively), and the production of information and tech (2 Information). A larger 2 Information box indicates a tech presence. This is often found in zip-codes near academic areas.