Comparing Economic Regions using Locus Business Maps

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.

Comparing Economic Systems: Types, Sizes, and Scale

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.

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  1. Locus Map Comparisons of Similar and Different Types of States
  2. Locus Maps of Industrial States

    State of Pennsylvania
    Penn 70a5aa80ee88ffa1c39f8c43a0bb7e859bf98b48045b53523543d204074a3ab0
    State of Michigan
    Michigan d4a4d6dc101522561c8aa7ab2578f54de77b4352cdac6f31fb37b50ed613d84a
    State of Ohio
    Ohio c55c825aa7b71a51a1875b85a2422df9ff37a233fdc594a5914bd2b7b76b4448

    Locus Maps of Agricultural States

    State of Iowa
    Iowa a894df4359714239dd20ef8a589111954cd36a42fcc2d2c40014ab48bbb1c95b
    State of Nebraska
    Nebraska c20a94355f5691627391c6242b06c75f65718758e34d2a5884d85fbf2bc6314a
    State of North Dakota
    North dakota d0c62838f3461eb54db70848a0de394ed1a8e81cefee3474011c8cbca1bbff1b

    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.

  3. Locus Map Comparisons of Similar and Different Types of Zip-Code Areas
  4. Locus Maps of Urban Residential Zip-Codes

    Union Square
    New York, NY (10003)
    10003 cddba573e5aeb50f77b0168b25dfd570a7081fba9f43eeed695ae02f34fb8764
    Pacific Heights
    San Francisco, CA (94115)
    94115 2d484a4eddd56743d4bcfbd8e533efe171eade8576b109152b4f0c4ec6185528
    Boston, MA (02445)
    02445 19ace888701fc540142fd2ed02680f973eb6bc5a7fda5186615e71439c584ff6

    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.

    Locus Maps of Central Business District or (Downtown) Zip-Codes

    Birmingham, AL (35203)
    35203 d3dee076f40d91e4c1cb4da46ad23ccef60d02f8e1a7d4491e3728d7aa783f36
    Des Moines, IA (50309)
    50309 131cc10408bd1bc39d8f36ac831d05b020c044be9ea366dcdb15892289a82675
    Toledo, OH (43604)
    43604 df10949efc0231b8cdbac783f6f3bf041bc4b503a0a9ade9fe691fd74b7917b0

    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.

    Locus Maps of Financial Center Zip-Codes

    Mid-town Manhattan
    New York, NY (10022)
    10022 d0fa4a6b35f7e4f0af5cc83f35c4b4473e0f4eb594c2afe245ae66d35d1c00d5
    Boston Waterfront
    Boston, MA (02210)
    02210 3e9eaf4807a7cb3876e3b3edffab0e6f277e482cf681c793065c121ed8449ed5
    Greenwich, CT (06830)
    06830 ee8b5da0e8cf514a1f38addfb1d4a30ad1411f774f1c5b2789824c89f03ccdc4

    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.

    Locus Maps of Shopping Area Zip-Codes

    King of Prussia Mall
    King of Prussia, PA (19406)
    19406 788d9b53cfcc0fff951002cf3d8529388b020335a02059c9d7f384ff8312ef67
    South Coast Plaza
    Costa Mesa, CA (92626)
    92626 7b38d8936b2a6597c482f7ae496a4cfbb20bffaa583bdd78d176a00f85ec5663
    Mall of America
    Bloomington, MN (55425)
    55425 f8137cbcefdf5754b7855879250d9e8cb122f95497d225a69f2c1ba7ef85c2f0

    Areas with large shopping centers tend to have large 3 Equipment service functions with slightly smaller 3 Fuel (food courts, bars, etc.) functions.

    Locus Maps of Specialty Industries

    Fashion District
    New York, NY. (10018)
    10018 3d109345ceb03a0766103483eb460c4e73c7d9fc85f73f1943a41ab1ec05b48c
    Info Tech Area
    Redwood City, CA (94065)
    94065 4b872e59185660535b8fe9da006554e9057b3c43588aa2d92bafee1e49a695e6
    Industrial/ Tech
    San Jose, CA (95134)
    95134 b1329c8a215f52651aa42dd694ef1efb5ef7902126cef08b54a8f976d9e17e0f

    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.

    Locus Maps of University Area Zip-Codes

    Palo Alto, CA (94304)
    94304 28c47089a51f878053da1fb41dc6fb3e5c141ccb79e923458a698c033e6a5e13
    Northwestern University
    Evanston, IL (60208)
    60208 8242914b0ab1474d27b11d0c4b9eb4aec9e672435e7746100a5c469211497ad4
    Princeton, NJ (08544)
    08544 6a3189540b2fef52fcc518614380ad981ead5051780ba084197a2f2ecd0d7ca7

    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.

    Locus Maps of University Tech Developments

    Palo Alto
    Palo Alto, CA (94306)
    94306 bc87b8c5206593025641e0b0e5dfa01efba2beabfa910460ea533ea1ee0a3ab5
    Northwestern University
    Evanston, IL (60202)
    60202 10d19673760e57201e04d630a62e6c58a47728a0ad00d14ec7eb9bd18b81f395
    Princeton, NJ (08540)
    08540 86d1b565a03704c91ed2f126fe029eed613357a1bd014ea305fea6ca376014ab

    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.