Timár Judit; Kovács Zoltán: Hinterland Development.
In: Kobayashi, Audrey Lynn (ed.): International Encyclopedia of Human Geography.
Amsterdam: Elsevier, 2020.pp. 5-13. DOI
The term “hinterland” means the tributary area of a port, or in a broader sense the sphere of influence of any settlement. The central place theory plays an important role in how the relationship between the heartland/city and hinterland embodied in production, consumption, exchange, and communication is viewed. This theory considers hinterlands to be hierarchically subordinated settlements served with the functions of central places. Other approaches find interaction with the core and mutual dependence to be decisive. Yet other theories claim that hinterlands are in a controlled, subordinated, and exploited position. In the colonies the emergence of cities and their hinterlands was mainly driven by external forces. Today the development of a large number of rural hinterlands in the developing world is influenced by national-scale macro-economic trends and policies rather than impulses emanating from their own small-town centers. Studies in Europe highlight the importance of a more intricate network of relations created by changes in the nature of new functions, social structures, values, and relationships. The usability of the hinterland concept is called into question by the rather chaotic usage of the term. The mapping of hinterlands is censured for its positivism, while the approach focusing exclusively on the heartland/city-hinterland dichotomy papers over power relations, social, and cultural differences and inequalities in hinterlands.