Warped space: A geography of distance decay

J. Douglas Eldridge, John Paul Jones

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

104 Scopus citations


Distance decay is one of geography’s core concepts, yet its own spatial properties have been largely neglected. We illustrate the use of the expansion method in assessing the spatial variation of distance-decay parameters within the general context of gravity models. The approach enables the portrayal of “space warping,” said to occur when equivalent distances have spatially uneven effects on interaction. The concepts are examined empirically through the estimation of a competing destination model for out-migration from five State Economic Areas over the 1965-70 period. Four of the five origins are found to have spatially unstable frictions of distance. We conclude by suggesting that distance decay is a contextual, rather than a universal, effect.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)500-511
Number of pages12
JournalProfessional Geographer
Issue number4
StatePublished - Nov 1991


  • Competing destination model
  • Distance decay
  • Expansion method
  • Gravity model
  • Migration
  • Spatial interaction models

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Earth-Surface Processes


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