Functional Analysis - Advantages and Limitations

  • As an appropriate tool to conceptualise this general framework, the functional analysis provides planners with answers to the following questions:
  • Ideal for classifying the settlement pattern according to functions, for example in rural centres, intermediate and regional centres according to agglomeration economies
  • Assists in determining whether settlements in the region are equipped with adequate functions which may only need limited investments to maintain their current advantages.
  • Determines settlements that are functionally deficient or those that could even serve a larger hinterland than is currently the case.
  • Depicts which settlements offer the best potential to be upgraded in order to promote future economic development.
  • Highlights settlements that are below the standard level of service and should therefore be designated as remote centres.
  • Is useful for assessing settlements that fulfil the threshold values needed to support services and facilities.
  • The settlement pattern assumes that the area being planned is on a “plain”. In other words, varying geographical conditions such as mountains and hills are not necessarily reflected in the functional analysis.
  • The analysis merely concentrates on accessibility of functions to the general public and the tool has to be used in conjunction with other related methods and tools (e.g. spatial diagram).
  • The assumption is that all functions receive the same weight limits the functional analysis. The different importance of the functions are not reflected