Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Geography & Environmental Studies


Faculty of Arts

First Advisor

Herbert Whitney

Advisor Role

Thesis Supervisor


This paper examines religious spatial interaction within an urban environment and as such contributes to the sparse literature on the Geography of Religion. It is the specific purpose to illustrate the journey to worship of households in the City of Waterloo, Ontario and to explain the spatial pattern utilizing the Principle of Least Effort.

It is discovered that if historical tension and dimensional tension are considered, one is able to predict the actual pattern of the journey to worship with seventy per cent accuracy. The fact that a large per cent of the sample attend the closest church of their particular denomination at the time of entry into the earliest address in the Twin Cities appears to indicate that the distance to church is an important attraction factor. The travel patterns of all denominations are influenced similarly by the principle of least effort. This effect of the principle of least effort can be described mathematically using the Pareto function.

An analysis of the socio-economic factors that could effect the space preference of households indicates that income, age, trip frequency, the number of programs utilized and family size do not significantly explain the travel patterns of the journey to worship to any great degree.

In a final chapter the perception of households is analyzed as to which factors are considered most important in attracting the household to church. It is discovered that a large percentage of the households indicated that proximity to church is the most important attraction factor. This subjective aspect verifies the objective conclusions on the important effect of the least effort principle on the journey to worship of Waterloo households.

Those individuals who are responsible for church location and planning may well find this paper useful in their task.

Convocation Year