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Staying on the top. Why cities move up (or down) the urban hierarchy : an international comparison over a hundred years


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Polèse, Mario et Denis-Jacob, Jonathan (2009). Staying on the top. Why cities move up (or down) the urban hierarchy : an international comparison over a hundred years Working Paper. Institut national de la recherche scientifique, Montréal.

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The paper examines the evolution of urban hierarchies in 74 nations since 1950 and 52 nations since 1900, focusing on cities at the top. The principal constraint is empirical: constructing an appropriate data base with consistent urban definitions and populations over time. Given the data constraints, only ranks are considered. The universe studied comprises 375 urban areas for 1950 and 288 for the year 1900, each ranked within their respective national urban systems. Rank-correlations are carried for both sets for all cities and for sub-sets. As would be expected, correlations with current ranks are stronger with 1950 than with 1900 rankings. Europe shows significantly greater stability than New World or Developing nations, suggesting that urban hierarchies stabilize as they mature. Changes at the top are exceptional in Europe. Outside Europe changes at the top are less unusual. Some cases stand out: the Rio de Janeiro/São Paolo reversal, the Montreal/Toronto reversal, and the fall of Kolkata (Calcutta) from first to third place since 1900. A systematic explanation of why top cities move up or down the urban hierarchy is difficult to arrive at. The paper identifies five possible causes, but which still leave room for unexpected outcomes.

Type de document: Monographie (Working Paper)
Informations complémentaires: Paper presented at the First Conference of the Regional Science Association of the Americas, Cartagena de Indias, Columbia, February 12th and 13th 2009
Mots-clés libres: hiérarchies urbaines; croissance urbaine; économie urbaine; urban hierarchy; urban growth; urban economy
Centre: Centre Urbanisation Culture Société
Date de dépôt: 12 nov. 2020 19:40
Dernière modification: 12 nov. 2020 19:40
URI: https://espace.inrs.ca/id/eprint/9294

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