Not all sprawl - Evolution of employment centers in Los Angeles, 1980 - 2000
AbstractAre contemporary metropolitan regions becoming more dispersed? The collective set of urban models tells us two stories. The first is that changes in the structure of the economy, ever faster and cheaper information and communications technologies, and the dispersion of the labor force have broadened the scope of agglomeration economies. Hence employment will continue to decentralize. The alternative story argues that heavy reliance on face-to-face communication in the information economy, economies of scale and scope in infrastructure, and historical path dependence in urban spatial patterns suggest that highly localized agglomeration economies continue to exist. The purpose of our research is to establish robust empirical evidence that can help clarify the debate over the evolution of economic activity within a metropolitan area and provide the data that can be used to test the implications of many of the models that speak to urban dynamics. We examine changes in employment patterns in the Los Angeles region, from 1980 to 2000. As a rapidly growing, prototypically polycentric region, Los Angeles provides an interesting case study of spatial evolution. Using data from 1980, 1990 and 2000, we identify employment centers and describe spatial trends in the pattern of employment inside and outside these centers. Our findings point to three trends in the evolution of the topography of employment. First, there is a remarkable degree of stability in the system of centers. While a small number of centers appear and disappear, the large majority of centers are evident throughout the three sample periods. This stability does not mean that the distribution of employment has been static, however. The second trend is a marked spread in the average distance of jobs from the traditional core: the average job in 2000 was significantly further from downtown than in 1980. This decentralization is not simply dispersion, but rather both deconcentration and concentration. That is, while the most rapid job growth has occurred in the outer suburbs, suburban employment centers have become more numerous, larger and more concentrated. These trends appear to defy simple models of urban evolution and call for a more nuanced understanding of the dynamics underlying these trends.
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by European Regional Science Association in its series ERSA conference papers with number ersa05p686.
Date of creation: Aug 2005
Date of revision:
Contact details of provider:
Postal: Welthandelsplatz 1, 1020 Vienna, Austria
Web page: http://www.ersa.org
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2006-02-05 (All new papers)
- NEP-GEO-2006-02-21 (Economic Geography)
- NEP-URE-2006-02-21 (Urban & Real Estate Economics)
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Zhang, Yang & Sasaki, Komei, 1997. "Effects of subcenter formation on urban spatial structure," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(3), pages 297-324, June.
- Alex Anas & Richard Arnott & Kenneth A. Small, 1998.
"Urban Spatial Structure,"
Journal of Economic Literature,
American Economic Association, vol. 36(3), pages 1426-1464, September.
- Richard Arnott & Alex Anas & Kenneth Small, 1997. "Urban Spatial Structure," Boston College Working Papers in Economics 388., Boston College Department of Economics.
- Anas, Alex & Arnott, Richard & Small, Kenneth A., 1997. "Urban Spatial Structure," University of California Transportation Center, Working Papers qt835049q3, University of California Transportation Center.
- Giuliano, Genevieve & Small, Kenneth A., 1991.
"Subcenters in the Los Angeles Region,"
University of California Transportation Center, Working Papers
qt7xv976dj, University of California Transportation Center.
- Giuliano, Genevieve & Small, Kenneth A., 1991. "Subcenters in the Los Angeles Region," University of California Transportation Center, Working Papers qt6ts0t95w, University of California Transportation Center.
- Small Kenneth A. & Song Shunfeng, 1994.
"Population and Employment Densities: Structure and Change,"
Journal of Urban Economics,
Elsevier, vol. 36(3), pages 292-313, November.
- Small, Kenneth A. & Song, Shunfeng, 1994. "Population and Employment Densities: Structure and Change," University of California Transportation Center, Working Papers qt6nk5v6b4, University of California Transportation Center.
- Sullivan, Arthur M., 1986. "A general equilibrium model with agglomerative economies and decentralized employment," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 20(1), pages 55-74, July.
- Catherine Baumont & Cem Ertur & Julie Le Gallo, 2003. "Spatial Analysis Of Employment And Population Density: The Case Of The Agglomeration Of Dijon, 1999," Urban/Regional 0310003, EconWPA.
- Helsley, Robert W. & Sullivan, Arthur M., 1991. "Urban subcenter formation," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 21(2), pages 255-275, July.
- Henderson, Vernon & Mitra, Arindam, 1996. "The new urban landscape: Developers and edge cities," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 26(6), pages 613-643, December.
- McMillen, Daniel P. & McDonald, John F., 1998. "Suburban Subcenters and Employment Density in Metropolitan Chicago," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 43(2), pages 157-180, March.
- McMillen, Daniel P. & Smith, Stefani C., 2003. "The number of subcenters in large urban areas," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(3), pages 321-338, May.
- Nathan B. Anderson & William T. Bogart, 2001. "The Structure of Sprawl: Identifying and Characterizing Employment Centers in Polycentric Metropolitan Areas," American Journal of Economics and Sociology, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 60(1), pages 147-169, 01.
- McMillen, Daniel P., 2001. "Nonparametric Employment Subcenter Identification," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(3), pages 448-473, November.
- Craig, Steven G. & Ng, Pin T., 2001. "Using Quantile Smoothing Splines to Identify Employment Subcenters in a Multicentric Urban Area," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 49(1), pages 100-120, January.
- McDonald, John F. & McMillen, Daniel P., 2000. "Employment Subcenters and Subsequent Real Estate Development in Suburban Chicago," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 48(1), pages 135-157, July.
- Yang Zhang & Komei Sasaki, 2000. "Spatial structure in an open city with a subcenter," The Annals of Regional Science, Springer, vol. 34(1), pages 37-53.
- P Gordon & H W Richardson & H L Wong, 1986. "The distribution of population and employment in a polycentric city: the case of Los Angeles," Environment and Planning A, Pion Ltd, London, vol. 18(2), pages 161-173, February.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Gunther Maier).
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.