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Examining the thesis of central business district decline: evidence from the Montreal metropolitan area


  • W J Coffey
  • M Polèse
  • R Drolet


Much recent North American research has focused on the decline of the central business district (CBD) as the economic core of metropolitan areas, and the corresponding rise of suburban employment centres. According to the literature, this trend is particularly evident in the case of high-order service functions: business services, finance, insurance, and real estate services, and head offices. In this paper, we argue that the decentralization of high-order service activities and the corresponding CBD decline may be neither as strong a trend nor as universal a phenomenon as certain authors have indicated. Rather, the growth of suburban office employment may reflect a strong CBD whose economic base is becoming increasingly specialized. Using data from the Montreal metropolitan area, we first examine intrametropolitan decentralization in a shift-share framework, then document the mobility of establishments and employment. Our findings suggest that, in spite of a certain level of intrametropolitan decentralization, the CBD continues to be the primary locus of high-order services.

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  • W J Coffey & M Polèse & R Drolet, 1996. "Examining the thesis of central business district decline: evidence from the Montreal metropolitan area," Environment and Planning A, Pion Ltd, London, vol. 28(10), pages 1795-1814, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:pio:envira:v:28:y:1996:i:10:p:1795-1814

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    1. Capparucci Marina & Ghignoni Emanuela & Verashchagina Alina & Vorozhbit Natalia, 2015. "The Drivers of Innovation in the Italian Manufacturing Sector," Economia & lavoro, Carocci editore, issue 3, pages 111-128.
    2. Rachel Guillain & Julie Le Gallo & Céline Boiteux-Orain, 2004. "The evolution of the spatial and sectoral patterns in Ile-de-France over 1978-1997," ERSA conference papers ersa04p59, European Regional Science Association.
    3. Catherine Baumont & Françoise Bourdon & Rachel Guillain, 2004. "Mutations urbaines et logiques de localisation des emplois : le cas de la communauté de l'agglomeration Dijonnaise (1990, 1999)," Revue d'économie régionale et urbaine, Armand Colin, vol. 0(4), pages 579-608.
    4. Emilie ARNOULT & Florent SARI, 2016. "Analyse Spatiale De L’Espace Urbain : Le Cas De L’Agglomération Lyonnaise," Region et Developpement, Region et Developpement, LEAD, Universite du Sud - Toulon Var, vol. 43, pages 77-110.
    5. Catherine Baumont & Françoise Bourdon, 2002. "Centres secondaires et recomposition économique des espaces urbains," Working Papers hal-01544523, HAL.
    6. Catherine Baumont & Françoise Bourdon & Rachel Guillain, 2003. "Mutations urbaines et logiques de localisation des emplois : le cas de la Communauté de l'Agglomération Dijonnaise (1990-1999)," Working Papers hal-01526533, HAL.
    7. BAUMONT, Catherine & BOURDON, Françoise, 2002. "Centres secondaires et recomposition économique des espaces urbains.Le cas de la Communauté de l'Agglomération Dijonnaise (1990 ; 1999)," LATEC - Document de travail - Economie (1991-2003) 2002-04, LATEC, Laboratoire d'Analyse et des Techniques EConomiques, CNRS UMR 5118, Université de Bourgogne.

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