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Polycentrism or dispersion? An approach based on the New Urban Economics

Author

Listed:
  • Garcia-López , Miquel-Àngel

    () (Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona)

  • Muñiz Olivera , Iván

    () (Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona)

Abstract

There is no clear dividing line between polycentrism and dispersion in the spatial structure of cities. One of the methods used to assess the level of polycentrism in comparison with the dispersion of employment in an urban region has been to compare the changes in jobs inside and outside subcentres. If the proportion of employment in subcentres increases to a greater extent than the percentage of jobs located outside the CBD and the subcentres, then the city tends towards polycentrism, while if the opposite is true, it tends towards dispersion. The aim of this study is to consider polycentrism according to the New Urban Economics approaches. Using this approach, polycentrism must not only be measured by the employment concentrated in subcentres, but also by its impact on the location and density conditions of employment as a whole. The empirical evidence provided enables both methodologies to be compared for the total number of jobs in the Barcelona Metropolitan Region between 1986 and 2001. The results show that the polycentrism of the BMR has been accentuated by the identification of new subcentres and the maintenance —or even accentuation— of their effect on the location and density conditions of other employment.

Suggested Citation

  • Garcia-López , Miquel-Àngel & Muñiz Olivera , Iván, 2007. "Polycentrism or dispersion? An approach based on the New Urban Economics," INVESTIGACIONES REGIONALES - Journal of REGIONAL RESEARCH, Asociación Española de Ciencia Regional, issue 11, pages 25-43.
  • Handle: RePEc:ris:invreg:0124
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    Keywords

    Polycentrism; dispersion; subcentres; employment spatial structure;

    JEL classification:

    • R12 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics - - - Size and Spatial Distributions of Regional Economic Activity; Interregional Trade (economic geography)
    • R14 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics - - - Land Use Patterns

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