Identification and Differentiation of Urban Centers in Phoenix Through a Multi-Criteria Kernel-Density Approach
Research concerning geographical centers of economic activity has sought to explain patterns of development and interaction in cities. This article presents a new method of defining intraurban centers within a spatial economic framework as a combination of both employment and establishment kernel-smoothed patterns. The method is applied in Phoenix, a postmodern metropolis that has grown by more than a factor of thirty between 1950 and 2005 and is one of the largest and fastest growing metropolitan areas in the United States. Centers are found to vary considerably in their sectoral composition and are grouped based on their focus of secondary, retail, or high-order emphasis. A conditional logit model is used to show how each center differentiates with regard to establishment size and sector as well as the importance of center characteristics.
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