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Quantifying Urban Centrality: A Simple Index Proposal And International Comparison

  • Rafael Henrique Moraes Pereira
  • Vanessa Nadalin
  • Leonardo Monasterio
  • Pedro Henrique Melo Albuquerque

This study introduces a new measure of urban centrality. It identifies distinct urban structures from different spatial patterns of jobs and resident population. The proposed urban centrality index constitutes an extension of the spatial separation index (MIDELFART-KNARVIK et al., 2000). It is suggested that urban structure should be more accurately analyzed by considering a centrality scale (varying from extreme monocentricity to extreme polycentricity) rather than a binary variable (monocentric or polycentric). The proposed index controls for differences in size and shape of the geographic areas for which data is available, and can be calculated using different variables, such as employment and population densities and trip generation rates. The properties of the index are illustrated in simulated artificial data sets. Simulation results for hypothesized urban forms are compared to other similar measures proposed by previous literature. The index is then applied to the urban structure of four different metropolitan areas: Pittsburgh and Los Angeles in the United States; São Paulo, Brazil; and Paris, France, The index is compared to other traditional spatial agglomeration measures, such as global and local Moran`s I, and density gradient estimations.

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Paper provided by Instituto de Pesquisa Econômica Aplicada - IPEA in its series Discussion Papers with number 1675.

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Length: 39 pages
Date of creation: Jan 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ipe:ipetds:1675
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  1. 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.
  2. Daniel Griffith & David Wong, 2007. "Modeling population density across major US cities: a polycentric spatial regression approach," Journal of Geographical Systems, Springer, vol. 9(1), pages 53-75, April.
  3. H. Kelejian, Harry & Prucha, Ingmar R., 2001. "On the asymptotic distribution of the Moran I test statistic with applications," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 104(2), pages 219-257, September.
  4. 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.
  5. Tim Schwanen & Frans M. Dieleman & Martin Dijst, 2004. "The Impact of Metropolitan Structure on Commute Behavior in the Netherlands: A Multilevel Approach," Growth and Change, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 35(3), pages 304-333.
  6. Nicholas Crafts & Abay Mulatu, 2005. "What explains the location of industry in Britain, 1871–1931?," Journal of Economic Geography, Oxford University Press, vol. 5(4), pages 499-518, August.
  7. McMillen, Daniel P., 2001. "Nonparametric Employment Subcenter Identification," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(3), pages 448-473, November.
  8. Daniel P. McMillen, 2004. "Employment Densities, Spatial Autocorrelation, and Subcenters in Large Metropolitan Areas," Journal of Regional Science, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 44(2), pages 225-244.
  9. Anderson, John E., 1982. "Cubic-spline urban-density functions," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 12(2), pages 155-167, September.
  10. K.H. Midelfart & H.G. Overman & S.J. Redding & A.J. Venables, 2000. "The location of European industry," European Economy - Economic Papers 142, Directorate General Economic and Financial Affairs (DG ECFIN), European Commission.
  11. 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.
  12. Fujita, Masahisa & Ogawa, Hideaki, 1982. "Multiple equilibria and structural transition of non-monocentric urban configurations," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 12(2), pages 161-196, May.
  13. David Levinson & Ajay Kumar, 1997. "Density and the Journey to Work," Working Papers 199701, University of Minnesota: Nexus Research Group.
  14. repec:brs:ecchap:02 is not listed on IDEAS
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