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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 tructures from different spatial patterns of jobs and resident population. The roposed urban centrality index constitutes an extension of the spatial separation index MIDELFART-KNARVIK et al., 2000). It is suggested that urban structure should e more accurately analyzed by considering a centrality scale (varying from extreme onocentricity to extreme polycentricity) rather than a binary variable (monocentric r polycentric). The proposed index controls for differences in size and shape of the eographic areas for which data is available, and can be calculated using different ariables, such as employment and population densities and trip generation rates. The roperties of the index are illustrated in simulated artificial data sets. Simulation results or hypothesized urban forms are compared to other similar measures proposed by revious literature. The index is then applied to the urban structure of four different etropolitan areas: Pittsburgh and Los Angeles in the United States; São Paulo, Brazil;and Paris, France, The index is compared to other traditional spatial agglomeration easures, 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 1675a.

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Length: 39 pages
Date of creation: Jan 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ipe:ipetds:1675a
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  1. David Levinson & Ajay Kumar, 1997. "Density and the Journey to Work," Working Papers 199701, University of Minnesota: Nexus Research Group.
  2. Anas, Alex & Arnott, Richard & Small, Kenneth A., 1997. "Urban Spatial Structure," University of California Transportation Center, Working Papers qt835049q3, University of California Transportation Center.
  3. repec:brs:ecchap:02 is not listed on IDEAS
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. Anderson, John E., 1982. "Cubic-spline urban-density functions," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 12(2), pages 155-167, September.
  7. Giuliano, Genevieve & Small, Kenneth A., 1991. "Subcenters in the Los Angeles region," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 21(2), pages 163-182, July.
  8. 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.
  9. McMillen, Daniel P., 2001. "Nonparametric Employment Subcenter Identification," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(3), pages 448-473, November.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. 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.
  14. 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.
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