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Redefiniendo ciudades


  • Francisco José Goerlich Gisbert

    (Instituto Valenciano de Investigaciones Económicas)

  • Isidro Cantarino Martí

    (Dpto. Ingeniería del Terreno)


This paper presents an exercise in the definition of cities from clear and explicit quantitative criteria. The city concept is linked to the local political level, so in this sense we can talk about “administrative cities”, since they are formed by one municipality, or a group of them that are physically contiguous. They are not pure population agglomerations satisfying certain criteria in terms of exceeding a threshold and/or a minimum density. We start from these urban agglomerations, called urban centers, but eventually we link them to municipalities. The main limitations of our analysis are two; on the one hand, our analysis is purely demographic, in the sense that it is the population concentration that eventually determines the number and extend of cities, other aspects such as land cover or the economic structure is absent from our analysis. On the other hand, the commuting has not been taken into account, given lack of data up to date information, and since our focus is more related to the urban core without taking into consideration functional relations. In this sense, our proposal is in line with the urban core concept, more than with the urban areas or larger urban zones that includes the urban core and its hinterland. Building urban centers and linking them to municipalities is accomplished by means of simple Geographical Information System operations (GIS). Este trabajo presenta un ejercicio de definición de ciudades a partir de unos criterios cuantitativos claros y explícitos. El concepto de ciudad se vincula a los centros de decisión a nivel local, es decir se trata de “ciudades administrativas” en el sentido de que están constituidas por un municipio o agrupación de municipios físicamente contiguos. No se trata de aglomeraciones puras de población, que satisfacen ciertos criterios de densidad y volumen mínimo, sino que, partiendo de estas aglomeraciones, a las que denominaremos centros urbanos, se las vincula a los municipios a partir de reglas prefijadas. Las limitaciones principales de nuestro trabajo son dos; por una parte el enfoque es únicamente demográfico, es decir es la concentración de población la que acaba determinando las ciudades, mientras que otros aspectos, como las coberturas del suelo y la estructura productiva quedan al margen. Por otra parte, la movilidad intra-día (commuting) no es considerad por falta de datos actualizados, y por centrarnos en un concepto no funcional de definición de ciudades. En este sentido, la propuesta de ciudades debe asociarse más con núcleos urbanos que con las grandes áreas urbanas que incluyen el núcleo urbano y su radio de influencia. La generación de centros urbanos, y la vinculación de estos con la definición de las ciudades se realizan mediante simples operaciones en el contexto de los Sistemas de Información Geográfica (SIG).

Suggested Citation

  • Francisco José Goerlich Gisbert & Isidro Cantarino Martí, 2013. "Redefiniendo ciudades," Working Papers. Serie EC 2013-06, Instituto Valenciano de Investigaciones Económicas, S.A. (Ivie).
  • Handle: RePEc:ivi:wpasec:2013-06

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Monica Brezzi & Lewis Dijkstra & Vicente Ruiz, 2011. "OECD Extended Regional Typology: The Economic Performance of Remote Rural Regions," OECD Regional Development Working Papers 2011/6, OECD Publishing.
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    More about this item


    Rejillas de población; núcleos urbanos; ciudades; demografía Population grids; urban areas; cities; demography;

    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
    • R52 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Regional Government Analysis - - - Land Use and Other Regulations

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