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+ نوشته شده توسط محمد عبدیان در شنبه 22 فروردین1388 و ساعت 13:19 |

Helen Lawton-Smith.

Routledge (2006), 256pp, £80.00, ISBN: 9780415324939, ISBN-10: 0415324939.

Reviewed by Tim Vorley, University of Oxford.

Over the past twenty years universities have come to constitute an important focus of interdisciplinary research agendas, and so this book makes a timely contribution to these debate. By presenting empirical evidence from Europe and North America the book provides an overview of the changing geography of university-industry relations to understand the emergence of alternative academic paradigms. The book sets out its aim to ‘record the paradigm shifts articulated in policies that are a response to and further reinforce trends already taking place and in which universities are being repositioned in society’s expectations in relation to industry’ (p.4). Until comparatively recently universities were almost conspicuous by their absence from much social, economic and political discourse, but as the long history of collaboration between academia and industry is more explicitly brought to the fore it again warrants examination. As governments across the world have sought to realise the potential of higher education nationally, universities have become central to government policy frameworks to stimulate national, region and local economic growth. The territorial or geographical perspective which Lawton Smith assumes, while not privileged, provides a useful vantage point from which to examine the role and ability of universities to enhance prosperity through participating in the innovation process.

While there has been much work on university-industry-government relations, most notably by Leydesdorff and Etzkowitz, it is evident within the context of prevailing policy models that the role of the university is multiple, with a wide range of intended benefits to society. However, the focus of the book, as with the focus of much policy, is on the economic forms of university engagement and does not detail more intangible, sustainable and/or community forms of engagement except where they have an explicit economic dimension. More specifically in examining the complex dynamics between universities, innovation and economic development the book draws on a range of geography, economic and management literatures, as well as multiple forms of theory, data and methodologies. The structure to the book is two main sections. The first part is a contextual and conceptual discussion of universities, university-industry interaction and territoriality, while the second part is a wellbalanced comparative of Europe and North America, presented in the form of regional overviews and placed based studies which provide interesting illustrations.

The first chapter usefully draws together the histories of universities and territorial development that are currently prominent on political and academic agendas through eight paradigms which characterise the twenty-first century. The eight paradigms serve to provide a useful analytical framework for the book, identifying how universities are positioned in relation to the process of economic development. While the paradigms identified individually constitute an interesting approach, collectively they aptly articulate how universities have become more central to regimes of governance associated with the innovation process and economic development. The second chapter places geography; distinguishing between the forms and rationales of economic engagement by the university. With a focus on primarily science and engineering-based industries, the distinction is made between the co-presence of universities and economic activity, linkages which arise from proximity and those which stem from relationships in shaping geographical patterns of economic and innovative activity. While the book is in itself an overarching review of university transformation in an era defined by the knowledge-based economy, chapter 3 engages with the difficulties associated of metrics and measuring the impact of universities on economic development. Indeed Lawton Smith concludes that the significance of universities for (regional) economic development and innovative activity is overstated, and finds the scant data available can be selectively used to support a variety of arguments. In sum the first three chapters setup the remainder of the book by careful identifying the contemporary universities and situating it in relation to innovation and the knowledge-based economy.

The second section of the book advances the more generic and conceptual discussions through examples drawn from Europe and the United States. Universities and innovation systems constitute the focus of chapter 4 in a European context. Drawing on a range of European countries the implications of shifting EU innovation policy between the 1960s and 1990s were illustrated through the eight paradigms identified in chapter 1. The chapter concludes that policy is intrinsic to creating a more integrated European innovation system, or rather network of national innovation systems, capable competing with the US. Indeed Lawton Smith observes the new system(s) of governance to have seen universities repositioned in relation to the eight paradigms, and seen universities adopt a more instrumentalist position within society. Conversely chapter 5 presents an appraisal as to the evolution of national (innovation) policy in the US, which as in Europe emphasised the role of universities for economic development. However, it is, and historically has been the close relationship between and the shared interests of universities and industry which are a key source of the US’s comparative competitive advantage. Having outlined the policy context of both Europe and the US, chapter 6 identifies the contemporary universities role as an important source of highly skilled labour. A prerequisite of innovation and economic development are local/regional/national labour markets, yet they remain comparatively unacknowledged and under researched. Through the eight paradigms, the contribution of European and US universities to innovation (systems) and economic development is emphasised through understanding the supply, training and mobility of labour

The penultimate two chapters are case studies drawn from Europe and the US. Chapter 7 presents a case study of the twinned towns of Oxford, UK, and Grenoble, France, both of which are ranked second in their respective innovation systems. The case studies serve to illustrate how even within the European context the difference between national (and regional) innovation systems university engagement specific to regions and localities. Furthermore the case studies, through the eight paradigms, show the engagement in realising innovation and economic development to include actors beyond the university, although the university remains central to them. Chapter 8 is based around three case study universities; Stanford, Louisville and Princeton. All three assume different positions within the US national innovation system as well as their respective regional/state innovation systems. In the choice of the US case studies Lawton Smith aptly distinguishes between how universities are positioned within the different innovation systems, and apparently more so than in the European case studies. In both the US and European case studies there is a strong emphasis on the role of universities to contribute to, and deliver, economic development through different forms of innovative activity despite national and regional tensions and difficulties.

The conclusion is again structured around the eight paradigms which provide the framework for the book. Indeed the paradigms serve to provide a series of implicit, normative and positive assumptions from a number of stakeholders about the position of universities in relation to innovation and economic development. The book argues there to be a convergence between the relationships of universities and the economy through the eight paradigms and the collective governance of the state and key stakeholders. Indeed the paradigms serve to illustrate the complexity of the governance systems as well as the complex association between universities, the knowledge-based economy and economic development. Amidst these debates Lawton Smith also addresses a more long-term view about the newfound role of universities as engines of economic development in relation to the sustainability and quality of the research base. Despite these concerns the more generic conceptual discussion in the first part of the book and empirical case studies in the second part show both European and US universities to be driven by normative political agendas as well as being intrinsically territorial. Subsequently the principal themes identified within the book frame the distribution of power in terms of (national and regional) innovation systems, which encourage and promote reciprocity between universities and the economy.

The structure of the book, through the eight paradigms, provides an original and insightful account of the increasing engagement of universities with the (knowledgebased) economy and as a source of innovation. The combination of conceptual analysis and case studies across different scales and sectors makes the book a comprehensive contribution to what have become prominent interdisciplinary debates. Indeed Lawton Smith aptly identifies the dynamics of (national, regional and institutional) governance and policy as central to the increasing prominence of the ‘entrepreneurial university’, but as much for political as economic reasons. While the book focuses primarily on biotechnology and defence, it lays the foundation for further work on non high-tech sectors which constitute a majority of university/industrial engagement. Furthermore with the focus of much (political) policy, and academic research, on more specific and more immediately economic forms of university technology transfer and commercialisation, therein lies an opportunity to extend subsequent projects to include more generic and diverse forms of technology transfer and commercial engagement. In conclusion the book is well positioned in the Routledge studies in business organisations and networks series, offering a valuable contribution and essential reading to those interested in the role(s) of universities in the twenty-first century


+ نوشته شده توسط محمد عبدیان در پنجشنبه 20 فروردین1388 و ساعت 21:49 |

Regional Knowledge Economies Markets, Clusters and Innovation

Philip Cooke, Carla De Laurentis, Franz Todtling, Michaela Trippl

Edward Elgar, Cheltenham (2007), 336 pages, Hardback (£71.96), ISBN: 978 1 84542 529 6.

Reviewed by Dr. Atle Hauge, Post Doctoral Fellow, Department of Geography, University of Toronto, Canada.

Regional knowledge economies markets, clusters and innovation deals with one of the key questions in the contemporary debate in economic geography and regional development: do firms in agglomerations and/or clusters perform better or worse than similar firms not located in a cluster? The book’s origin is a comparative research project focusing on collective learning in the knowledge economy.

This book may appeal to academics and students in economic geography and others interested in regional development, innovation and industrial dynamics. It provides clear and comprehensible policy recommendations, and as such so it could be an interesting input for policymakers at local, regional and national levels. The book is set firmly in the leading discourse on firm and regional competitiveness, which sees knowledge as the key resource and thus learning is a crucial process. Together, they underlie all innovative activity. Hence, innovation is best understood as relational based actions. In addition, by using comparative analyses between UK and Austria it highlights different modes of industrial organisation and which policy tools might be used to support regional based economic activity. These two countries are presented as different varieties of capitalism; Austria close to a ‘coordinated market’ model and UK as representative of a ‘liberal market’. 

The book is divided in two parts. In the first, the theoretical framework is laid out. In the second, empirical evidence from the ICT and biotechnology industries is used to develop analytical case-studies. Together, the book seeks to explore and develop conceptual issues, both theoretically and empirically. Concepts such as ‘platform policy’, ‘knowledge economy’, ‘knowledge bases’, ‘related varieties’ are first discussed theoretically and then informs the empirical study.

The theoretical section explores some of the main concepts discussed in contemporary economic geography and related disciplines. It starts out with an engagement on the theory of ‘varieties of capitalism’, and how political and institutional frameworks affect innovation governance. It continues by presenting ideas on the knowledge economy, and the spatiality of knowledge production and diffusion. This chapter both presents conceptual issues and empirical evidence. The next section takes the reader through a discussion of the knowledge based sectors, presenting key drivers of innovation and how knowledge moves and transfers between different economic actors. This section engages in a discussion on different knowledge bases, namely synthetic, analytical and symbolic. The fourth chapter deals with a discussion of the local milieu’s role and the global nature of the contemporary economy. This chapter concludes that the region is the most relevant analytical level for innovation support, but that the national component should not be overlooked. The theoretical part of the book ends by highlighting variations among regional economies.

The empirical part of the book is divided between UK and Austria. The former is portrayed as a first mover towards the knowledge economy, whereas the latter is a “latecomer”. A similar set of data is used for a comparative analysis of ICT and Biotech in the two countries; they look at same two industries in two different nations. As such, the authors deserve credit for keeping the variables at a minimum. This makes the empirical findings comprehensible, and useful for comparison. The investigation is clear on the fact that institutional set up plays a role in how the economy performs. Interestingly, even though the two countries can be seen as different varies of capitalism, the analysis concludes that the clear cut distinctions might not be that relevant as the countries are moving towards each other. The book calls for a methodology that steps outside the rather rigid industrial sector distinctions common in economic geography. This is important both for researchers but also for policy representatives. The economy is best understood in systemic terms; as a system of different actors, their mutual relationships and how they form, and the socio-economic settings in which they operate. In addition there is a call for a contextual approach, which recognises the characteristics of the “regional knowledge ecosystem”.

One of the main contributions of the book is the unpacking of some of the theoretical discussions on regional industrial clusters. Much of the recent debate has focused on theoretical viewpoints. This book, on the other hand, uses empirical findings that inform the argument. The findings and assertions in this book give interesting depth and new insights to this debate. For example, the empirical data show that ICT and biotechnology firms have somewhat contrary motivations for location in clusters. For biotech firms, proximity to important research and development institutions is the main argument for cluster location. ICT, on the other hand, wants to be close to their customers. The different industries seek different sources for their knowledge bases.

The last section of the book comes with advice and recommendations for policymakers and academics working on analysis of regional development. The guidance rests heavily on arguments on ‘related varieties’ – economic activities and regions benefit from diverse economic landscape. However, the diversity cannot be totally random; some types of activities profit more from being close to each other. An innovation related regional growth strategy should rest upon a so-called ‘platform policy’. This is a policy that acknowledges the contextual varieties of firms and regions, and seeks to overcome rigid sectoral barriers.

In my opinion, the empirical part of the book is the strongest. Unfortunately, the theoretical chapter is not as solid and it does not add much insight to the current debates. There is a certain lack of flow in the discussion and the argument, and bridging the chapters could be improved. Some parts of the text seem unnecessarily complicated, and some of the central concepts are discussed multiple times in the text. The debate on the benefits of specialisation versus diversification is, for example, handled very similarly on pages 32 and 96. This is a shame, because many of these weaknesses could be avoided with firmer editing. The book would be more interesting and sound as whole if the theoretical framework had the same high standard as the empirical section.

However, this reviewer has no problem in recommending the book; the empirical findings offer valuable and very interesting contributions to the field.

(Added 11 February 2008


+ نوشته شده توسط محمد عبدیان در پنجشنبه 20 فروردین1388 و ساعت 21:48 |

Regional Competitiveness

Ron Martin, Michael Kitson and Peter Tyler (Editors)

Routledge: London (2006), 169 pages, Hardcover (£75), ISBN: 978-0415391900.

Reviewed by Andrew Johnston, Centre for Regional Economic and Enterprise Development, Management School, University of Sheffield.

The overall aim of the book is to tackle the complexity of regional competitiveness, an issue which the editors describe as ‘complex and contentious’. Indeed, the editors state that the book’s purpose is to address knowledge gaps with respect to regional competitiveness, an area which they admit a gap exists between understanding and analysis and policy developments, echoing Lovering’s (1999) criticism of regional studies in general. The material in the book is from a special issue of Regional Studies from December 2004 on regional competitiveness (Regional Studies, Vol 38, Issue 9), plus Michael Porter’s (2003) paper on the economic performance of regions. The papers provide a wide ranging view on regional competitiveness and cover issues ranging from defining the concept of regional competitiveness, examining competition and collaboration, productivity, the role of cities, differences in industrial performance across regions, regional development policy and clustering. Targeted at academics and postgraduate students, each paper appears as an unedited version of that which appeared in Regional Studies i.e. the volume is a hardback version of the special issue.

Each paper forms a chapter of this collection. Written by the co-editors the first of these provides a useful overview of the volume. This introductory chapter suggests that the notion of regional competitiveness may merely be a fad in that the concept is elusive, even flawed. This they argue has resulted in some spurious policymaking choices. It is for these reasons that they argue a framework for analysing regional competitiveness is urgently required. It is to this problem that the following chapters attempt address and in the process begin to construct a framework for understanding regional competitiveness.

Chapter 2 by Boschma highlights the temporal dimension by utilising the evolutionary approach to regional competitiveness. The main argument put forward is that the prosperity of firms is dependent on the intangible assets a region provides. Boschma argues that these assets are highly tacit, with regional economic development a path dependent process in that the present performance of a regional economy is determined to a large extent by previous performance.

Chapter 3 by Budd and Hermis then attempts to build a conceptual framework for regional competitiveness. They suggest that regional competitiveness is the outcome of a number of factors, including the competitive advantage of the firm, the comparative advantage of the economy and the X-efficiency of the region. In this case they state that X-efficiency represents the ability of regional actors to maximise the assets of the region.

In chapter 4, Polenske conceptualises regional competitiveness as a ‘3C’ triangle, comprised of competition, collaboration and cooperation. Here interaction and relationships are placed at the heart of regional competitiveness. Different models are conceptualised depending on whether a relationship exists between the points of the triangle, thus the Italian model is described as being based on competition and co-operation whereas the Japanese model is described as being based on competition and collaboration. Polenske argues that the relationships between the ‘3C’s’ differs across sectors and regions which alters the economic performance of regions. While no empirical evidence is presented the author does note that the model is inherently testable.

Following on from this, chapter 5 sees Gardiner et al suggest that productivity measures can be considered as revealed measures of competitiveness and, as a result, they seek to examine empirical evidence of productivity growth and convergence across European regions. Their main finding is evidence of neo-classical convergence between core and peripheral regions, although at a very slow pace. They suggest that this slow pace of convergence provides evidence that EU regional policies, designed to reduce such disparities, may not be effective in achieving its aims.

Turok then extends the focus on competitiveness to regions and cities in chapter 6. This chapter examines whether cities compete with one another and examines the positive and negative consequences of such competition. Turok then goes on to assess the contributions of factors such as agglomeration, social relationships and untraded interdependencies with respect to the city-region and competitive advantage. He also suggests that city-regions require evaluation as part of the wider economy rather than as free standing entities.

The focus of chapter 7 by Clark et al is on labour intensive industries in less competitive European regions, i.e. those regions designated as Objective 1 or Objective 2 regions under the EU’s regional development policy. The authors focus on the following industries: apparel, leather and footwear, electrical and electronic assembly and automotive components. Their results suggest that some effects (e.g. investment strategies and technology adoption) are determined by the location of the firm, others (e.g. labour costs and labour demand) are determined by the industry while some (e.g. the impact of investment on the workforce and competitive strategy) are influenced by both factors.

Chapter 8 by Malecki focuses on regional development policy and how competitiveness is based on transforming regional economies into knowledge-based economies. After a brief discussion of the nature of competition between places he goes on to discuss the ‘low’ and ‘high’ roads of regional competition, the ‘low’ road involving place marketing and attracting new firms and the ‘high’ road involving increasing levels of innovation and developing the knowledge economy.

The final chapter of the book is Porter’s chapter on the economic performance of regions. This chapter attempts to group industries into three types, traded, local and resource dependent and goes on to analyse their spatial distribution across the US. The distribution of the industries is then compared with economic performance in order to assess the contribution of each to the regional economy.

In conclusion, the material published within the volume makes a significant contribution to the field of regional competitiveness. Indirectly this book will have a large effect on the field of economic geography as these papers will be cited many times by scholars undertaking future work in this area. Yet, the diverse nature of the papers will also provoke debate as to the nature regional competitiveness. The material in this book does not provide a definitive answer or even a definitive analytical framework. Instead, the contributors all highlight the fact that there are a great many factors to consider and demonstrate that there is a great deal of work to be done before phrases such as ‘regional competitiveness’ can be used by academics and policymakers and clearly understood.

However, the main drawback of this book is its aesthetic quality. The formatting is exactly the same as the journal and very little effort appears to have gone into making the book appear to be anything other than a hardback version of the journal. Despite this, the book does contain the complete papers as they were published, therefore the reader can be sure they are reading the full draft. Other edited volumes have in the past presented shortened versions of papers which can result in the various nuances of the work being lost but this is not a problem here. However, anyone with access to the Regional Studies journalcould save £70 and download these papers for free rather than buy the book.

Having criticised the style of this book wish to make it clear that I do not mean to discourage anyone from reading this material; you will not find a better collection of observations on regional economic growth. I recommend that anyone interested in this area to consult the contents of this book as a starting point as you will not go far wrong. I would especially recommend that any first year PhD students undertaking research in this area read this book to understand the broad ideas behind regional competitiveness as well as accessing a wealth of relevant references cited by the authors.

One caveat on these comments is that this recommendation applies only if you are an academic or postgraduate student undertaking research in the area of regional competitiveness or regional economic development. This volume does not offer a user friendly introduction to the area for the uninitiated, which is a major disappointment. Had this been transformed into a text book and the ideas presented in a less overtly ‘academic’ manner then it could have become an essential reader for any course in regional economic development, regardless of the audience.


Lovering, J. 1999. Theory led by policy: The inadequacies of the 'new regionalism' (illustrated from the case of Wales). International Journal of Urban and Regional Research 23(4): 379-395.

Porter, M. 2003. The economic performance of regions. Regional Studies 37(6-7): 549-578

(Added 29 May 2008)

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+ نوشته شده توسط محمد عبدیان در پنجشنبه 20 فروردین1388 و ساعت 21:47 |

New Directions in Economic Geography

Bernard Fingleton (Editor)

Edward Elgar, Cheltenham (2007), 384pp, £75.00 (hbk), ISBN 978-184542373-5.

Reviewed by Frank van Oort,Urban Economics and Spatial Planning, Utrecht University, The Netherlands.

This volume discusses recent new directions in geographical economic research. It tries to bridge the disciplines of economics and geography. It offers good overviews of core concepts in a series of sub disciplines, ranging from the New Economic Geography (NEG), urban economics, transport economics, complexity theory and international economics and FDI. It is critical on theoretical and empirical achievements in geographical economics so far. It presents future new directions for geographical economic research. Three general impressions of the book remain after reading: first, that this is a good and genuine attempt to cover all these sub disciplines aspects in a common spatial-economic framework (namely that of geographical economics), second, that theorizing and empirical research are still miles apart and that much work remains to be done on all possible aspects, and third, that this is worthwhile doing. A very interesting volume indeed, recommended reading for everyone interested in theorizing space in economics or working in the empirical spatial-economic research arena.

The book takes the New Economic Geography (better labeled geographical economics) as a starting and reference point. This body of theory is first and foremost an outcome of the creative imagination of economists and not geographers, and is rooted in international trade theory. Summarizing its history, it is clear that prior to the development of new trade theory, traditional international trade theory was largely unable to explain either intra-industry, intra-national or intra-regional regional trade. At the same time, gravity models suggested that most trade tended to be localized. The development of new trade theory based on the Dixit-Stiglitz (1977) modeling framework, subsequently lead to renewed interest in both localized and intra-industry trade. These developments in international trade theory in turn lead to a renewed modeling interest in spatial economics in the form of New Economic Geography, and regional economics as a whole subsequently experienced a resurgence via a combination of the developments in both New Economic Geography and also New Growth theories.  It is important to notice that both New Growth theory and New Trade theory predate New Economic Geography. In both of these strands of literature the dominant analytical approach is the modeling of imperfect competition and increasing returns to scale within the monopolistic competition framework of Dixit and Stiglitz, in which utility is a function of variety. New trade theories now allowed for the modeling of trade flows within a general equilibrium framework in which the structure of demand and supply is endogenously determined. Krugman (1991) first applied this modeling framework to the question of geography under conditions of economies of scale and labor mobility, and reinterpreted Marshall’s famous principles of externalities as stemming from the benefits of the pooling of the local labor supply and the demand for specialized non-tradable inputs. In these models, spatial concentration and dispersion were seen to emerge as a natural consequence of market interactions involving economies of scale at the level of the individual firm, with many of the results generated by these models being reminiscent of the results of central place theory and the rank-size rule (Fujita et al. 1999). The cumulative causation characteristics of these models is in many ways akin to the processes described amongst others by Pred (1977) and in this respect the Krugman-Fujita-Venables work builds on most of the standard location theory (McCann and Van Oort 2008). These types of arguments therefore provide some additional possible explanations for systematic variations in competitive advantage across regions and why it is that certain regions are able to maintain and even reinforce their advantages over other regions, once certain locations have taken a lead in a particular activity.

Neary (2001) and Martin (1999) formulated serious criticisms, stressing that theory and empirics of the New Economic Geography are both underdeveloped, let alone that they are connected. The chapters in the book all witness this; the contributions all highlight important pitfalls, and can be seen as a constructive critique on the New Economic Geography. The editor, Bernard Fingleton, in an earlier paper in Environment and Planning A in 2000 already formulated that this work is to bridge economics with geography and theory with empirics – and thus to find a ‘third way’ of reasoning in-between the two disciplines. Where this ‘third way’ parts company with what remains of traditional New Economic Geography is the emphasis it gives to realism – in other words, important real-life outcomes, structures and processes are “not assumed away because they get in the way of formal modeling, but are incorporated because at the end of the day theory is about explaining reality, and is somewhat sterile and fairly useless when treated as an end in itself” (p.2-3).

The chapters are written by economists with an open mind for economic geography. Some chapters bring the empirical limitations of NEG-models explicitly to the fore. A simple simulation model based on New Economic Geography – although partial and incomplete - is able to replicate reality in wage levels in the UK, but the conditions for agglomeration appear to be crucial in Bernard Fingleton’s analysis in the first chapter. He also tests NEG-theory against the competing theory derived from urban economics in the third chapter. The principal finding is that NEG is no better than urban economic theory as a predictor of wage variations across European regions. Gianmarco Ottaviano compares two NEG-models – one based on factor mobility and one on vertical linkages – and he concludes that they lead to the same key predictions. This then leads to the recommendation that the two theories somehow should be joined. In the chapter by Steven Brakman and Harry Garretsen, a test is carried out whether NEG-models are able to predict break points in economic integration for policy purposes. Their confrontations of NEG empirics with NEG theory points to serious limitations of current NEG research. And although, as mentioned above as well as in the chapter by Mark Roberts and others on productivity growth, the New Economic Geography in itself is no growth theory (but rather a static-comparison model), Fabio Cerina and Francesco Pigliaru clearly show that development trajectories in NEG-models crucially depend on very restrictive values of some parameters in their model. The chapter by Bernard Fingleton and Phil McCann questions the assumption of iceberg transport costs in NEG modeling. They convincingly argue that these are unrealistic, in the sense that they do not allow for any economies of distance and of the scale in the transportation of goods and information, as is shown to be the case in the growing empirical literatures on the geography of innovation (Acs 2002) and on spatial econometrics, in which the definition on distance and network weight matrices is the most crucial element in modeling (Anselin, Florax and Say 2004). The chapter by John Dewhurst and Phil McCann touches upon the modifiable areal unit problem (MAUP), a much neglected aspect in spatial economic modeling. From the early 1990s onwards, urban economists and NEG-modellers have shown an increasing interest in agglomeration externalities that endogenously induce localized economic growth. This development can mainly be ascribed to the failure of orthodox economics to give appropriate explanations for the variation in the wealth and poverty of cities and regions. Many geographers and economists claim to be part of this ‘new geographical turn in economics’ (Martin 1999), but one of the main criticisms on the empirical literature on agglomeration is that it pays little attention to the spatial configuration of cities and regions and the geographical scale of agglomeration benefits. Although every research on the benefits of agglomeration starts off with the notion that ‘space matters’, it is strangely enough the same ‘space’ that is inadequately dealt with in most formal mathematical models. More explicit indictments take in that most urban economic studies on agglomeration ‘are space neutral’ (Van Oort 2004: 7), ‘implicitly model cities as a club’ (Rosenthal and Strange 2003: 377), and, above all, insinuate that ‘similar rules apply at all spatial scales’ (Overman 2004: 513). We can distinguish between three major analytical issues to which the present empirical literature on agglomeration pays insufficiently attention: spatial dependence, spatial heterogeneity and the MAUP. Although a growing body of literature proves that spatial dependence and heterogeneity can be dealt with by means of spatial econometric techniques (Anselin et al 2004), little is known about the scale sensitivity of research results for variations in the initial unit of spatial analysis. Despite repeated warnings of the potential influence of spatial composition and aggregation effects in the related geographical literature (e.g. Wrigley 1995), the spatial economic modeling tradition on agglomeration externalities has not taken up this issue seriously. Dewhurst and McCann show that empirical research (in their case on the relation between specialization and urban hierarchy, in which smaller cities in the UK tend to be more specialized) indeed is dependent on the initial scale of analysis. It must be said that this does not comprise a full treatment of the MAUP, since that consists besides scale effects also of zoning and gerrymandering effects, and hence more research on this is needed. A solution to these problems can be the focus on micro-level firm data (Arbia 2001), a suggestion in different contexts also made by Anna Soci in her chapter on FDI-investments in regions and by Paul Plummer and Eric Sheppard in their plea for complex spatio-temporal dynamics of firms. The latter chapter also gives a intriguing conceptual account of complexity theory in a spatial context. Finally, the contribution by Alessio D’Ignzaio and Emanuele Giovannetti focus on the spatial effects of ICT, and conclude that proximities (either physical or network related) still play a role in the behavior of internet providers, and Andres Rodriguez-Posse and Ugo Fratesi show that the returns of European structural policies contribute – unintended - to regional economic divergence and greater economic agglomeration.

The recommendations for further research in the chapters merge with the two main questions that arise from urban economic theory (Cheshire and Duranton 2004, Henderson and Thisse 2004). The first asks what the micro-foundations of agglomeration economies are, and whether insight in this question will provide useful building blocks for further modeling and theorizing. The second asks who benefits from agglomeration economies, and to what extent. Rosenthal and Strange (2004) review a large number of studies that use cross-section data on cities (typically but not exclusively in the US) to relate productivity to city size. Findings vary according to the extent to which researchers are able to control for the quality of inputs – capital stock and the skill of the labor force – and typically yield the result that doubling city size increases productivity by an amount in the range 3- 8%, i.e. an elasticity of productivity with respect to city size of between 0.04 and 0.11. Is this the true figure? Who benefits from it? Which industries, types of firms, in which regions? This is essential information for our understanding of urban economic and NEG-theories. The chapters in the book themselves do not provide the answers. As the back of the dust jacket rightly states, the volume can to some extent be regarded as part of the inevitable creative destruction of NEG theory. But as long as we are looking for answers, the theoretical and empirical criticism in the volume is constructive and needed more.


Acs, Z.J. (2002), Innovation and the growth of cities, Cheltenham: Edward Elgar.

Anselin, L., R.J.G.M. Florax and S.J. rey (2004), Advances in spatial econometrics. Heidelberg: Springer Verlag.

Arbia, G. (2001), Modelling the geography of economic activities on a continuous space, Papers in Regional Science, 80: 411-424.

Cheshire, P. and G. Duranton (2004), Recent developments in urban and regional economics. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar.

Dixit, A.K. and J.E. Stiglitz (1977), ‘Monopolistic competition and optimum product diversity’. The American Economic Review, 67, pp. 297-308.

Fingleton, B. (2000), ‘Spatial econometrics, economic geography, dynamics and equilibrium: a third way?’. Environment & Planning A 32, pp. 1481-98.

Krugman, P.R. (1991), ‘Increasing returns and economic geography’. Journal of Political Economy 99, pp. 483-499.

Martin, R. (1999), ‘The new “geographical turn” in economics: some critical reflections. Cambridge Journal of Economics 23, pp. 65-91.

McCann, P. & F.G. van Oort (2008), ‘Theories of agglomeration and regional economic growth. A historical perspective’. In: R. Capello & P.

Nijkamp (eds.), Regional dynamics and growth: advances in regional economics. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar (forthcoming).

Neary, J.P. (2001), ‘Of hype and hyperbolas: introducing the new economic geography’. Journal of Economic Literature 39, pp. 536-561.

Overman, H.G. (2004), Can we learn anything from economic geography proper?, Journal of Economic Geography, 4: 501-516.

Pred, A. (1977), City systems in advanced economies. Past growth, present processes and future development options. London: Hutchinson.

Rosenthal, S.S., Strange, W.C. (2003), ‘Geography, industrial organization, and agglomeration’, The Review of Economics and Statistics, 85: 377-393.

Rosenthal, S.S. and Strange, W.C. (2004), ‘Evidence on the nature and sources of agglomeration economies’. In Henderson, J.V., Thisse, J.F. (eds), Handbook of Regional and Urban Economics: Cities and Geography, Volume 4. Amsterdam: North Holland, pp. 2119-2179.

Van Oort, F.G. (2004), Urban growth and


+ نوشته شده توسط محمد عبدیان در پنجشنبه 20 فروردین1388 و ساعت 21:46 |

Saskia Sassen (Editor)

New York: Routledge (2007), 366 pages. Paperback (£22.99) ISBN: 0415957338.

Reviewed by Henry Wai-chung Yeung, National University of Singapore.

For at least over a decade now, the heated debate on globalization has been mapped onto complex rescaling processes in urban and regional territories. Human geography is clearly at the frontier of such mapping exercise. But its allies in urban and political sociology are equally important in this “scalar turn” in the social theorization of globalization and its manifold outcomes. In this volume brought together by one of the world’s foremost urban sociologists, the celebration of key concepts in geography such as scales and spaces is clearly evident and welcome. Indeed, Saskia Sassen explicitly noted in her introductory chapter that “Two disciplines more than any others have contributed significantly to the study of the global as it gets constituted subnationally. They are geography and anthropology, specifically, particular branches of each. Economic and political geography have done so especially through a critical development of scale and scaling. This work recognizes the historicity of scales and thus resists the reification and naturalization of the national scale as present in most of social science” (p.4). How else should we not endorse such a friendly overture by our intellectual allies?

This collective volume is indeed very much a collective and yet laudable effort that seeks to bring together diverse theoretically grounded empirical studies conducted by some sixteen graduate students at Chicago spanning almost one decade. The one common thread amongst these dissertations and their post-doctoral refinement is that each of them is concerned not so much with the grand claims of globalization theorists. Rather, they are interested in unpacking what it means to be global and how “global” processes are constituted at different scales, in diverse spaces, and through variegated subjects. This strong central theme of the book is undoubtedly its core competence, as all chapters have a common theoretical focus on examining the global via its local constitution and formations. Their collective argument leads to a reframing of the global as neither necessarily the only privileged scale of action nor an anti-thesis of the nation-state. To them, the global is expressed in the complex interwoven scaling of processes beyond a single scale, be it global, national, subnational, or local.

I particularly like this translocal approach to the study of globalization and its variegated outcomes for two important reasons. First, the book conveys a sense of a relational approach that constantly interrogates different scalar relations, from the global to the regional, the national, and the local. This relational approach connects very well with the kind of relational economic geography since Doreen Massey’s call for a relational thinking in human geography during the late 1990s. Second, the collection offers an explicit recognition of the multiscalarity approach to globalization, an approach equally well recognized in recent work in economic and political geography. While none of the authors is a geographer, their appreciation of cutting-edge geographical studies is unusual and highly welcome. Indeed, most chapters have referenced major contributions by geographers to the debates on scales, networks, and globalization.

More specifically, the book is organized into three parts. After Sassen’s excellent introduction that lays down the project’s intellectual foundation, each part presents some five to six chapters each of which deals with solid empirical case materials mostly drawn from detail ethnographic work over many years. In Part 1, five authors offer a refreshing re-reading of the global via microspaces in different localities as diverse as bohemian neighbourhoods in Chicago, public concerts in Los Angeles, the Old Havana in Cuba, religious centres in Russia, and slums in Sao Paulo. These different stories point to the complex scaling of global microspaces that crosscut different territories and social formations. In Part 2, another five authors further extend these scalings to notions of translocal circuits and their mobilities through diverse empirical investigations into social movements in the US, global nomadism, transnational expatriation in Nepal and Japan, and localized transformation of the London Gold Fix. These chapters bring to the forefront critical dynamics of globalization through circuits of flows and mobilities of their key subjects. In the final part, another six chapters focus more specifically on the political in globalization. These authors draw upon diverse examples in such shifting spaces and subjects as translocal Sudanese politics in London, Chicago’s ghetto cosmopolitanism, extra-state legal policing in coffee-growing regions in Mexico, human rights in Israel, documentary citizenships in Malaysia, and sovereign debt restructuring in developing countries.

With such richness in empirical materials driven by a central analytical concern, one will expect a thorough integration of theory and evidence. Still, some of the chapters may be overtly descriptive, focusing too much on the detail “stories” and losing sight of some of the generality of their arguments. This perhaps reflects an ethnographic approach to writing and presentation commonly found in anthropology. Another minor quibble I have is that the book, for its size and diversity, includes virtually no graphics at all. I can literally find only three tables and one photo in three different chapters. As a geographer, I often found it hard to follow the excessively detail descriptions of particular places and spaces that were not indicated in maps.

Notwithstanding these minor defects, the collection has certainly succeeded in its core mission in deciphering the global to the extent that we are confronted with diverse examples of how the global is constituted well beyond the national and its naturalized territorial spaces. Given the common origin of the authors in the Chicago school, there is a good deal of complementarity and consistency among most chapters. This is not surprising as many authors attended the same series of workshops organized by Saskia Sassen, Arjun Appadurai, and Neil Brenner. The book appeals very much to graduate students who may often wonder how grand theories about globalization can be “operationalized” in their own doctoral studies; this book has at least a dozen well done examples! Academic geographers will also find much fun reading these diverse articulations of translocal processes at a variety of spatial scales.

(Added 02 July 2008


+ نوشته شده توسط محمد عبدیان در پنجشنبه 20 فروردین1388 و ساعت 21:45 |

Cities in a World Economy

Third Edition
(Sociology for a New Century series)

Saskia Sassen

Thousand Oaks: Pine Forge Press (2006), 269 pages. Paperback (£20.99), ISBN: 1-4129-3680-2.

Reviewed by Corinne Nativel, University of Franche-Comté, Besançon, France.

Since the publication of her internationally acclaimed book, the Global City (Princeton University Press, 1991), Saskia Sassen has pursued an increasingly sophisticated research agenda, deepening and refining her vision of globalisation’s impact on the economic and social structure of contemporary cities. Cities in a World Economy is a good illustration of this evolution. The original version of this textbook for advanced undergraduate and graduate courses in urban studies was published in 1994, followed by a second edition in 2000. The latest version of the book is now divided in eight chapters of around 20 pages, each packed with a wealth of illustrations and tables. In this third edition, the data is thoroughly updated up to 2005, while new concepts are also added.

In the past, Sassen’s work was sometimes criticised for overlooking the articulations and flows that connect global cities. The book clearly incorporates this dimension when it argues that next to the sharp concentration of wealth and widening inequalities, the formation of global cities networks and circuits can be regarded as key new patterns. Referring to the work of Peter Taylor on the global cities system, for example, Sassen suggests that “if we accept that they basically compete with each other for global business, then they do not constitute a transnational system. Studying several global cities then falls into the category of traditional comparative analysis. If, however, we posit that in addition to competing with each other, global cities are also the sites for transnational processes with multiple locations (Taylor, 2004) then we begin to explore the possibility of a systemic dynamic binding these cities” (p.68-70).

The first chapter provides an introductory discussion into how, since the 1980s, major transformations in the composition of the world economy, and in particular the growing significance of advanced producer services (legal, accounting, insurance, etc.), have renewed the importance of major cities as sites for producing global strategic inputs. The chapter argues that the forty or so cities that currently qualify as ‘global cities’ fulfil three major functions. They are command and control centres for the organisation of the world economy, key locations and marketplaces for finance and specialised services, and also major sites of production, including the production of innovation. The chapter stresses that global cities cannot be treated as single entities and that their social and cultural determinants must be taken into account to understand their economic trajectories.

The major aim of the book, then, is to provide conceptual and empirical flesh to this central thesis. The second chapter explores the geography, composition and institutional framework of the global economy to illuminate implications for cities. The shifting role among major cities and the emergence of a new urban system in which cities are crucial nodes for the international coordination and servicing of firms is the subject of Chapter 3. Europe’s ‘balanced urban system’ is contrasted to the ‘primate urban system’ (i.e. inordinate concentrations of populations and major economic activities in one city) that prevails in Latin America and the Caribbean. The chapter then concentrates on transnational urban systems, the emergence of which forces social scientists to reconsider their heavily nation-state centred conceptual apparatus. In the cultural and politico-social spheres, for instance, transnational urban linkages include diasporic and antiglobalization networks, and international women’s agendas. In the economic sphere, the activities of transnational firms and banks are highlighted, drawing on findings from the Globalization and World Cities Study Group or GaWC.

The three following chapters examine the emergence of the new urban economy based on finance and advanced producer services as shown by world and U.S. city rankings of the top largest financial and insurance companies’ assets. These services are characterised by a sharp concentration of activities in downtown areas (Manhattan, etc.) and a tendency towards hierarchy and specialization. However, Sassen warns that nearby manufacturing activities continue to play a decisive role and that some of these specialised services may be aimed at the national economy and not at world markets, as e.g. medical and health services in Washington. Attention to export markets is thus crucial. The conditions under which global cities functions materialise are analysed through case studies of Miami, Toronto and Sydney which are carefully chosen for their contrasting historical backgrounds. Additionally, urban workforce restructuring and earnings inequalities are discussed, mainly through empirical data from the United States.

I particularly enjoyed Chapter 7 on “Global Cities and Global Survival Circuits” which represents a fruitful addition to the previous editions. This new chapter shows how the highly gendered and unequal nature of the global city forces migrant female workers from the Global South into occupations as maids, nannies, nurses and sex workers. The international migration and trafficking of women for jobs in the first world is rarely explicitly analysed in relation to global cities, despite the fact that these are the sites for the production and reproduction of such activities. The chapter’s leitmotiv is that the consumption practices of high-income dual household professionals generate a demand for low-wage workers and that the latter consequently become “incorporated in the leading sectors but under conditions that render them invisible” (page 178; page 191). It is true that reliable data on migration and human trafficking is notoriously difficult to obtain but some references to existing estimations such as those offered by the Global Alliance Against Traffic in Women (GAATW) amongst others, could have strengthened the chapter’s arguments. Additionally, if we allow ourselves to take a brief step aside of science, we may find worth noting that the enslavement of migrant working women in the contemporary global city happens to be the subject of two important films released in 2007. And cinema often illuminates social issues in much more powerful ways than does any academic publication… “It’s a Free World” by British filmmaker Ken Loach screens the harsh living and working conditions of exploited migrant workers in East London, while “the Nanny Diaries” written and directed by Shari Springer Berman and Robert Pulcini depicts how unscrupulous rich women from Manhattan’s Upper East Side treat their children’s migrant nannies.

Cities in a World Economy ends on the notion of ‘peripheralization at the core’, fulfilling its stated aim which was to show not only how cities have become of strategic importance to globalisation, but also how they are capable of producing global control and ‘superprofits’, relying on the presence of many devalorized sectors of the urban economy.

A review of the second edition of Cities in a World Economy (Coaffee, 2002) found that “overall this book succeeds in widening debates about the nature of globalization – moving away from the all-too-familiar American-centred concept that prevails in many contemporary accounts – by introducing the reader to other areas of the globe that are affected, albeit differently”. I concur with these comments although my feeling is that some major global cities of those ‘other parts of the globe’ remain overlooked. The book would gain from including a case study of China, with a focus on Shanghai since this city now plays a key role in global city networks. In addition, even if not primarily the outcome of advanced producer services, the spectacular rise of global cities such as Dubai and Abu Dhabi in the Arab Gulf and their role in the post-oil economy would no doubt deserve more attention. Perhaps in a fourth edition (logically due in 2012)? In any case, this extremely dense and rigorous text has a solid framework to build on; it could very easily evolve to include new chapters and updated data without having to be rewritten.

In sum, my feeling is that this key text on cities will mature in tandem with developments that the world economy will continue to witness. There is no doubt that it will remain an essential reference item on economic geography and urban sociology reading lists. 


Coaffee, J. (2002) Book review of Saskia Sassen’s “Cities in a World Economy” (Second edition) International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, vol.26, no.2, p. 426-427.

Taylor, P. (2004) World City Network: A Global Urban Analysis, New York: Routledge.


+ نوشته شده توسط محمد عبدیان در پنجشنبه 20 فروردین1388 و ساعت 21:44 |

Land Use Policy 26 (2009) 792–798

Contents lists available at ScienceDirect

Land Use Policy

journal homepage: www.elsevier.com/locate/landusepol

Attitudes towards compact city living: Towards a greater understanding of

residential behaviour

Peter Howley

Rural Economy Research Centre (RERC), Teagasc, Athenry, Co. Galway, Republic of Ireland

a r t i c l e i n f o

Article history:

Received 11 April 2008

Received in revised form 30 July 2008

Accepted 13 October 2008


Compact city policy

Residential mobility

a b s t r a c t

Policy prescription in most Western societies has increasingly favoured urban intensification policies in

order to ensure a more sustainable development pattern. In particular, it is now widely felt that residential

decisions concerning where to live profoundly affect, among other things, environmental pollution,

resource use and land and habitat loss. Using the central area of Dublin city as a case study, this paper

focuses specifically on garnering a better understanding of the residential behaviour of residents who

have moved into new relatively high-density residential environments. This is a group who have made

the choice to move into a relatively high-density urban area and hence it will be revealing to assess

the motives, preferences and future intentions of this residential population. Findings suggest that the

ultimate residential preference of the majority of residents in these areas is for lower density locations

which call into question the long term success of urban intensification efforts. Results from a logit model

of residential mobility indicate that stage in their life cycle, satisfaction with both the dwelling and the

neighbourhood emerge as significant predictors of respondents intended future mobility patterns.

© 2008 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


Recent years have witnessed an increasing emphasis placed on

planning systems in most advanced capitalist societies to develop

a more sustainable development pattern, resulting in policies to

increase residential densities. It is now widely felt that residential

decisions concerning where to live profoundly affect, among other

things, environmental pollution, resource use and land and habitat

loss (Gillham, 2002; Haughton and Hunter, 2003). Much of the

focus of interest in sustainable cities, for instance, relates to the

apparently relentless increase in the demand for car travel and the

contribution that higher residential densities can make in reducing

the negative environmental impacts associated with car dependency

(Newman and Kenworthy, 1989; Banister, 1997; Banister et

al., 1997). The empirical evidence underpinning compact city policy

is, however, mixed and often contradictory (see Neuman, 2005

for a recent review). That said, despite conflicting views, European,

national and local policy and discussion documents have increasingly

advocated a high-density mixed-use urban form as a means

to ensuring amore sustainable development pattern. As evident by

rapidly sprawling development patterns, however, individual residential

preferences appear to be at variance with this policy agenda.

Tel.: +353 091 845 295.

E-mail address: peter.howley@teagasc.ie.

In light of these residential preferences many commentators now

question whether the process of urban sprawl can be reversed

(Breheny, 1992, 1995, 1997; Heath, 2001; Senior et al., 2004). Specifically,

Breheny (1997) has suggested that the compaction case can

be subjected to three types of tests: veracity, feasibility and acceptability.

He argues that the acceptability of urban compaction to

the public is the most neglected test of the three, yet it may be

the point on which the whole issue turns (Breheny, 1997). Breheny

describes how people have voted with their feet and as such, residential

preferences are substantially out of alignment with recent

policy objectives which emphasis the need for urban compaction.

Williams et al. (1996) emphasise the importance of public acceptability

and attractiveness in building more compact urban areas.

They contend that it is essential that firstly, urban intensification

brings about some of the advantages put forward in the compact

city debate, such as better services and facilities, better public

transport, and a more vibrant cultural life and secondly, that these

benefits are not outweighed by the negative impacts of compact

city living such as congestion and overcrowding.

Despite the prevalent trend towards urban sprawl, many cities

in recent times (as a result of increasing policy emphasis towards

higher residential densities) have attracted large numbers of residents

back into the urban core. Questions remain, however, relating

to the long term viability and stability of these newresidential environments.

As McEldowney et al. (2005) assert, urban planners and

designers must demonstrate to residents that high-density areas

0264-8377/$ –


P. Howley / Land Use Policy 26 (2009) 792–798 793

can be an attractive residential location throughout all stages of

their life cycle. This study focuses specifically on garnering a better

understanding of the residential preferences and behaviour of

residents who have moved into new (built since 1996) relatively

high-density apartment developments in the central area of Dublin

city. This is a group who have made the choice to move into a relatively

compact urban area and hence it will be revealing to assess

the motives, preferences and future intentions of this residential

population. Firstly, this paper by way of context will analyse and

discuss the various explanatory factors put forward by urban theorists

to explain sprawling development patterns evident in the

majority of major urban areas within western societies. Secondly,

this paper will discuss the recent repopulation of many inner city

areas. Thirdly, this paper using results froma household survey will

provide an analysis of the residential preferences and aspirations

of residents in new relatively compact urban environments in the

central area of Dublin city. Finally, this paper will conclude with a

discussion of its major findings and implications for urban policy.

Residential mobility

For the purposes of this paper, it is appropriate to distinguish

between residential mobility and residential migration as well

as between involuntary and voluntary moves. Firstly, residential

mobility is defined as intra-urban moves i.e. relatively short distance

moves within the same region. On the other hand, migration

involves a shift from one labour market to another and hence constitutes

a move from one region to another. There is usually quite

a different set of factors behind residential mobility and migration.

More often than not, employment considerations lie behind

migration decisions whereas as will be described later a variety

of factors such as household and quality of life issues usually lie

behind residential mobility. This paper will focus on residential

mobility which as described by Pacione (2001) accounts for the

vast majority of moves made by individuals within advanced capitalist

societies. Secondly, it is important to distinguish between

voluntary and involuntary moves as involuntary moves account

for a significant proportion of the total number of moves made

by urban residents. In Rossi’s classic study on residential mobility

in the Philadelphia region, discussed later, he demonstrated

that almost a quarter of moves were involuntary including demolition

or change of use of housing properties or eviction of tenants

(Rossi, 1955). Knox and Pinch (2006) describe additional categories

of forced moves, typically arising from the formation and dissolution

of households, through marriage, divorce, death, ill health or

retirement. This paper will focus on explaining the underlying factors

behind voluntary moves as they account for the vast majority

of moves made by individuals and in addition offer the most scope

for policy prescription.

Factors behind urban sprawl

Emerging from the economics literature as a central explanation

for urban sprawl is the monocentric urban model. This model

was developed initially in the 1960s by Alonso (1964), Mills (1967)

and Muth (1969). It has proven to be a useful and popular model as

it provides a framework for empirically measuring and comparing

the degree of centralisation across cities and time periods (Mills and

Lubuele, 1997; Anas et al., 1998, 2000). The key observation from

this model is that “commuting cost differences within an urban

area must be balanced by differences in the price of living space”

(Brueckner, 1987, p. 822). In this model, households located centrally

are the most expensive and therefore individuals live in small

housing units. Consequently, the highest residential densities are

typically found in central areas of the city. Households that live further

from the central area of the city entail higher commuting costs

but are awarded by lower housing costs. The central premise of this

model is that if either incomes rise or transport costs drop then residential

densities will fall as individuals will move further from the

central city.

While economic factors such as rising incomes and falling transport

costs undoubtedly have a role in explaining decentralisation

trends, it would seem likely that increasingly suburbanisation can

be explained in terms of perceived differences in quality of life

between relatively high-density urban areas and lower density

locations outside the city. The movement of people from relatively

built up urban areas to lower density areas is often described as

the flight from blight phenomenon (Mieszkowski and Mills, 1993;

Gaffikin and Morrissey, 1999). Problems such as crime, congestion

and pollution all of which are more prevalent in central cities than

elsewhere, serve to induce central city residents to migrate to the

suburbs. In the past, individuals were often faced with the choice

between an attractive social and natural environment on the one

hand, and economic well-being on the other and therefore, for the

most part, people were constrained to living in cities (Dillman,

1979). Improvements in transport and technology, however, have

minimised perceived distances, allowing the home and workplace

to be more distantly located from each other (Barcus, 2004). Hence,

individuals are now both willing and able to commute long distances

for both employment and facilities in order to satisfy their

residential preferences for what they perceive to be lower density

locations that offer a higher quality of life.

The role of the changing spatial distribution of employment

opportunities is seen as one further significant factor behind urban

sprawl. The outward shift of industries to more peripheral areas is

as a result of changing comparative costs which now increasingly

favour non-central locations (Pacione, 1990). The relative cost of

locating in the outskirts of central areas has fallen for a number

of reasons such as: technological innovation; international competition;

physical plant obsolescence; escalating local production

costs; growth of industries which require a high land to output

ratio; reduction in transportation and communication costs; and

shifting consumption patterns (Cross, 1990; Pacione, 1990). Furthermore,

with modern methods of communication, the need for

face-to-face communication is not as important nowas itwas in the

past (Mills, 1995). Whereas curtailing sprawl is nowa stated objective

of most governments inWestern countries, past policies can be

identified which have had the effect of encouraging the sprawling

development patterns that are observable today. For instance, government

subsidies for road improvements and highway provision

and the neglect of public transport have made the car the mode of

choice for the average citizen (Duany et al., 2000). The planning system

through the mechanism of zoning has further contributed to

urban decentralisation as traditional zoning applications result in

the separation of land-use activities, thus facilitating sprawl (Hall,

1992; Moss, 1997; Duany et al., 2000).

The structure of households is one further factor held to be a

significant predictor of residential preferences for lower density

living. Perhaps the most frequently cited work that focuses on residential

mobility is Peter Rossi’s: Why Families Move (1955). Rossi

focused onmobility patterns in four Philadelphia census tracts and

analysed the causal factors that influence a household’s decision to

move. The study concludedthat family life cycle stagewas themajor

characteristic found to differentiatemobile fromstable households.

Rossi cited space deficits as themost important reasonwhy housing

needs changed through the course of a family’s life cycle as during

the child-rearing stage of a family’s life cycle, household size

and hence density in that household will increase. Therefore, Rossi

viewed the major function of mobility to be the “process by which

front matter © 2008 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.doi:10.1016/j.landusepol.2008.10.004

794 P. Howley / Land Use Policy 26 (2009) 792–798

families adjust their housing to the housing needs that are generated

by the shifts in family composition that accompany life-cycle

changes” (Rossi, 1955, p. 9). The importance of family life cycle stage

as an important determining factor behind residential mobility has

been outlined in further studies such as Chevan (1971), McAuley

and Nutty (1982, 1985) and Clark and Dieleman (1996).

New residential populations within the central city

Despite the dominant trend towards urban sprawl, in recent

times many cities have witnessed a considerable population influx

into its central area. An analysis of census data indicates that

between 1991 and 2002 the population of the central area of Dublin

city increased by 36% (almost 28,000 people). This is in stark contrast

to the decades preceding this period of urban regeneration as

population in the central area of Dublin city fell from 268,851 in

1926 to 76,558 in 1991 (Drudy and Punch, 2000). This was similar

to many other cities throughout Europe and, in particular, North

America at this time, as large numbers of individuals chose to

leave the central area of cities to live in suburban or rural areas

(Mieszkowski and Mills, 1993). There has also been a considerable

population influx into many city centres in the U.K. Bromley et al.

(2007) reports that the population in the central area of Birmingham,

Swansea, Cardiff and Bristol increased by 8%, 13%, 60% and

66% respectively between 1991 and 2002. Madden et al. (2001)

found that the population in Liverpool’s city centre increased by

almost 300% between 1991 and 1999. Additionally, Seo (2002) outlines

how the central city areas of both Glasgow and Manchester

have also attracted large numbers of new residents since the mid


The influx of new residents into central city areas has resulted

in some significant demographic and social changes. For example,

the number of individuals aged 20–29 living in the central area of

Dublin city more than doubled from a figure of 16,031 in 1991 to

34,374 in 2002. This is a complete turnaround from the situation

pre-1990 as large numbers of relatively young adults were leaving

the inner city for outlying areas. The numbers of individuals,

for example, aged between 20 and 29 fell by a quarter between

1981 and 1991 alone. Within the U.K, Bromley et al. (2007) reports

that in 2001 as much as 41% and 39% respectively of the city centre

populations of Liverpool and Manchester were aged between

20 and 29. Correspondingly, Nathan and Urwin (2005) report that

between 1991 and 2001 the number of people between 45 and 60

in Manchester more than halved. In terms of household structure

new city centre residents tend to live in small sized non-familial

households. In Dublin the percentage of households within the central

area of the city containing children decreased from a figure of

21.4% in 1991 to just 12.7% in 2002. Likewise, Nathan and Urwin

(2005) report that in Liverpool and Dundee, the proportion of family

households in the city centre is approximately half the city average

and in Manchester, it is around a sixth. One further characteristic

feature of this population increase is the resulting upward social

changes in these central city areas. For instance, thenumber of individuals

belonging to thetwo highest social classes (professional and

managerial occupations) more than doubled within Dublin’s inner

city between 1991 and 2002. Similarly, Madden et al. (2001) and

Davidson and Lees (2005) found that new residents in Liverpool’s

and London’s city centre respectively were also weighted towards

managerial and professional occupations. The upward social and

physical changes accruing from the population influx into inner

urban areas have been termed as the gentrification process by,

among others, Davidson and Lees (2005) and Smith and Butler

(2007). In effect whatwas until recently derelict land in the central

city are nowprestigious residential areas housing a newpopulation

Table 1

How likely are you to move residence in the next 5 years?

Frequency Percent

Very unlikely 20 7.5

Unlikely 20 7.4

Likely 63 23.3

Very likely 146 54

Do not know 21 7.8

Total 270 100

living in small-sized non-familial households with the residents

themselves typically much younger and affluent than members

of more established communities. In addition to British and Irish

cities the influx of new young urban professionals back into the

central city has been widely reported in many other European and

North American cities such as Toronto (Bourne, 1991), Amsterdam

(Karsten, 2003) and New York (Lees, 2003).

Research design

The case study for this paper is Dublin’s central city, which since

the early 1990s has attracted large numbers of residents back into

the urban core. Originally, the emphasis on promoting urban and in

particular inner urban living had been motivated by a policy objective

of physical renewal and the reuse of derelict land. However, in

more recent times, the focus on central city renewal can be increasingly

viewed as a central tool in managing a growing number of

households and in delivering more sustainable patterns of urban

development. In relation to the overall research methodology, a

list of apartment developments built in the central area of Dublin

city between 1996 and 2006 were identified through fieldwork.1 A

total of 50 apartment developments were subsequently randomly

chosen to be surveyed. A questionnaire was then distributed by

post to 1050 of these apartment units in the summer of 2006 with

a follow up reminder letter distributed 1 week later. A total of

270 completed questionnaires were returned. The survey gathered

information relating to the personal characteristics of respondents,

their residential preferences and intended futuremobility patterns

and their satisfaction with both dwelling unit and various features

of the neighbourhood.


Residential preferences for lower density living

Residents living in these new residential environments in the

central area of the city are predominantly young, affluent and

at the early stage of their life cycle. For instance, 80% of survey

respondents are between the ages of 20 and 39 and almost 77%

of respondents report a primary degree or higher as their highest

level of education achieved. In terms of household structure, 29%,

31% and 29% respectively of households surveyed consist of either a

single person living alone, a couple without children or non-family

households (single individuals living together). Eleven percent of

households contained children (ether a couple with children or a

single parent with children). In relation to future mobility patterns,

respondents were asked how likely or unlikely it is that they will

move residence in the next 5 years and the results are presented in

1 The author would wish to thank Sinead Kelly and Andrew MacLaran from the

Centre of Urban and Regional Studies, Trinity College, Dublin for kindly providing

addresses of new apartment developments built in the central area of Dublin city,

which provided the basis for the sampling frame in this study.

P. Howley / Land Use Policy 26 (2009) 792–798 795

Table 2

Future dwelling type.

Frequency Percent

Detached 118 45.2

Semi-detached 41 15.7

Terraced 33 12.6

Apartment 64 24.5

Do not know 5 1.9

Total 261 100

Table 1. In the next 5 years over half of respondents (54%) feel that it

is very likely that they willmove property. Combining the figures for

likely and very likely in both categories means that just over 77.3%

of respondents feel that it is either likely or very likely that they

will move residence in the next 5 years. In terms of preferences for

various types of accommodation, just under half (45.2%) of respondents

who are all currently living in an apartment feel they will be

living in a detached house in the future (see Table 2). A further 12.6%

and 15.7% of respondents believe they will be living in a terraced or

semi-detached house respectively. One third of respondents envisage

themselves as living in either the open countryside, a village,

small town or a large town in the future (see Table 3). Thirty-nine

percent of respondents still see themselves as living in an Irish city

in the future, but given that the vast majority of respondents do not

envisage living in an apartment then it seems likely that for a large

number of these respondents this location will be in lower density

locations outside the central area of the city. To sum up, evidence

would suggest that for the majority of residents in these areas their

residential preferences appear to be weighted towards ultimately

living in lower density areas outside the central area of the city.

Benefits and limitations of urban living

To provide a more detailed understanding of the views of individuals

living in these newresidential environments towards urban

living, respondents were asked what they felt was the main benefit

and limitation of living in urban areas through open ended

questions (Tables 4 and 5). Firstly, in relation to respondents perceptions

of urban living it can be seen that accessibility and related

issues are cited as the most common benefit of urban living. That

is, 65% of respondents stated that either accessibility, access to

services and facilities, access to amenities or access to work was

the main benefit of urban living. One further significant response

was employment opportunities as this was responsible for almost

13% of all responses. Various social aspects of urban living such as

social life and cultural activities were reported by 8.3% of residents

as the main benefit of urban living. Travel related considerations

such as less commuting and better transport/public transportwere

reported by 2.9% and 3.7% of respondents respectively as the main

benefit of urban living.

As regards the perceived limitations of urban living, the expense

of living in urban areas such as the cost of living and cost of hous-

Table 3

What type of area do you think you will be living in, in the future?

Frequency Percent

The open countryside 17 6.3

A village 12 4.5

A small town 26 9.7

A large town 34 12.6

A city 106 39.4

Another country 41 15.2

Do not know 33 12.3

Total 269 100

Table 4

Main benefit of urban living.

Frequency Percent

Near everything/accessibility 63 26

Access to services and facilities 44 18.2

Access to amenities 29 12

Access to work 21 8.7

Employment opportunities 31 12.8

Social life 14 5.8

Cultural activities 6 2.5

Transport/public transport 9 3.7

Less commuting 7 2.9

Other 18 7.4

Total 242 100

Table 5

Main limitation of urban living.

Frequency Percent

Cost of living/cost of housing 50 22.8

Lack of space/too crowded 40 18.3

Traffic congestion/poor public transport 37 16.9

Noise 23 10.5

Pollution 14 6.4

Crime 10 4.6

Unsuitable to bring up children 9 4.1

Lack of community spirit/community involvement 8 3.6

Pace of life 6 2.7

Poor housing/apartment design 3 1.4

Poor quality environment 2 .9

Other 17 7.8

Total 219 100

ing seemed of greatest concern to respondents, as 22.8% of residents

feel that this is the main limitation of urban living. Space related

considerations such as lack of space/open space or too crowded

were cited by 18.3% of respondents. Issues surrounding transport is

one further prominent limitation cited by respondents with some

16.9% of respondents stating traffic congestion/poor public transport

as the main limitation of urban living. Noise and pollution

accounted for 10.5% and 6.4% of the total number of responses

respectively. Four and a half, 4.1% and 3.6% of respondents reported

that crime, unsuitability to bring up children or lack of community

spirit was the main limitation of urban living.

Logistic regression model

Selection of variables

A logistic regression model was formulated to provide a deeper

understanding of what were the major factors behind the majority

of respondents future intentions to relocate in the short tomedium

term (see Greene, 1997; Long, 1997; Long and Freese, 2006 for a

more detailed description of this type of estimation). More precisely,

this model was designed in order to look at the ability of

individuals’ stage in their life course, income, commuting time to

work, satisfaction with both dwelling unit and various attributes

of the neighbourhood, in predicting their intended future mobility

patterns. The dependent variable chosen for the analysis was

respondents’ opinion on how likely or unlikely it is that they will

move residence in the next 5 years (see Table 1 as discussed earlier).

In particular, this variable was split into two categories, namely

respondentswho feel it is very likely that they will move residence

and respondents who feel it is less than very likely that they will

move residence in the next 5 years. Given the ordinal nature of the

dependent variable an alternative to the binary logistic regression

model usedherewould have been to use ordered/logistic regression

as this would have avoided the arbitrary grouping of the depen

796 P. Howley / Land Use Policy 26 (2009) 792–798

Table 6

Description of variables in logistic model.

Dependent variable

Residential mobility: Compares the effect of feeling it is very likely to

move residence in the next 5 years (56% of respondents) with those

that feel it is less than very likely to move residence (44% of


Explanatory variables

Age: Compares the effect of being under 30 (41% of respondents) on

an individual’s probability of moving in the next 5 years with that of

being 30 or over (59% of respondents).

Household size: Compares the effect of being in a multi occupancy

dwelling (61% of respondents) on an individual’s probability of moving

with that of being in a single person household (29% of respondents).

Income: Compares the effect of having an income greater than

D 50,000 (36% of respondents) on an individual’s probability of moving

in the next 5 years with that of having less than D 50,000 (64% of


Satisfaction with apartment: Compares the effect of being less than

very satisfied (either quite satisfied, somewhat unsatisfied or very

unsatisfied) with apartment (69% of respondents) on an individual’s

probability of moving in the next 5 years with that of being very

satisfied with their apartment (31% of respondents).

Time to work: Compares the effect of spending 30 min or more

travelling to work (39% of respondents) on an individual’s probability

of moving in the next 5 years with that of spending less than 30 min

(61% of respondents).

Neighbours: Compares the effect of speaking to neighbours less than

twice a month (51% of respondents) on an individual’s probability of

moving in the next 5 years with that of speaking to neighbours more

often (49%).

Pollution: Compares the effect of perceiving pollution to be a very big

or fairly big problem in the area (55% of respondents) on an

individual’s probability of moving in the next 5 years with that of

perceiving pollution to be less than a fairly big problem (minor

problem, not a problem or no opinion) (45% of respondents).

dent variable into two categories.Abinary logistic regression model

was ultimately chosen, however, for two reasons; firstly the split

between very likely and less than very likely divides the population

into two roughly equal groups (54% and 46%, respectively)

and secondly this study aimed to gather information relating to the

respondents most likely to move residence and it was felt that a

large share of respondents who report that it is likely that theywill

move residence may not actually do so.

For ease of use in the model it was necessary to convert the

coding of each variable into binary form. For instance, the variable

‘satisfaction with apartment’ which asked respondents whether

they were very satisfied, quite satisfied, somewhat unsatisfied or

very unsatisfied with their apartmentwas split into two categories

namely those who felt very satisfied and those who felt less than

very satisfied. As there are only two categories to each variable, the

odds ratio for one category only is shown as the other categorywill

have an opposite effect of equal significance. The odds ratios for the

coefficients of the explanatory variables allows us to see the likelihood

that this variable category is associated with being very likely

to move residence in the next 5 years rather than less than very

likely. The odds ratio is a way of comparing whether the probability

of a certain event is the same for two groups. For example, the

odds ratio of 2.24 for satisfaction with apartment (see Table 7) indicates

that the group of individuals who are less than very satisfied

with their apartment are over twice as likely to feel that it is very

likely that they will move residence in the next 5 years than the

group of individuals who are very satisfied with their apartment.

An odds ratio of 1 herewould imply that both groups of individuals

are equally likely to feel that it is very likely rather than less than

very likely that they will move residence in the next 5 years. Table 6

provides more detail on the classifications used for each variable.

The variables usedwere firstly the age of the respondent (‘age’), and

whether the respondent lived in a single person household (‘house-

Table 7

Logistic model of residential mobility.

Independent variables Odds ratio Significance

Age* 1.888409 0.06

Household size* 1.862219 0.063

Satisfaction with apartment** 2.243099 0.009

Neighbours** 2.273754 0.005

Pollution* 1.629243 0.097

Income 1.027484 0.934

Commute time 1.06508 0.837

* Significant at the 90% level.

** Significant at the 99% level.

hold size’) both of which were included to test the importance of

life-cycle stage in respondents futuremobility intentions. Our a priori

expectation here would be that relatively younger individuals

and those living in larger householdswould have a higher probability

of moving residence in the next 5 years. In addition, an income

variable was included in the analysis as numerous studies have

highlighted the importance of income as a significant factor behind

residential mobility. In relation to the neighbourhood, our a priori

expectation is that thosewhoaremost dissatisfiedwith their neighbourhood

would express a greater desire to move residence in the

next 5 years.Two variableswere chosen to be included in this model

to represent different features of the neighbourhood, namely the

level of interaction with neighbours (‘neighbours’) chosen to represent

overall community spirit or social features and perception

of the level of pollution (‘pollution’) chosen as a proxy for environmental

quality. Similarly to satisfaction with the neighbourhood,

respondents satisfaction with theirdwelling unit (‘satisfaction with

apartment’) was one further variable selected for analysis as it was

felt that dissatisfaction with their apartment could prompt individuals

to move in order to find more a suitable dwelling that

could improve their quality of life. Finally, it was thought useful

to examine whether accessibility to work (‘commuting time’) was

an important factor behind respondents intended future mobility

decisions in these areas.

Model results

The variables ‘age’, ‘household structure’, ‘satisfaction with

apartment’, ‘neighbours’ and ‘pollution’, were significant at the

90% significance level or better (see Table 7). There was no statistically

significant difference found in the probabilities of moving

residence in the next 5 years between respondents earning more

than D 50,000 per annum with those earning less than D 50,000

per annum suggesting that income is not a significant barrier for

this residential population when determining their futuremobility

behaviour. Additionally, it appears commuting time towork is not a

decisive factor for this residential population as therewas no difference

found in the probabilities of moving residence between those

who spend 30 min or less commuting towork and those that spend

over 30 min. The variable with the largest statistically significant

odds ratio was ‘neighbours’. Those that speak to their neighbours

less than twice a month were 2.3 times more likely than respondentswho

speak to their neighbours more often to report that they

were very likely rather than less than very likely tomove residence

in the next 5 years. Respondents’ perception on the level of pollution

in the area is one further important neighbourhood feature to

influence residents’ future mobility intentions. Respondents who

perceive pollution to be a very big or fairly big problem in the area

are 1.6 times more likely to feel that they are very likely rather than

less than very likely to move residence in the next 5 years. Individuals

who are less than very satisfied with their apartment were

2.2 times more likely to report that they were very likely rather

than less than very likely tomove residence in the next 5 years. The

P. Howley / Land Use Policy 26 (2009) 792–798 797

age of respondents was one further important predictor of respondents’

future mobility intentions. Respondents who are 29 years

of age or younger were almost twice (1.9) as likely as respondents

who are over 29 years of age to feel that they are very likely rather

than less than very likely to move residence in the next 5 years.

Finally, ‘household size’ also has an important influence on individuals’

future mobility intentions. Individuals who live in multi

person households are almost twice (1.9) as likely than respondents

living in single person households to feel that they are very

likely rather than less than very likely tomove residence in the next

5 years.


Compact city policies are designed tomeet the primary sustainability

aims of reducing car dependence and hence pollution, and

minimising the loss of open countryside and habitats to development

(Haughton and Hunter, 2003; Gillham, 2002). The onus on the

planning systems of most advanced capitalist societies to develop

a more sustainable urban development pattern has resulted in an

ever-increasing emphasis on policies to increase residential densities.

For example, the European Spatial Development Perspective

(ESDP) (CEC, 1999) strongly encouragesmember states and regional

authorities to pursue the concept of the ‘compact city’ (or the city

of short distances) as a method to control the physical expansion

of cities, integrating land-use and transport more effectively,

and reducing the physical separation of daily activities. Residential

preferences appear to be at variance with this policy agenda

as an ever-increasing share of individuals are residing in lower

density locations outside the central area of cities. This is by no

means an Irish phenomenon, as declining residential densities in

the central area of cities coupled with population expansion on

the urban fringe has been symptomatic of most of the world’s

advanced capitalist societies for the greater part of the last century

(Mieszkowski and Mills, 1993). Despite the general trend towards

urban sprawl, in recent times many cities have been successful in

attracting large numbers of residents back into the central area.

While this is likely to be a good starting point in urban consolidation

efforts, questions still remain relating to the liveability implications

of such developments. For instance, this paper demonstrates

that the residential preferences of individuals living in new relatively

high-density residential environments in the central area

of Dublin city are weighted towards (ultimately) living in lower

density areas. This raises a number of questions relating to developing

more “sustainable” patterns of urban development as if these

residential preferences manifest themselves into actual behaviour

then this will result in further developmental pressures on rural

and suburban areas. While policymakers stress the need for compaction,

current residential preferences if left unchecked will lead

to further sprawling development patterns. In this context, policymakers

need to consider not just the environmental impacts of the

residential communities they are building but also the wider liveability

implications of high-density living. Respondents perceive

the main benefit of urban living to be greater accessibility levels

and better social life, whereas the main limitation relate to cost of

living, lack of space, transport related issues, noise and pollution.

This paper formulated a logistic regression model in order to

develop a deeper understanding of the factors behind respondents’

future mobility intentions to locate in lower density areas.

Significant factors to emerge from the analysis included firstly,

family life cycle stage, as younger respondents and those living

in multi occupancy dwellings have a much higher probability of

moving in the next 5 years than relatively older respondents and

those living by themselves. Overall satisfaction with dwelling unit

and aspects of the neighbourhood such as neighbourly interaction

(proxy for social features of the neighbourhood) and perceptions

on the level of pollution (proxy for overall environmental quality)

in the area were further features to emerge as significant influences

on residential mobility. This would suggest a significant role

for urban planners and designers as improvements in the design

of the dwelling unit and the neighbourhood as well as providing

residential environments that are suitable throughout all stages of

an individuals’ life cycle can improve the stability and quality of life

experienced in these areas.


The author would wish to thank the Environmental Protection

Agency’s ERDTI Programme (funded from the National Development

Plan) for funding and supporting this research project.

Additionally, the authorwould wish to thank Mark Scott and Declan

Redmond from the School of Geography, Planning and Environmental

Policy and Emma Dillon from the Rural Economy Research

Centre, Teagasc for helpful comments and suggestions.


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+ نوشته شده توسط محمد عبدیان در چهارشنبه 19 فروردین1388 و ساعت 12:53 |

Geometry and Geography

Tom Davis



February 11, 2008

1 Geography Problems

1. Why is the globe of the earth tilted in any standard mount?

2. What does straight up on the globe represent (in a standard mount)?

3. What causes seasons? Why are they reversed in the southern hemisphere? Why is it

hotter when the sun is higher in the sky?

4. What does sunrise look like at the north pole? What does it look like near the north


5. What is special about the north star? Why isn’t there a south star? If you are sailing in

the south pacific and the north star appears on the horizon, where are you?

6. If you point a camera at the north star at night and leave the shutter open for a few

hours, what does the photo look like?

7. What causes the lengths of days to change? What do the arctic and antarctic circles


8. What do the tropics of Cancer and Capricorn represent?

9. Can the sun ever be directly overhead (here in Northern California)? Where can it be

directly overhead? At what time(s) of year?

10. How long are the days at the equator? At the poles? In between? How high in the sky is

the sun at the north pole on June 21?

11. Can the sun ever appear due north?

12. A bear walks one mile south, one mile east, and one mile north, and is exactly where he

started. What color is the bear? Where is the bear?

13. Why are there two hottest times of year in places like Madras, India, midway between

the equator and the tropic of Cancer? What do the seasons look like there?

14. What do the seasons look like at the equator? (Fact, in some places on earth near the

equator, plants do not have a twelve month growing season—some have 10 month seasons,

some have 13 month seasons. Why?)


15. What is the geometric relationship between the sun and the earth at the solstices, at the

equinoxes? What does “equi” mean in “equinox”?

16. Where can you take the best sunset photos—in Hawai’i or in Alaska?

17. What causes the phases of the moon?

18. Why do only planets nearer to the sun than the earth (Venus and Mercury) exhibit

phases, and the others (Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto) do not?

19. What causes lunar eclipses? What causes solar eclipses?

20. Why do you tend to see more lunar than solar eclipses?

21. What causes partial lunar or partial solar eclipses?

22. Why are there time zones? What is GMT?

23. What is the problem with lunar calendars (which ours is, sort of)?

24. What is a leap year?

25. What is a leap second?

26. Estimate the error in days in the 1400swhen PopeGregory fixed the Julian calendar that

was started by Julius Caesar in about year 0. Caesar had leap years, but no correction

for the fact that the year is really 365.26 days.

27. Look at the Latin roots for September, October, November, December—they are “sept”,

“oct”, “nov”, “dec”, corresponding to 7, 8, 9, 10. But they are months 9, 10, 11, and 12.


28. What would the seasons look like on Uranus (which has an 84 degree axis tilt).

29. What would the earth be like with no tilt?

30. Why does a compass work? Why doesn’t a compass work perfectly?

31. Are there any pairs of points on earth where there are an infnite number of shortest

routes from one to the other?

32. If you want to go to a point that is due west of you by the shortest possible route, when

should you go west?

Note: The following three questions are from “Mathematical Puzzles: A Connosseur’s Collection”,

by Peter Winkler.

33. What is the closest US state to Africa?

34. What two states in the US are farthest apart?

35. What is the largest US city east of Reno, NV, and west of Denver, CO?


2 Geography Problem Hints and Answers

Note: The answers here obviously make certain assumptions that are not exactly true, but they are

close enough to true that they explain a great deal. For example, the earth is not perfectly round,

there are mountains and things that block your vision of what would be the true horizon on a flat

earth, et cetera. If the earth were covered by a calm ocean, you can see that the answers below would

be much closer to the real truth (but not perfect—there are tides and waves and things). Also, the

orbits of planets and moons are not circles, but are ellipses, some more eccentic than others.

1. Why is the globe of the earth tilted in any standard mount?

See the answer to item 2, below.

2. What does straight up on the globe represent (in a standard mount)?

The earth’s axis is not parallel to the axis of the solar system. In other words, if you look at the

approximate circle that the earth makes as it moves around the sun, the axis of that circle is

tilted about 23.5from the axis of rotation of the earth. As we will see below, this is extremely


Also notice that the axis of the earth continues to point in the same direction (relative to the

rest of the galaxy) as it moves around the sun. Thus, for example, when the axis coming out

of the north pole hits the axis of rotation of the earth around the sun, someone standing on

the north pole could see the sun for a entire rotations of the earth (that’s the “midnight sun”),

and obviously some other guy at the south pole would be unable to see the sun for the same

period. When the earth revolves to the other side of the sun, things are reversed, and the guy

at the south pole will see the midnight sun.

3. What causes seasons? Why are they reversed in the southern hemisphere? Why is it

hotter when the sun is higher in the sky?

As the earth moves around the sun, its axis continues to point in the same direction, so on one

side of the sun, for example, the north pole will tilt toward the sun and on the other side, it

will be pointed away. Obviously at the north pole there will be a lot more sun when the sun is

visible, so that will be the summer there. Near the north pole, the same thing happens, and the

closer to the equator you get, the less will be the effect. But any part of the earth north of the

equator will see a little more sun than places south of the equator during the summer months

in the north.

Clearly, when the south pole is pointed toward the sun (the winter in the north), southern

places will get more sunlight, and it will be summer in the south.

Suppose that you live somewhere like northern California, and draw an east-west line through

your city that goes all the way around the earth. For any particular position of the earth relative

to the sun, a certain amount of this circle will be visible to the sun. If more than half is visible

(during the summer months), that means more than half of the 24 hour day will be sunlit. If

less is visible (like in the winter), less than half will be sunlit.

It is hotter when the sun is higher in the sky since more radiation hits a unit area of ground.

Imagine a uniform pattern of rays coming from the sun and hitting a square of paper. If that

paper is tilted, less of its area is exposed to the sun, so fewer of the rays will strike it. The

temperature is higher the more rays hit it.


4. What does sunrise look like at the north pole? What does it look like near the north


On approximately the equinox, the sun will appear right on the horizon, and will spin around

on the horizon, getting a tiny bit higher each day. At the summer solstice (about June 21),

the sun will be looping around as high as it ever gets there—about 23.5degrees above the

horizon. After the solstice, the sun will continue to spin, but will get lower and lower until it

disappears below the horizon on about September 22.

Near the north pole, the sun will peek out for a second and then disappear. The next day, it

will peek out for a tiny bit longer. As days go by, it will make little loops, skimming along

the horizon, but each day the time above the horizon will be more. Finally, the sun will

be completely above the horizon all the way around, but will loop higher in the sky in one

direction and lower in the other.

5. What is special about the north star? Why isn’t there a south star? If you are sailing in

the south pacific and the north star appears on the horizon, where are you?

It is totally due to chance that the north star is aligned with the axis of the spinning earth. It is

not perfectly north, but is very close to perfectly north. In the southern hemisphere there does

not happen to be such a star.

As you move north from south of the equator, the first time you can see the north star is when

you hit the equator. At this point, the north star will be exactly on the horizon.

6. If you point a camera at the north star at night and leave the shutter open for a few

hours, what does the photo look like?

You’ll get a bright dot in the center where the north star is, and circular star trails caused by

all the stars that appear to spin around it.

A sort of principle of relativity says that things will look the same to you if you are on a

spinning earth as they would if the earth were fixed and the stars moved around it. In fact,

before Galileo, that’s what people thought. So if the earth is fixed and the sky spins around

the north star, the photo will look as described in the previous paragraph.

7. What causes the lengths of days to change? What do the arctic and antarctic circles


The sun always lights up (roughly) half of the earth. But since the axis of rotation is tilted

relative to the sun, at various times of year, the path of your city may have more or less of it

in the sunshine. See item 2.

North of the arctic and south of the antarctic circle, there is at least some time when the sun

will be invisible for a whole day or more. The closer to the poles you are, the more days of

invisibility there will be.

8. What do the tropics of Cancer and Capricorn represent?

Between these two tropics, the sun is directly overhead for at least one day of the year. They

are 23.5north (Cancer) and south (Capricorn) of the equator.

9. Can the sun ever be directly overhead (here in Northern California)? Where can it be

directly overhead? At what time(s) of year?


No, the sun can never be directly overhead for a person in California. Only between the tropics

of Cancer and Capricorn. See item 8.

On the equator, the sun will be directly overhead at the equinoxes. At the tropic of Cancer, it

will be overhead on about June 21; on the tropic of Capricorn, it will be overhead on about

September 22. In between, the sun will be overhead twice; once while it is moving gradually

north, and once while it is moving gradually south.

10. How long are the days at the equator? At the poles? In between? How high in the sky is

the sun at the north pole on June 21?

On the equator, every day is exactly 12 hours of daylight and 12 hours of night. At the poles,

the days and nights are both 6 months long. In between it depends on where you are. If you

are in the arctic or antarctic circle, some of the days (and nights) will be longer than a day

because the sun is never visible.

If you are not in the arctic or antarctic circles, the length of the day plus the length of the night

is 24 hours, but the relative lengths vary, depending on the time of year. The closer you are to

the equator, the closer are the lengths of day and night. If you are near (but outside) the arctic

or antarctic circle, the day can be up to 24 hours long and the night as little as zero and vice

versa. In between, the lengths are intermediate.

11. Can the sun ever appear due north?

Well sure, from the south pole everything is north. But the answer is yes in general, as long

as you live south of the tropic of Cancer.

12. A bear walks one mile south, one mile east, and one mile north, and is exactly where he

started. What color is the bear? Where is the bear?

It started at the north pole, so it’s a polar bear, and hence white.

There are actually an infinite number of places on earth where the bear could walk like this—

imagine a place near the south pole where the circumference of the earth is 1 mile. Start one

mile north of that, and so south a mile, around the earth once (in a mile) and then back north

to where you started.

This also works for circles that have circumference 1/2 mile, 1/3 mile, 1/4 mile, and so on

(in which case the bear’s eastern trek will take him around the earth 2, 3, 4, . . . , times). The

bear could not be here, however, since there are no bears in Antarctica.

13. Why are there two hottest times of year in places like Madras, India, midway between

the equator and the tropic of Cancer? What do the seasons look like there?

See item 9. For locations between the equator and one of the tropics of Capricorn or Cancer,

the sun passes directly overhead twice—once on the way north, and once on the way south.

So inMadras, for example, when the sun heads south and the “winter” begins, days get shorter

and shorter until it gets to the maximum point south. Then as it comes north, the days get

longer and longer until it is directly overhead. Then it goes even further north, so the days

get shorter again, but not for too long, until the sun gets to the northernmost point and heads

south again. When it is directly overhead for the second time is the second heat spell of the



Madras, by the way, is about halfway between the equator and the tropic of Cancer. Locations

that are roughly half way up (at about 12north or south) will feel this effect most strongly.

14. What do the seasons look like at the equator? (Fact, in some places on earth near the

equator, plants do not have a twelve month growing season—some have 10 month seasons,

some have 13 month seasons. Why?)

At the equator all days are exactly 12 hours of daylight and 12 hours of night. The sun is

directly overhead twice, so it is very slightly warmer then.

But since there is basically no variation in day length, there are no seasons (at least in some

places). Obviously, wind or sea currents caused by the seasons elsewhere can cause seasons

at the equator.

Notice that there is a huge biological selective advantage to having a season that is out of

sync with the rest of the forest (if you’re a plant, that is). There is no way for insects with a

different life cycle to specialize on you, since they can’t guarantee that the appropriate food

will be available every year.

15. What is the geometric relationship between the sun and the earth at the solstices, at the

equinoxes? What does “equi” mean in “equinox”?

At the solstices, the axis of the earth is pointed toward the sun as much as possible, either on

the north end or the south end. At the equinoxes, it points neither toward nor away from the

sun. On an equinox, the day and night are equal at every point on the earth (except right at the


So “equi” means “equal”, of course.

16. Where can you take the best sunset photos—in Hawai’i or in Alaska?

Hawai’i is very close to the equator, so the sun sets almost straight down, so there’s a very

short sunset, and it is difficult to photograph there. In Alaska, the sun coasts very gently into

the horizon, so there are many chances to get a good photo.

17. What causes the phases of the moon?

The sun lights only half the moon, since it is a sphere, just like the earth. But we look at the

half-lit sphere or the moon from different angles and see various crescents. It’s easiest to see

this with a model of a sphere and a flashlight in a darkened room.

18. Why do only planets nearer to the sun than the earth (Venus and Mercury) exhibit

phases, and the others (Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto) do not?

We can get planets like Mercury and Venus between us and the sun, and hence see phases.

But all we can see of the outer planets is the part of them that is facing the sun, so we never

see phases.

Again, it’s easiest to visualize this either in your mind’s eye, or with a sphere and a flashlight

in a darkened room.

19. What causes lunar eclipses? What causes solar eclipses?

A lunar eclipse occurs when the moon gets into the earth’s shadow. A solar eclipse is when

the earth is in the moon’s shadow. The moon is much smaller than the earth, so it’s shadow


is smaller, so there aren’t as many solar eclipses. Also, when a lunar eclipse occurs, anyone

who happens to be on the correct side of the planet can see it; for a solar eclipse, you have to

be in exactly the right place.

In fact, the moon’s shadow on the earth is usually almost a point, only a few miles wide. The

size of the shadow varies, of course, depending on how far away the moon is, and the moon’s

distance varies because its orbit is not exactly a circle, but rather an ellipse. The earth’s shadow

is bigger than the moon itself.

20. Why do you tend to see more lunar than solar eclipses?

See item 19.

21. What causes partial lunar or partial solar eclipses?

If the sun is not completely blocked, the eclipse is partial.

22. Why are there time zones? What is GMT?

Becuase the sun is at its highest point at different times all over the earth. To avoid chaos, we

generally group together sectors of about 1/24 of the earth into each time zone and define the

time to be the same in all those places.

GMT is “Greenwich Mean Time” – the time at the great observatory in Greenwich, England.

If you want to agree on a time with someone who could be anywhere on earth, the easiest

thing to do is to agree that no matter where you both are, you’ll just use GMT.

23. What is the problem with lunar calendars (which ours is, sort of)?

The moon doesn’t go around the earth a nice round number of times in a year—it’s roughly

28 days, but not exactly, and even then, 28 does not divide evenly into 365.

24. What is a leap year?

The earth goes around the sun every 365.26 days—roughly 365 and a quarter. Every four

years, you add a leap day to bring things back into synchronization.

25. What is a leap second?

The earth’s spinning is always slowing down, and rather than change the length of a second,

we add a second every now and then to make things as exact as possible. Leap seconds are

getting more and more common (but not enough that any of us would notice).

26. Estimate the error in days in the 1400swhen PopeGregory fixed the Julian calendar that

was started by Julius Caesar in about year 0. Caesar had leap years, but no correction

for the fact that the year is really 365.26 days.

Well, the error is roughly .01 days per year, so in 1400 years, the error should be about 14

days. Since the real length of a year is slightly less than 365.26 days, the correction was 11


Today, to avoid this mess, there is a leap year every 4 years, but not on the centuries. But there

is one every 4 centuries, but then there isn’t one every 1000 years, so with these corrections

of corrections of corrections, the time is kept pretty accurate.


27. Look at the Latin roots for September, October, November, December—they are “sept”,

“oct”, “nov”, “dec”, corresponding to 7, 8, 9, 10. But they are months 9, 10, 11, and 12.


There were only 10 months in the original Roman calendar. Then Julius Caesar added one

(and called it July, of course). Then Augustus Ceaser added one and called it August. The

funny thing is that since July had 31 days, Augustus couldn’t stand the thought of “his” month

only having 30 days, so he made August have 31 also. He stole the extra day from poor


28. What would the seasons look like on Uranus (which has an 84 degree axis tilt).

Huge arctic and antarctic circles. Lots of the planet experiences a “midnight sun”. There are

huge seasonal changes.

29. What would the earth be like with no tilt?

There would be no seasons.

30. Why does a compass work? Why doesn’t a compass work perfectly?

There’s a magnetic field in the earth that is roughly aligned with the spin axis. But it does not

point at the north and south poles; it only points near them. So there are compass errors that

depend on exactly where on earth you happen to be standing.

31. Are there any pairs of points on earth where there are an infnite number of shortest

routes from one to the other?

Any two points that are exactly opposite each other on the earth satisfy this condition. The

most obvious example is the north pole and south pole. Any route that heads due south will be

of the same length as any other. Those poles are opposite each other, and it should be obvious

that any pair of opposite points satisfies the same condition.

32. If you want to go to a point that is due west of you by the shortest possible route, when

should you go due west?

There are actually two problems here. The most obvious, perhaps, is that if your destination

is more than half-way around the earth you obviously want to travel in an easterly direction.

But even if the destination is due west and less than half-way around the earth, your shortest

route to that point will only be due west if you are on the equator. From any other point, you

should take the great circle route since the shortest distance between two points on the surface

of a sphere is along a great circle.

To see why the “due west” answer is obviously wrong in some cases, suppose you’re a mile

or so from the north pole. The points that are due west of you form a circle of radius one

mile around the pole. Since the earth is almost flat, it is obvious that to go from one point on

that circle to another involves cutting across it by some amount. This path will first bring you

closer to the north pole before you finally arrive at your destination.

A great circle is the intersection of a plane with a sphere where the plane passes through the

center of the sphere. The curvature of all such great circles is the same, and is equal to the

curvature of the circle passing around the equator. Every other circle that is the intersection of


a plane and a sphere will be smaller than a great circle, so will be more curved. The shortest

path will be along the route that is least curved.

So the solution of the original problem: to find the shortest path between two points on a

sphere, is to construct the plane passing through those two points and the center of the sphere.

That plane will intersect the sphere in a great circle, and the shortest path will be along that

circle, with the direction depending on which half of the circle your destination lies.

Probably the most important practical application of this is to determine routes for longdistance

flights or voyages. If you fly from San Francisco to Rome, for example, your plane

will probably pass over Greenland.

33. What is the closest US state to Africa?

Maine. Check a globe.

34. What two states in the US are farthest apart?

Floria and Hawai’i. Check a globe.

35. What is the largest US city east of Reno, NV, and west of Denver, CO?

Los Angeles, CA. Again, check a globe.


+ نوشته شده توسط محمد عبدیان در شنبه 15 فروردین1388 و ساعت 10:55 |

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