Chapter 5

The Urban World,
J. John Palen
Chapter 5: Metro and Edge City
Metropolitan Growth
Commuting and Communication
Canadian Urban Regions
Postindustrial Central Cities
Edge Cities
Nonmetropolitan Growth
The Rise of the Sunbelt
Movement to the Coasts
• Three major transformations
– The metropolitan area (and beyond) replacing the
city as the major urban unit
– The increasing dominance of edge cities as a
major locus of metropolitan growth
– The three-decades-long population and industry
shift toward the sunbelt and the nation’s east and
west coastlines
Figure 5.1
Rate of Net Migration by Metropolitan and Micropolitan Statistical Areas,
2000 to 2010
Figure 5.2
Percent Change in Population, 2000 to 2010
Metropolitan Growth
• In-Movement: 1900-1950
– The central city found its physical expansion
contained by surrounding suburbs, but the social
and economic influence of the central city
• Out-Movement: 1950 into the 21st Century
– Decentralization of people, shopping, offices, and
manufacturing has been the pattern since the last
half of the 20th century
Commuting and Communication
• The 19th century city was based on steam
• The cities of the 20th and 21st centuries are
based on electricity and petroleum
• The motor vehicle enabled transportation
growth, while the telephone allowed for
greater communications abilities
Canadian Urban Regions
• Canada is now 80 percent urban, and four
major Census Metropolitan Areas (CMAs) now
hold half of Canada’s population
• The four CMAs are growing faster than the
country as a whole
• These areas are magnets for people, jobs, and
services, and they are more ethnically diverse
than the rest of the country
Postindustrial Central Cities
• Cities no longer dominate in population,
services, or employment
• There are now over three suburbanites for
every two central-city residents
• Generally, production and distribution have
decentralized as markets have decentralized
• Downtowns still offer businesses centralized
locations, and they also have become major
entertainment, tourist, and convention sites
Edge Cities
• Edgeless and Private Edge Cities
– Edge Cities describe the pattern of evolving new multiple urban
cores increasingly found in the outer rings of metropolitan areas
– Edge cities do not have clearly defined legal edges
– Edge cities have no civic order or elected government
– They are private property; in effect, private cities unto
– Edge cities are private domains because they are managed by
private corporate policy
• Boomburgs
– The name given to extremely fast-growing suburban
incorporated places that have populations over 100,000 but are
not the largest city in the metro area
– As of 2003 the U.S. had fifty-three boomburg suburbs
• Suburban Business growth
– The industrial park has supplanted the city factory,
with twice as many manufacturing jobs now
located in suburbs as in central cities
– Over 90 percent of new office space is built in
– The old Burgess hypothesis of economic growth
moving out from the CBD through a series of
zones has become history
• Malling of the Land
– The dominant symbol for the beginning of the 21st
century is the shopping mall
– The first shopping center was Country Club Plaza,
developed in 1923 in Kansas City
– Food courts were introduced by the Rouse
Company in the early 1970s
– Malls have become the contemporary public
space version of the ancient Greek agoras
• Malls and “Street Safety”
– Malls emphasize total predictability
– Rigorously private, so they can ban people from
their property
– Security staff hold a public relations function
– To maintain their image of safety, malls use their
advertising clout to see that crimes committed on
mall property are not reported on local TV or in
local newspapers
Nonmetropolitan Growth
• Diffuse Growth
– The pattern of rural rebound is the out-movement
of population into a new form of community that
is more diffuse
– The fastest growth is in the sprawling exurbs
– Some growth related to providing recreational and
retirement opportunities for metropolitan
• National Society
– The pattern of discrete metropolitan
concentrations is being challenged by an emerging
pattern of increased dispersion and metropolitan
– Increased mobility of goods, persons, and ideas
suggests that a new urban phase—a national
urban system—is being created
– Physical distance is losing importance
– Whether we live in a metropolitan area or not, we
are all part of a metropolitan society
The Rise of the Sunbelt
• Population and Economic Shifts
– A shift of population to the metropolises of the
West and the South
– An impossible transformation without the
technology of air conditioning
– Rustbelt refers to the decline of the heavy
manufacturing cities that during much of the 19th
and 20th centuries defined America’s industrial
– Quality-of-life factors played a large role in the
• Regional Consequences
– The South now is the fastest-growing region in the
– Population is flowing south and west, attracted by
new jobs, a mild climate, a lower cost of living,
and a lifestyle stressing outdoor living
– The shift of the population is also shifting political
– Sunbelt populations are more likely to vote
conservative and are less likely to support liberal
political candidates or policies
Figure 5.3
Congressional Seat Gain/Loss Based on 2010 Census
• Sunbelt Problems
– Breakneck growth has brought not only jobs but
also massive urban sprawl, huge traffic
congestion, overtaxed water and sewer systems,
rising air pollution, and widespread environmental
– Hit very hard by the recession
– Some parts of the South and Southwest still have
academic systems that need upgrading
Movement to the Coasts
• Wealth generated by a strong economy, and
more flexible work arrangements such as
telecommuting, are resulting in more and
more people living permanently near the
• The “moral hazard” problem occurs when
existing federal programs, by protecting
against loss, inadvertently create the very
problem they were designed to prevent

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