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GGR 124 lecture 4
The Urban System
x The urban system is a set of cities bound together that share common attributes and that
interact with each other in a more direct way then cities outside of this system
x A city cannot exist on its own (does not flourish in a vacuum)
x Connections with other cities are based upon dependency, competition and transportation
x Cities are not supposed to generate a profit; profit would indicate that the city is not providing
the necessary services for its citizens since there is a surplus that should be used for services
x Transportation linkage is an important connector of urban areas
x Urban system types (levels of analysis on the geographic scale):
Regional (province, parts of the province)
x Functional analysis:
Production based (assembly base)
Consumer oriented (market source)
Specialised service
x The classical view of urban evolution is agglomeration and social surplus
x Colonial model suggests that a settlement is selected by a colonial power who will determine
the speed of growth; this system eventually moves inland to exploit raw materials; growth then
shifts to the classic model of evolution
x National urban systems analysis:
Cities generally provide a variety of functions and services
To classify a city we can look and the amount of employment in a particular sector
Urban hierarchy can also measure a city in the urban system and then analyse their
functions in relation to population
It is also possible to analyse and urban area based on multiple variables
Allen Pred (1977) classified cities based on their interdependence, that is their international
position within the urban system; and their closure, therefore their isolation within the
international system
Settlement patterns reflect urban functions:
x Linear pattern: typically the result of a city following a transportation network
x Clustering pattern: this pattern is the result of clusters around resources
x Uniform/ Hierarchal pattern (big centre surrounded by smaller cities, surrounded by
smaller cities etc.): based on role of a centre creating less centralized urban areas
around it.
x City size distribution: city size is by population concentration. The larger the city the larger the
available functions.
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