Metropolis and Region in Transition

Metropolis and Region in Transition

Metropolis and Region in Transition

Metropolis and Region in Transition

Excerpt

Ten years ago a study of the metropolitan structure of the United States was undertaken to establish a "mid-century bench mark" which would both document the state to which the metropolitan economy had evolved by 1950 and provide a baseline for measuring subsequent change. The issues confronted by our collaborators and us in the study were the nature of the metropolis, its role in the national economy, and its relation to regional differentiation of the economy. We recognized that because our conclusions would rest on observations made at a single point in time, a transient conjunction of circumstances might easily be mistaken for a basic structural pattern. Nonetheless, we argued, adequate descriptions of present realities should precede their historical explanations as well as forecasts of developments to come.

Like any complex and polymorphic entity, the metropolis is subject to differing interpretations according to the perspective from which it is viewed; but whatever meaning of "metropolis" is accepted, the entity usually is conceived as a special kind of city. In a formulation of metropolitanism that has become classic, Gras asserted nearly a half-century ago that population size alone was too simplistic for identifying the metropolis. A relatively large population was required for, but did not ensure, metropolitan . . .

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