Academic journal article Canadian Journal of Regional Science

In Search of Regularities in the Location of Economic Activity: A North America-Wide Analysis of the Spatial Distrivution of High=order Services and manufacturing"/A la Recherche De Grandes Regularites Dans la Localisation De L'activite Economiqu. Analyse Du Tertiaire Superieur et De L'industrie Manufacturiere Pour L'espace Nord-Americaine

Academic journal article Canadian Journal of Regional Science

In Search of Regularities in the Location of Economic Activity: A North America-Wide Analysis of the Spatial Distrivution of High=order Services and manufacturing"/A la Recherche De Grandes Regularites Dans la Localisation De L'activite Economiqu. Analyse Du Tertiaire Superieur et De L'industrie Manufacturiere Pour L'espace Nord-Americaine

Article excerpt

This article looks at the distribution of high-order services and manufacturing in North America--the United States and Canada--using a centre-periphery framework. The U.S. and Canada now use a common industrial classification system (NAICS), one of the results of NAFTA, making it possible to study industry location patterns at the continental level. Using a common data set integrated into a GIS system covering all North American space, spatial units are grouped according to urban size (MSAs and CMAs in the U.S. and CMAs in Canada) and according to distance from metropolitan areas. A common geography was created below the metropolitan level for all remaining units, whether urban or rural. The spatial distribution of employment in high-order services and manufacturing is then examined, using location quotients (LQ), applied to various urban-size thresholds. The results are also disaggregated by region (5 regions in ail), with an analysis of variance to test for the sensibility of results--variations in LQ values between observations--to size and distance differences and to regional distinctions.

The results show the following: High-order services show a predictable hierarchical distribution declining with size; the distribution generally holds for all service classes considered and is largely unaffected by regional differences. However, professional, scientific, and technical services vary the most systematically with size, with the highest relative concentrations in the very largest urban areas: populations over 4.5 million, which includes only one Canadian observation (Toronto). Manufacturing activity tends to cluster in small and mid-sized cities near large metropolitan areas, i.e. falling within a 90 minute travel-time threshold. The relevant population threshold (after which manufacturing is 'crowded out' to smaller towns) is in the order of 500,000.

However, unlike high-order services, manufacturing distributions are very sensitive to regional distinctions. The introduction of a regional dimension considerably improves the percentage of variance explained, a sign that manufacturing does not necessarily follow the same pattern everywhere. The decentralization of manufacturing to small cities--lying beyond the 90 minute travel-time threshold--is, for example, much more prevalent in the north-eastern U.S. than in Canada or the American West. The spatial structures of local urban systems as well as their density are crucial factors. Many parts of the American West as well as Canada are sparsely settled with few mid-sized cities outside the major centres, and also far from major (dense) trade corridors. Being "far" or "small" does not result in the same outcomes everywhere. Being "peripheral" in much of Canada does not have the same meaning as being "peripheral" in the north-eastern U.S., which in the end leads us to reflect on the significance of the centre-periphery dichotomy and on the implications of our results for public policy.

Grace a la mise en place d'un syste me de classification industrielle harmonise (SCIAN) pour l'ensemble de l'Amerique du Nord, il est desormais possible de produire des analyses a l'echelle du continent pour des secteurs comparables d'activite economique. Dans cette etude, nous proposons une analyse Etats-Unis/Canada pour la periode 2000/01 de la localisation des activites du tertiaire superieur et du secteur manufacturier. Nous examinons la distribution territoriale de l'emploi dans ces secteurs a travers deux dimensions. Une premie re dimension, que nous appelons la dimension spatiale, fait appel a un decoupage centre-peripherie, en regroupant les observations spatiales (zones urbaines de tailles diverses; zones rurales) selon la taille et la distance. La deuxie me dimension, la dimension regionale, tient compte des differences a une echelle plus geographiquement etendue, en divisant le continent en cinq regions. Les services superieurs epousent, en gros, une distribution hierarchique, conforme au mode le << classique >>, peu sensible a la dimension regionale. …

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