City Region and Regionalism: A Geographical Contribution to Human Ecology

By Robert E. Dickinson | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 7
THE CITY-REGION IN THE UNITED STATES

I. THE CITY OR METROPOLITAN REGION

The influence of the metropolitan city extends well beyond the limits of its settlement area to a vaguely defined tributary or trade area, or hinterland. This trade area, however vague it may be as to extent, has become much more effective and influential with the development of the complexities of modern civilization. This is mainly due to the addition of numerous nation-wide services, which demand large city centres as their seats of operations, near to the great masses of population and accessible to the whole of the surrounding territory so as to effect a nation-wide coverage for the particular needs with which the services are concerned. It is also due to the increasing concentration of the best and most exclusive commercial, cultural and social services in the greatest cities. So important are these metropolitan regions that they are used by a great variety of concerns as units and they have also been seriously put forward as potential new political units and planning units. For a nation-wide division, however, they have been rejected in recent studies in the United States as planning units. But though too specialized as social units to serve the wide range of demands as planning units, they are of the greatest importance in the United States as in other countries for two main reasons. They are the most important single regionalizing force in the social organization of modern society. All aspects of so-called regional and physical planning, all measures for dealing with social problems and all questions of the delimitation of new political and administrative areas require the recognition of these regions. This chapter will attempt to indicate their characteristics as socio-economic units.

The importance of the metropolitan region from the standpoint of business organization is strikingly evident in the business practices of the United States. Numerous concerns have sought to parcel out the whole country into areas dependent on cities for their own particular interests. In general, their investigations contain maps showing such data as the following: "news

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