For most urban economists the standard theoretical model for comprehending the economic activities shaping the disposition of urban space is largely a monocentric construct. At its center is a central business district, radiating out from which are gradients measuring changes in land rents, density, and housing prices as a function of linear distance, while communications, transportation, and commuting costs are similarly measured, the efficiency of each linked to the linear distance covered.
In this paper I will take up two broad objections to this approach. The first involves the potential primacy of the topological over the topographical - communication and transportation networks, among others - may matter more than geographical distance or position. The second challenges the economic efficiencies that underlie the disposition of urban space described above, as they depend upon the unfettered mobility of all pertinent economic agents, while the essence of urban life is typically found in the lack of mobility, whether it be in the desire to maintain housing security, commercial stability, or to sustain neighborhood cohesion and a sense of community.
Would it be then possible to imagine a different configuration of urban space for the contemporary global city when these two objections are taken into account?
|Keywords:||Monocentric Model, Metric Distance, Topology, Economic Mobility, Housing Security, Neighborhood Cohesion|
Professor of Economics, Department of Economics, History, and Political Science, Fitchburg State University, Fitchburg, Massachusetts, USA