City of Cities? Finding selective cityness in the territories of metropolisation

Authors: Rodrigo Viseu Cardoso*, Delft University of Technology, Evert J Meijers, Delft University of Technology
Topics: Urban Geography, Urban and Regional Planning
Keywords: Second-tier cities, urban functions, cosmopolitanism, geodemographics, metropolisation
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/3/2019
Start / End Time: 8:00 AM / 9:40 AM
Room: Regency Ballroom, Omni, West
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Urban regions are engaging in processes of functional, institutional and spatial integration often labelled as metropolisation. As a development strategy aimed at harnessing such processes, metropolisation can expand the socioeconomic benefits of urbanisation to territories larger than cities themselves, relying on networks between places as substitutes for agglomeration. Dynamics of borrowed size emerge across the network, and secondary places outside core cities can access a higher level of agglomeration economies, as the necessary resources operating at the urban region scale become available to them.
Research on these dynamics has often focused on the economic performance and agency of the different cities in an urban region. However, there are other measurements of urban success that affect liveability and the attractiveness of cities for people, firms and investments. Cities can score highly in economic indicators while lacking other important qualities of urban environments, here broadly called ‘cityness’. This paper focuses on two related features associated with (Western) cityness, which arguably influence urban attractiveness, and are typically mobilised as strategic aims of policymakers and planners: consumption, the presence of representative urban functions and consumer amenities; and cosmopolitanism, a socially heterogeneous and diverse demographic composition.
Using eight UK urban regions as case studies and detailed datasets about urban functions and geodemographic composition, this paper analyses where secondary cities stand regarding their ability to host amenities and support cosmopolitanism. The research clarifies inter-urban relations within urban regions, discusses the role of path dependence, and evaluates the prospects of different places to access borrowed size dynamics.

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