Indexing Urban Prosperity Risk & Evaluating Multi-scalar Economic Development: Spatial Patterns of Economic Growth and Social Equity in Eastern U.S. Mid-sized Metropolitan Areas

Authors: Dayne Walling*, University of Minnesota - Minneapolis, Richard Sadler, Michigan State University
Topics: Urban Geography, Regional Geography, Urban and Regional Planning
Keywords: economic development, social inequality, planning, regional studies, spatial analysis, urban geography
Session Type: Virtual Paper
Day: 4/9/2021
Start / End Time: 3:05 PM / 4:20 PM
Room: Virtual 6
Presentation File: Download



Abstract: Economic development theories and practice acknowledge the importance of spatial patterns and how they are linked at the national, regional, metropolitan, and local scales. Recent research shows that it is not only desirable but possible for places to achieve both high levels of economic performance and low levels of social inequities, however the scalar dimensions of these characteristics, their relationships, and the socio-spatial features of governance institutions, public policies, and development networks are under-researched. In order to conceptualize these issues and operationalize these questions, we developed a prosperity risk index with measures of municipal fragmentation, geographic sprawl, racial segregation, economic inequality, and overall poverty at the city, urbanized area, county, and core-based statistical area levels. Using PRIMED (prosperity risk index for evaluation multi-scalar economic development) alongside economic performance data for 117 mid-sized metropolitan areas in the Eastern US with a population between 250,000 and 2,500,000 illustrates the regional and metropolitan variability and unevenness that substantiates the value of scalar analysis. Furthermore, a group of 29 regions in 20 states clustering at the bottom of both risk and vulnerability rankings, including places that have experienced high levels of deindustrialization but also a number of others in the south, raises important questions about the policy and institutional innovation that is needed around equitable development in socially divided and economically depressed areas.

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