The Rise of the City

The Rise of the City

Spatial Dynamics in the Urban Century

New Horizons in Regional Science series

Edited by Karima Kourtit, Peter Nijkamp and Roger R. Stough

This book examines urban growth and the dynamics that are transforming the city and city regions in the 21st century focusing specifically on the spatial aspects of this process in the “Urban Century”. Forces that are driving city growth include agglomeration spillovers, concentration of innovation and entrepreneurship, diversity of information and knowledge resources, and better amenities and higher wages. These benefits produce a positive reinforcing system that attracts more people with new ideas and information, fuelling innovation, new products and services and more high-wage jobs, thereby attracting more people. Such growth also produces undesirable effects such as air and water pollution, poverty, congestion and crowding. These combined factors both impact and change the geography and spatial dynamics of the city. These transformations and the public policies that may be critical to the quality of life, both today and in the future, are the substance of this book.

Chapter 10: An accessibility index for the Metropolitan Region of São Paulo

Renato S. Vieira and Eduardo A. Haddad

Subjects: economics and finance, economics of innovation, urban economics, geography, cities, urban and regional studies, cities, urban economics


According to Spiekermann and Neubauer (2002), accessibility is the most important factor in defining the locational advantage of one region over others. As stated by Carruthers and Lawson (1995), urban accessibility is a relevant aspect of population welfare, and the importance of accessibility increases as societies become more urbanized. However, in the metropolitan regions of the developing nations, the poorer households usually settle on the periphery, where they face a lack of opportunities and higher transportation costs (Vasconcellos, 1999). As the biggest metropolitan area in Brazil, São Paulo is a clear example of this problem. As observed by Villaça (2011), the central southwestern quadrant of the city is inhabited by rich people, and it is also the area with the highest concentration of employment and urban services. On the other hand, the poorer households (the majority of population) reside on the periphery, which are areas with low density of employment, forcing the majority of the population to commute from the city edges (where they live) to downtown São Paulo (where they work). In addition, as stated by Rolnik and Klintowitz (2011), the transport infrastructure of São Paulo privileges the private vehicle mode, with large avenues and urban highways exclusively for cars; meanwhile, the public system was never a priority for city planners. As a result, São Paulo has an inadequate public transportation system. Summing up the accessibility problem, the wealthy live in central areas, very close to their jobs, and use their private vehicles on high speed avenues.

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