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Industrial Location Economics

Edited by Philip McCann

Because space is not homogenous, economic activities occur in different locations. Understanding the reasons behind this and understanding exactly how industries are spatially organized is the central theme of this book. Industrial Location Economics discusses different aspects of industrial location behaviour from a variety of theoretical and empirical perspectives. Each of the analytical traditions provides insights into the nature of industrial location behaviour and the factors which can influence it.
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Chapter 2: The Location of Economic Activity: Central Place Theory and the Wider Urban System

John B. Parr


John B. Parr University of Glasgow, UK 1. INTRODUCTION As will be apparent from its title, this chapter considers the question of industrial location within the context of the urban system. Indeed, the notion of the urban system (its structure and development) will form the central focus of the discussion. However, in contrast to a number of other chapters in this volume, the question of industrial location will not be confined to manufacturing activity. When we talk about the ‘urban system’, we are focusing attention on the collectivity of urban centres within a defined territory (for example a region or a nation) and the interrelationships among these centres. Such a perspective is a relatively new one, which emerged between the two world wars. Before this the usual focus was either on the individual city or on cities in cross-sectional terms, including how various economic and social phenomena varied with city size. The urban-system perspective thus provides a complementary view of the urban realm, and one which is ultimately more powerful than the previous two. It may be useful at the outset to consider the broad dimensions of the urban system. These have been discussed in some detail by Reiner and Parr (1980) and are summarized as follows: first, the size of the various urban centres and the nature of their size distribution; second, the location of urban centres in space, whether an abstract economic space or a geographic space; third, the functional structure of urban centres and the...

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