Spatial Dynamics in the Urban Century
Edited by Karima Kourtit, Peter Nijkamp and Roger R. Stough
Cities all over the world are in a state of flux and tend to exhibit in most cases a steadily growing pattern. Apart from a few exceptions (‘shrinking cities’, ‘cities in decline’), the global map shows an increasing urbanization. Clearly, cities may turn into diffuse urban agglomerations (including suburban urban areas, poly-nuclear satellites), but the trend is undeniably towards a rise in urbanized settlement patterns. This trend is caused by the fact that urban areas may be characterized as powerhouses with unprecedented agglomeration benefits of all kind (see e.g. Combes et al., 2012). Of course, there are also negative agglomeration advantages (see e.g. Fragkias et al., 2013), but as long as the positive advantages supersede the negative ones, the urbanization trend will continue (see Kourtit, 2014a,b,c; Kourtit and Nijkamp, 2015; Van Geenhuizen and Nijkamp, 2012; Nijkamp, 2008). The conceptualization and measurement of agglomeration (dis)advantages has prompted a wealth of urban-economic research (see e.g. Duranton and Puga, 2014; Glaeser, 1998; Henderson, 2010). In addition to standard economic agglomeration indices, alternative, mainly non-economic, indicators have been developed, such as the Human Development Index (HDI) and the Happy Planet Index (HPI). These indicators are rather informative, but deserve to receive a more specific urban focus. It is evident that the spatial influx of people and activities into urban agglomerations presupposes high agglomeration benefits, while such benefits prompt in turn new waves of people and economic activity into urban areas.
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