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International Handbook of Urban Systems

Studies of Urbanization and Migration in Advanced and Developing Countries

Edited by H. S. Geyer

This authoritative Handbook provides a comprehensive account of migration and economic development throughout the world, in both developed and developing countries. Some of the world’s most experienced researchers in this field look at how population redistribution patterns have impacted on urban development in a wide selection of advanced and developing countries in all the major regions of the world over the past half century.
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Chapter 7: Urbanization in Germany before and after unification

P. Gans and F.J Kemper


P. Gans and F. J. Kemper INTRODUCTION At the end of 1998 Germany registered a population of 82 million, 71.8 per cent of them living in settlements of more than 10,000 people and 30.7 per cent in cities with more than 100,000 inhabitants. Figure 7.1 verifies the relatively high proportion of the population in medium sized settlements. The relation between rank and size of the larger cities in Figure 7.2 indicates an almost ideal distribution according to Zipf s model. Berlin with 3.44 million inhabitants, the biggest city in Germany, cannot be regarded as a primate city. Hamburg (1.70 million), Munich (1.2 1 million), Cologne (0.96 million) and FrankfUrtMain (0.64 million) fill positions 2 to 5 in the rank-size order. There are several reasons why a functional distinction can be drawn between these centres, all of which are centres of international importance (Blotevogel, 1998). Firstly, in comparison to many other European countries, Germany is a relatively young national state. Before 1871 Germany was largely regarded as a linguistic-culturally defined community with strong regional identities. The capitals of former historically independent territories such as Heidelberg, Weimar or Gotha and their associated local urban systems, which together form part of the current German urban system, resulted in an extraordinarily wide variety of regional city types in terms of historical heritage, function and size. Secondly, traces of this historically based territorial organization are still recognizable in the present federal structure of Germany, with relatively positive prospects for the state capitals, for...

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