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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 16: Evolution and maturing of the Mexican urban system

A.G Aguilar and B. Graizbord


A. G. Aguilar and B. Graizbord’ INTRODUCTION Urbanization associated with developing countries over the last five decades has been one of rapid urban growth and rural to urban migration flows. In the larger developing countries urban concentration accelerated after the Second World War, due to advances in the industrialization process. Industrialization, considered to be an indispensable factor for the ‘take off in economic development, tends to concentrate in a limited number of cities, if not in one only, and urban primacy became a common feature, particularly in Latin America. However, after the 1970s signals of a new stage in the evolution of the urban system from a very concentrated pattern to decentralization and polarization reversal started to appear in certain countries in Latin America. As Leven (1990:182), suggested ‘the advantages of larger size are not limitless; eventually certain disadvantages of size would emerge and, depending on circumstances, the net advantages of scale would be reached at some finite population. ’ The theoretical insight offered by Leven in such a parsimonious statement justifies an investigation into (i) changes in the Mexican urban system, (ii) the way cities have changed in size and function, and (iii) how the urban The authors gratefully acknowledge the contribution of Irma Escamilla, Clemencia Santos, and Milton Montejano in the analysis of the data and in the compilation of the figures. ’ 419 420 International Handbook of Urban Systems population has evolved in terms of its socio-economic and demographic attributes. As technological and organizational changes occur...

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