Edited by Ben Derudder, Michael Hoyler, Peter J. Taylor and Frank Witlox
Chapter 46: Las Vegas: More than a One-dimensional World City?
Robert E. Lang and Christina Nicholas ORIGINS: BRIGHT LIGHT CITY There are many routes to world city status. Most places get there by being financial, trade or manufacturing hubs, or, as is the case with the biggest and most connected world cities, have a concentration of all three. Las Vegas took a different path. It achieved world city status via one key sector – entertainment. Las Vegas is one of the newest world cities to emerge. No one saw Las Vegas emerging as a world city. Even in the late 20th century few analysts predicted the region could ever achieve 1 million residents, let alone 2 million. One example of this is an analysis done by Jerome Pickard, a demographer at the Urban Land Institute in Washington, DC (Pickard, 1962, 1966). Pickard projected metropolitans expected to exceed 1 million residents by the turn of the millennium. His estimates were nearly perfect, but for one major exception – Las Vegas. It is easy to see why Pickard failed to predict a major metropolis forming in Southern Nevada. Sure, the region was booming. Just a few years earlier, Elvis Presley and AnnMargret had appeared in Viva Las Vegas!, a film that was essentially a booster’s guide to the city. The movie was a hit and helped put the city on the map – at least Hollywood’s map. By the 1960s even the mysterious but seldom miscalculating Howard Hughes had doubled down on Las Vegas, first taking up permanent residence and then buying the Desert Inn...
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