L’Espace géographique 4/96

Without summaries

Jack SOMMER. United States urban policy. Après le déluge.

The national elections of 1994 in the United States have created a very different dynamic for consideration of urban policy from that envisioned by the previous Democrat-controlled Congress and the Democrat-held Presidency. Prospects for wealth transfers from the suburbs to the central cities have been dramatically diminished as austere budgets are being developed to the majority Republicans. These changes are manifestations of the demographic shift of the plurality of Americans to the suburbs where more live than in either the central cities or the rural areas. This reflects the relative affluence and mobility of the United States population and a general revulsion of ill-managed urban centers where government has failed to protect person and property effectively. Challenges for the Nineties include the discovery of new economic rationales for distressed urban centers and adherence to economic rather than political principles to aid the people in these places rather than the places themselves. These challenges might best be met by reprivatizing the urban economy creating competition within public service providing organizations, and protecting the life and property of center city dwellers so they may engage in productive exchange without fear.

Roger STOUGH, Kingsley E. HAYNES, Harrison S. CAMPBELL Jr. Evolution of the netplex: the economic dynamics of the U.S. National Capital Region. (1 tabl., 2 fig.)

The Washington D.C., National Capital Region is surrounded by a series of edge cities. These edge cities developed rapidly in the 1980s and are tied to extensive commercial and retail centers within the larger urban field. Economically they focus on the delivery of high technology information-oriented services and are populated by small and medium sized firms. The region has been recently titled «the Netplex» because of its concentration on advanced information network technologies. An examination of the intra-regional differential associated with firm size, start up rates and industrial composition is evaluated. An assessment of the economic impact of the Netplex firms on the regional economy and selected policy issues are examined.

John REES. The new economic geography of the United States. (4 tabl.)

During the past quarter of a century (1976-1995), the United States have undergone some massive changes in their economy geography. The purpose of this paper is to review the structural changes in the American economy and how these have manifested themselves at the regional and metropolitan levels. At the regional scale, political changes in intergovernmental relations between the federal and state governments resulted in the individual states introducing policies to increase their own economic wealth, but the American economy is at the mercy of the global economy now more than ever, with a major structural change represented by the dominance of the service providing sectors.

William B. BEYERS, David P. LINDAHL. The growth and location of business services in the American economy. (4 fig.)

The transformation of the American economy towards a service dominated economy is shown to be related to the growth of a number of types of services. The business services are singled out in this paper due to their rapid growth rate, jobs quality, and stimulus to the economic base of regions. The growth of the business services is shown to be associated with the proliferation of business establishments, and through results of a survey of business service firms in urban and rural areas some understanding is provided of the factors explaining the growth of this business. Externalization is not found to be a major force, while the ongoing innovation of niche business concepts in the context of a rapidly changing information technology environment by entrepreneurs ready to strike out in business on their own is found to be a common developmental pathway. Far from being a sector in which work is boring or deskilling, performed by «paper pushers» and «data apes», we find human creativity is at work in an ongoing process of the social and detail division of labour.

James W. HARRINGTON, Jane DERBOGHOSSIAN, Dengjian JIN. State and local perspectives on United States commercial bank restructuring.

This paper explores the effects of interstate variation in regulatory practice and economic stability, during a period of rapid change in overall United States regulation of financial intermediaries. It illustrates the geographic outcomes of regulatory change and geographic influences on the pattern of industrial restructuring. Despite the mobility of capital, changes in the structure and regulation of financial intermediaries both reflect and affect local economic fortunes.

Lay James GIBSON. A multiple scale region approach for measuring development project impacts. (1 fig., 2 photos)

The Hualapai Indian Tribe in Arizona has made economic development a priority. A Linchpin of the Tribe's development program is the Grand Canyon West Project which is located on the South Rim of the Grand Canyon midway between the Grand Canyon National Park and Las Vegas, Nevada. This tourist-serving development could become a major source of revenue for the Tribe, its members, and for others in the Las Vegas-Grand Canyon Tourism region. The current and potential impacts of the Grand Canyon West Project are best understood when examined at different geographic scales. The net result is enhanced economic opportunity for an economically disadvantaged reservation community and economic spillovers for firms and individuals in the Las Vegas-Grand Canyon Tourism region. These economic benefits are already being realized and are expected to grow in the year ahead.

Jean-Claude ROUX. The eastern borders Bolivia: a cartography of the imaginary. A critical review of the first national map, that of 1859. (5 fig.)

Since its independence in 1825, Bolivia has been the country that has the most suffer from drastic teritorial reductions. In 1859, the first official map shows the Bolivian eastern territories of Amazonia and Chaco as being extremely extended. These territories had been claimed for after the Spanish colonial era and were free from population and development, but the Bolivian sovereignty over these regions was called into question by all its neighbours. The extraction of nitrate and rubber, and afterwards the projects of river and rail links that would have enabled the colonization of the unsettled territories resulted in Bolivia -- which is a sparsely-populated and lower-income country -- having to give up successively all these wide depopulated and unexploited border territories. The Chaco war of 1932 was the last stage of the process that had led Bolivia to experience a hemmed-in position -- a situation that deeply affects its population.

Sandrine BERROIR. Urban densities spaces: theories and modelling. (5 fig.)

The study of urban densities is now experiencing a renewal of interest. The resurgence of this field of study allows once again to question the roots of the identity and the future of cities, in light of the fragmentation of spatial configurations and the emergence of multipolar centrality. Despite its apparent simplicity, the concept of density is inclusive of enough essential aspects of urban characters to give a useful image of the internal structure of cities and, in light of spatial interaction, to allow to analyse the dynamics of urban growth. This paper is a review based on selected works which measure urban densities and modelize their distributions and their dynamics. On the one hand, these studies attempt to reveal the main features of the internal structure of urban space and, in order to do so, they focus on concentration and centrality processes. On the other hand, they also take care of locally based processes which generate an added complexity to global models.

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