The validity of the monocentric city model in a polycentric age: US metropolitan areas in 1990, 2000 and 2010

2014-10-03T00:00:00Z (GMT) by Daniel Arribas-Bel Fernando Sanz-Gracia

In this article, we use local indicators of spatial association (LISA) and other spatial analysis techniques to analyze the distribution of centers with high employment density within metropolitan areas. We examine the 359 metropolitan areas across the United States at three points in time (1990, 2000, and 2010) to provide a spatio-temporal panoramic of urban spatial structure. Our analysis highlights three key findings. (1) The monocentric structure persists in a majority of metropolitan areas: 56.5% in 1990, 64.1% in 2000, and 57.7% in 2010. (2) The pattern of employment centers remains stable for most metropolitan areas: the number of centers remained the same for 74.9% of metropolitan areas between 1990 and 2000 and for 85.2% between 2000 and 2010. (3) Compared with monocentric metropolitan areas, polycentric metros are larger and more dense, with higher per-capita incomes and lower poverty rates.