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Modeling Cities and Regions As Complex SystemsFrom Theory to Planning Applications$
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Roger White, Guy Engelen, and Inge Uljee

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780262029568

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: May 2016

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262029568.001.0001

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Urban Systems and Spatial Competition

Urban Systems and Spatial Competition

(p.65) 4 Urban Systems and Spatial Competition
Modeling Cities and Regions As Complex Systems

Roger White

Guy Engelen

Inge Uljee

The MIT Press

The structure of a system of retail centres as described by their size, composition, and location, is a result of competition among the centres for customers. The evolution of the system is described by a set of cost and revenue equations. The revenue equations include a distance decay parameter. When this parameter is below a critical value, retail activity tends to agglomerate in a major, centrally located centre; otherwise, it tends to be dispersed among a number of similar centres. This fundamental bifurcation appears in actual retail systems. It underlies such phenomena as itinerant medieval trade fairs, the historical migration of the major retail centre of cities like London and New York, and innovations like the department store, the regional mall, and power centres. Since a lower distance decay parameter is associated with higher energy densities, a direct link is established between spatial structure, energy, and technology.

Keywords:   Retail system, Distance decay parameter, Agglomeration and dispersal, Spatial structure, Energy density, Bifurcation

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