AAG ANNUAL MEETING
8-12 APRIL 2014
Celine Vacchiani-Marcuzzo (UMR Géographie-Cités, University of Reims)
Fabien Paulus (University of Strasbourg)
Denise Pumain, University of Paris 1, UMR Géographie-cités, Paris
Analyses in terms of scaling laws have contributed to renew the global conception of urban systems. Scaling laws attempt to link observations of non-linear relationships between various attributes of subsystems (size, functional diversity) to processes of growth and forms of circulation of energy (or information) in these systems. They are thus very useful to reveal the linkages between the size of the cities, the diversity and the complexity of their functions and their capacity to innovate or capture innovation, and to draw urban trajectories inside longitudinal analysis.
Among alternative explanations that have been suggested by other disciplines like physics or economics, we want to discuss geographical interpretation that link the expression of scaling laws to the processes of urban evolution. We want to explore in different geographical and historical contexts how the processes accumulating population and concentrating economic activities in cities are shaping the hierarchical differentiation of cities in urban systems.
We seek papers that bring about new knowledge on the main structural dimensions of urban systems in terms of hierarchical and functional differentiation, in order to present crossed analysis of several urban systems with contrasted histories.
To contribute in an innovative way to the construction of an evolutionary theory for cities and to support forecasts about the dynamics of city systems, it is necessary to observe their demographic and economic behaviour over the longest possible time-spans. At the same time, observations made in different countries lead to test whether the dynamics of urban change are comparable or if they are specific.
The main questions to be discussed could be:
· Can we observe scaling law of urban activities in every country? Are the exponent values similar? Which kind of processes can be suggested for explaining their differences?
· Are the location processes, and their results in terms of functional diversity among cities, comparable from one country to another?
· To what extent is it possible to link the evolution of scaling exponents over time to the innovation waves?
· How to use the observed scaling relationships for improving the forecasts about further urban development?