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Metropolitan Spatial Structure: Measuring the Change
Knapp, Gerrit J
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Since 1990s the metropolitan spatial structure has been alleged to be growing smarter. Excessive suburbanization trends characterizing urban form since the Second World War are now believed to be reversing in favor of urban environment. The reversal is driven by changing household preferences as well as a series of changes that urban areas have gone through which make them more attractive living environments for some demographic groups. This is a dissertation consisting of three related essays which examine change in the metropolitan spatial structure over the past two decades to determine if suggested changes are in fact observable in urban form. In measuring change, I consider a number of measures that characterize urban form, particularly density, concentration, clustering, infill and growth allocation of urban growth. Given the prevalence of foreclosure crisis in the later part of the first millennium decade, I also explore the impact of urban form on accumulation of foreclosures as an indicator of future spatial structure change. The study finds two different trends at force facing the American metropolitan spatial structure. For the metropolitan areas with weak growth pressures or those loosing population since 1990, suburbanization trends continue to define spatial structure. However, in the metropolitan areas that are facing moderate and strong population growth pressures and constituting the majority of the largest urban areas in the U.S., the importance of urban center is ever more significant and their spatial structure is greatly dependent on denser urban form. Desirability for urban environment also manifested itself in the spatial distribution of foreclosures in Maryland.