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centrifugal and centripetal forces

  Term adapted from physics by C.C. Colby (1932) to describe two counteracting forces generating patterns of land use change within urban areas. Centrifugal forces push households and businesses away from the congested, polluted, high density and expensive inner city areas towards the suburbs and beyond (see also counterurbanization; decentralization; sprawl); centripetal forces attract them towards the centre for the benefits of accessibility and agglomeration (see gentrification). The balance of these two forces at any period determines the evolution of the urban morphology. (RJJ)

Reference Colby, C.C. 1932: Centripetal and centrifugal forces in urban geography. Annals of the Association of American Geographics 23: 1-20.



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