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edge city

  A term coined by an American journalist, Joel Garreau (1991), to describe the new foci of metropolitan life in the USA, as downtowns there (see central business district) have declined not only as centres of consumption — a process that began several decades ago — but also as centres of production: thus

First we moved our homes out past the traditional idea of what constituted a city … Then we wearied of returning downtown for the necessities of life, so we moved our marketplaces out to where we lived … Today, we have moved our means of creating wealth, the essence of urbanism — our jobs — out to where most of us have lived and shopped for two generations.These \'new urban complexes\' are the edge cities, so-called because they are at the frontiers of urbanized areas:

Cities, because they contain all the functions a city ever has, albeit in a spread-out form that few have come to recognize for what it is. Edge, because they are a vigorous world of pioneers and immigrants, rising far from the old downtowns, where little save villages or farmland lay only thirty years ago.Garreau suggested five criteria for identifying an edge city:

{img src=show_image.php?name=2022.gif } More than 5 million sq. feet of office space — the workplaces of the information age; {img src=show_image.php?name=2022.gif } More than 600,000 sq. feet of retail space; {img src=show_image.php?name=2022.gif } More jobs than bedrooms; {img src=show_image.php?name=2022.gif } Perceived by the population as one place; and {img src=show_image.php?name=2022.gif } Less than thirty years old.He identified more than 200 places meeting these criteria (including 16 fully-fledged edge cities in the Los Angeles area and a further seven \'emerging edge cities\' and 15 and seven respectively around Washington, D.C.); they were presented as reflecting the continued transformation of American society, of the continued presence of the \'frontier spirit\' which involves continually \'reinventing ourselves\' (cf. decentralization). (RJJ)

Reference Garreau, J. 1991: Edge city: life on the new frontier. New York: Doubleday.



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