Intra-Metropolitan Linkages in a Polycentric Metropolis

Stefan Rayer, University of Massachusetts
David L. Brown, Cornell University

This study focuses on the intra-metropolitan linkages that exist with respect to demographic and socioeconomic change in the Boston CMSA. The analysis is motivated by the suburban dependency hypothesis. Commuting flow data at the minor civil division level are used to measure intra-metropolitan linkages. Our measurement of intra-metropolitan linkages goes beyond the traditional city-suburb dichotomy. Following prior research, we use correlation models to examine the intra-metropolitan linkages. However, we expand on these conventional approaches by attempting to determine the directionality of the interactions within the metropolitan region. We find that the results depend to a significant extent on the allocation scheme used to link places in the metropolitan area. The results are also sensitive to the choice of the unit of analysis. The decentralized nature of metropolitan employment and the increased prevalence of intra-metropolitan commuting have made the measurement of intra-metropolitan linkages more difficult. Model specification choices, therefore, have become even more critical.

Presented in Session 26: Urbanization and Development