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Testing the differential urbanisation model in Great Britain, 1901–91

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This paper tests the relevance of the differential urbanisation model for depicting the spatial urban development of Great Britain. Population change is studied for eight, mainly decade–long, periods from 1901 to 1991 using a version of the Centre for Urban and Regional Development Studies (CURDS) Functional Regions framework. Rates of population growth are calculated for a Britain–wide classification of settlements based on population size and for a six–fold typology based on status within the national urban hierarchy. The differential urbanisation model is then tested for Great Britain as a whole and for four broad regional divisions. The results suggest that the British urban system had very largely moved beyond the urbanisation stage by the beginning of the twentieth century and that counter–urbanisation was the prevailing pattern before mid century.

Keywords: Great Britain; differential urbanisation model; functional regions; polarisation reversal; population change; urban hierarchy

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: University of Newcastle upon Tyne, UK

Publication date: 2003-02-01

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