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Urban Concentration and Primacy in Asia

Asia-Pacific is emerging in the spotlight for the extent of the primacy of its capital cities. The mega cities of Tokyo, Beijing, Seoul and Jakarta each have close to or more than 10 million residents each, making them larger than some countries. This disparity in size is even more apparent when comparing the capital cities to their next largest cities; many second cities amount to only a fraction of the size of the primate cities (Ho, Hsiao 2006). Various aspects of urbanization in primate cities – including the rapid growth of urban, especially metropolitan populations, rural-urban migration and the infrastructure needs generated by these trends – are problems that come hand-in-hand with being the most economically powerful city in the country.

Many authors have attempted to quantify the economic costs and benefits of urbanization, and this literature survey aims to outline a few varied approaches and conclusions. The full text can be found here. The sources used are:

  • Bertinelli, L., Black, D. (2004) Urbanization and Growth. Jounal of Urban Economics 56, pp. 80-96
  • Henderson, V. (2002). Urban primacy, external costs, and quality of life. Resource and Energy Economics, 24(1-2), 95-106.
  • Ho, K.C., and Hsiao, H.H. (2006) Capital Cities in Asia-Pacific: Primacy and Diversity. Taipei: Center for Asia-Pacific Area Studies,. Print.
  • Mera, K. (1975). On the urban agglomeration and economic efficiency. Economic Development and Cultural Change, 24(1), pp. 207-210. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/1152788
  • Simmons, A. B. (1979). Slowing metropolitan city growth in asia: Policies, programs, and results. Population and Development Review, 5(1), pp. 87-104. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/1972319
  • Yeung, Y. (1986). Controlling metropolitan growth in eastern asia. Geographical Review, 76(2, Thematic Issue: Asian Urbanization), pp. 125-137. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/214619
  • Zhao, P. (2011). Managing urban growth in a transforming china: Evidence from beijing. Land use Policy, 28(1), pp. 96-109.

By Sarah Chan