Would the proposed ‘network of cities’ strategy help defuse the functional command of Tel Aviv, Israel’s ‘first city’, and would it diminish its role as the sole national anchor to the global economy? Would a network-of-cities strategy produce secondary regional anchors to the global economy? It is argued that regardless of the evolution of a new national urban structure, the first city, through a process of continuous upgrading, would retain its dominating position at the top of the networked hierarchy and continue in its role as the major anchor of the nation’s economy in the global market.
The long established ‘polarization’ and ‘spread’ processes, portrayed by Myrdal and Hirshman in the mid-1950s, serve to suggest that through a continuous reciprocal course of polarization and spread, dwindling local production factors—land, labor and capital—tend to create in the first city entry thresholds for higher-status activities, particularly of the quinary and the quaternary sectors, which are capable of paying for the increased outlays of the diminishing production factors. At the same time, a process of reduced costs of local production factors results in the exodus of lower status functions and other activities from the first city. Such an exodus may help the long aspired-to enrichment cycle of the functional makeup of the nation’s secondary metropolitan regions and of lower level urban nodes linked to them. This progression, illustrated as phases II and III of Friedmann’s core-periphery model, would lead at the end of the cyclical course to the development of a hierarchy of urban anchors linking the nation’s economy at large with the global milieu. The impact of the contemporary global economic crisis is examined. The envisaged outcome of the ‘network of cities’ strategy notwithstanding, the first city will continue to preserve its lead at the top of the networked system hierarchy. Israel’s urban structure is used as a case study.
|Keywords:||First City, World City, Polarization, Spread, Production Factors, Saturation, Upgrading, Growth Centers, Global Economic Crisis|
Professor Emeritus, Department of Geography and Environmental Studies, University of Haifa and Academic Center Carmel, Haifa, Haifa, Israel
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