Regional Geography 105
Metropolitan Growth


Epochs of Metropolitan Evolution

Theory of metropolitan evolution (based on transportation and industrial energy)
Proposed by John Borchert in 1967.

Sail-Wagon Epoch, 1790-1830

Pre-industrial epoch.
Transportation was slow, restricted to overland travel (wagon and horse) and waterways (sailing vessels).
Trade was heavily oriented towards Europe.
Interior portions of the country were still mostly inaccessible.
Leading cities at that time were Boston, New York and Philadelphia.
These cities were not yet Primate Cities - not large enough yet.

Primate City

Exceptionally large cities which are expressive of national capacity and feeling.
Not a fixed population size - based on a comparison of the ratio of the population in one city to another.

Iron Horse Epoch, 1830-1870

Second stage - beginnings of the Industrial Revolution in North America.
Major development was introduction and spread of steam powered railroad.
Nationwide transportation system begins to develop.
1869 - first transcontinental railroad is completed.
Faster and easier transportation helped to foster industrialization.
Coal industry grows.
Cheaper, easier transportation of raw materials allows manufacturing to develop westward from the East Coast.
- Pittsburgh, Detroit and Chicago.
New York City becomes a Primate City in 1830.

Steel-Rail Epoch, 1870-1920

Major advancement of the Industrial Revolution in North America.
National metropolitan system development occurs.
Steel industry plays a major role in defining this epoch.
Iron rails are replaced by steel rails.
Allows for higher travel speeds, heavier loads, and cheaper transportation.
Steel industries - Chicago-Detroit-Pittsburgh axis

Factors controlling where industrial centers develop:
1)
2)
3)
4)

Steel industries location develops in response to the location of raw materials.
What two materials are needed to make steel?

Time-Space Convergence

Apparent shortening of distances by means of faster travel and faster communications.
Rail travel cut the travel time across the United States from months to a week.
Telegraph communications meant nearly instantaneous exchange of information.

Auto-Air-Amenity Epoch, 1920-1970

Continued improvements in transportation.
1876 - internal combustion engine is invented.
Internal combustion engines improved and used in cars, tucks, locomotives, airplanes and ships.
Henry Ford's production line assembly method led to increased automation in manufacturing - increased productivity
As a result of this more jobs were created to manage the industrial economy.
Separation of White Collar workers (management) and Blue Collar workers (skilled and unskilled factory labor)
White collar professions meant higher income.
Higher income leads to the purchasing of nicer possessions, bigger homes, homes located on the margins of the industrial cities (suburbs).

Shifting Populations

Throughout these first four epochs populations have shifted within the realm.
Major migration westward – nationwide.
Urban Migration
1) Initially movement was towards industrial centers.
2) Development of white collar professions redirected this movement.

Megalopolis Growth

Megalopolis - merging of multiple cities to form a continuous urban landscape.

Washington D.C.

Unique city
- developed as a seat of government
Major development during WWII

Satellite-Electronic-Jet Propulsion Epoch, 1970-?

1939 - first turbo-jet engine airplane
1939 - first electronic computer
1944 - first digital computer
1957 - Sputnik I launched by the USSR – marks beginning of the Space Age

“Post-Industrial” Epoch
Post-industrial society characterized by:
Production and manipulation of information/data
Services
High-tech manufacturing
Global economies - international business and travel

Since 1970, what are the major trends in:
Transportation?

Communication?

Technology?

Metropolitan evolution?