Legacy Regions, Not Legacy Cities: Growth and Decline in City-Centered Regional Economies

Posted: 27 Sep 2020

See all articles by Andrew Van Leuven

Andrew Van Leuven

Ohio State University - John Glenn College of Public Affairs

Edward (Ned) Hill

Ohio State University (OSU)

Date Written: August 12, 2020

Abstract

Advocates for older central cities increasingly refer to them as “legacy cities” in an attempt to shift policy discussions from their social liabilities to their economic assets. In examining this concept, we place U.S. central cities within the context of their regions and use cluster-discriminant analysis to distinguish between groups of regional economies. The cluster analysis subsets metropolitan areas according to their shared position on several theory-driven dimensions. The discriminate analysis identifies the variables that are most closely associated with the statistical grouping of each subset. The results are used to answer a series of questions: 1) Is population size a good proxy for agglomeration? 2) Do small legacy regions exist? 3) Does the typology of legacy regions provide insights about the economic performance of the clusters? Our findings suggest that the economic development paths of regional economies have to change before the future of central cities that experienced severe population losses can shift to a positive trajectory.

Keywords: urban decline, revitalization, clusters, legacy cities, economic development, regional economics, regional resilience, cluster-discriminant analysis

JEL Classification: C6, R11, R58

Suggested Citation

Van Leuven, Andrew and Hill, Edward, Legacy Regions, Not Legacy Cities: Growth and Decline in City-Centered Regional Economies (August 12, 2020). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3672696 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3672696

Andrew Van Leuven (Contact Author)

Ohio State University - John Glenn College of Public Affairs ( email )

1810 College Road North
Columbus, OH 43210
United States

Edward Hill

Ohio State University (OSU) ( email )

Blankenship Hall-2010
901 Woody Hayes Drive
Columbus, OH OH 43210
United States

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