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Revisiting the “City Life Cycle”: Global Urbanization and Implications for Regional Development

Sirio Cividino (), Rares Halbac-Cotoara-Zamfir () and Luca Salvati ()
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Sirio Cividino: Department of Agriculture, University of Udine, Via del Cotonificio 114, I-33100 Udine, Italy
Rares Halbac-Cotoara-Zamfir: Department of Overland Communication Ways, Foundation and Cadastral Survey, Politehnica University of Timisoara, 1A I. Curea Street, 300224 Timisoara, Romania
Luca Salvati: Council for Agricultural Research and Economics (CREA), Viale S. Margherita 80, I-52100 Arezzo, Italy

Sustainability, 2020, vol. 12, issue 3, 1-18

Abstract: A comparative, diachronic analysis of urban population dynamics allows for the identification of specific demographic trajectories influencing metropolitan expansion worldwide. However, a wide-ranging characterization of long-term population trends in metropolitan areas identifying sequential urban cycles with distinctive demographic dynamics is still incomplete. By hypothesizing a trade-off between ‘fast’ and ‘slow’ population dynamics that reflect ‘high’ and ‘low’ fertility regimes in both advanced and emerging economies, the present work investigates the relationship between city size (considering absolute population) and population growth rate in 1857 metropolitan agglomerations (>300,000 inhabitants in 2014) of 154 countries across the globe. Analysis covers a relatively long time period (1950–2030) and uses descriptive statistics (average and coefficient of variation) of the spatial series of population growth rates derived from United Nations demographics by metropolitan agglomeration and time interval. The results of our study indicate that metropolitan growth was associated with highly variable rates of population growth, being highly positive before 2000 and declining progressively in the subsequent decades. Despite important differences at the regional scale, an inverse relationship between population growth and city size was observed up to the late 1990s, with a higher spatial heterogeneity reflecting a moderate slowdown in demographic dynamics during recent years. Rapid population expansion dependent on city size and a higher spatial heterogeneity in growth rates insensitive to city size, evidence distinct metropolitan cycles reflecting worldwide transition from high to low fertility, ageing, and more unpredictable migration patterns.

Keywords: population trends; urban growth; global cities; world population statistics; metropolization (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: Q Q0 Q2 Q3 Q5 Q56 O13 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2020
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