Modeling the Dynamics of Urban Growth

in Ancient Mesopotamia at the Dawn of Civilization

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print November 2008 | ISBN: 9780226013770
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226013787 | DOI:
Modeling the Dynamics of Urban Growth

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This chapter examines models of modern urban growth. It looks back at the ideas proposed by economist David Ricardo almost two centuries ago about the importance of trade for economic development and the role of comparative advantage between regions as a spur to trade. It also considers the ideas of Jane Jacobs on how trade spurs and sustains settlement growth; the work of Paul Krugman and other adherents of the self-styled “new economic geography” explaining how unequal gains from trade structure differentially complex urban systems; and the work of Gunnar Myrdal explaining the mechanisms that allow systems of cities to expand, once created, and thus become the primary motor of development in the regions they occupy. Their views, when combined, provide an explicitly evolutionary perspective on the origins and development of cities that adds much to the analytical schema that have characterized the study of early Near Eastern urban origins thus far, which, as noted in Chapter 2, are largely descriptive in nature and devoid of a historical dimension.

Keywords: urban development; David Ricardo; Jane Jacobs; trade; settlement growth; Paul Krugman; economic geography; Gunnar Myrdal

Chapter.  4684 words. 

Subjects: Ancient History (Non-Classical, to 500 CE)

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