Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Mapping mega-regions in a spiky world

While Garreau's book is a fun read it always was a stylistic/ impressionistic interpretation of the similarities between areas particularly of the US. His understanding of Canada even back then reads as being thin and times have certainly changed. For one thing there is more data avaialable than ever before, so it is now beginning to be possible to conduct more rigorous analysis.

Two authors that I have been reading lately are John Short (2007) and Nordhaus (2009). Short's book "Liquid City" is a detailed analysis of the North East conurbation encompassing Boston to Washinton. His maps and analysis is very interesting.

On the other hand Nordhaus who is a professor at Yale and mostly writes on climate change has been working for several years on developing economic geography data for realtively small geographic spaces (not administrative regions such as states or provinces) and then maps the the data with GIS software. His work truly shows how skiky the world really is. His work is the basis for a substantial part of the recent World Development report and he has a journal article in The B.E. Journal of Economic Analsis and Policy (2009 Vol 9 iss 2 p1-12). A substantial part of the project, it seems, is on the web. If your interested take a look at the graphic for Canada. the atoll nature of the Canadian economy is clearly observable.