Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Geography without borders

One of the goals of this blog to is took again geography and to question the taken for given visions of economies. One way of doing this is creating network diagrams (which I have used in my book), other perspectives are available on the Globalisation and World Cities website as they work on the networked nature of inter-city interactions. goto .

A further way of doing it is by using GIS software. Take for example the image of a Statistics Canada GIS software file that maps city regions in Canada.

Without borders of landmasses and political jurisdicttions, the image is disconcertingly unfamiliar. Where are these islands? This image reveals how isolated many of the cities in Canada are from one another. Although the image reveals a concentration of city regions in Southern Ontario it also shows that some regional towns can be allocated vast territories. Despite the disadvantage that there isn't a coresspondence between population and census areas, I am really attracted to this map as it helps to shift the perceptual lens of nations and economies - to reimage economies. What would be really helpful is a different file that fills in the rest of the space with different industry activities particular fossil resource extraction and forestry.

If we add back in the lines of coasts and political boundaries we become more comfortable that we are again dealing with an image we are familiar with.

Of course with such images that play with the mind some are more valuable that others. For example without the coastal outlines this image of the lower mainland (Vancouver) and Lower Vancouver Is (Victoria etc) is a bit misleading on 'closeness'.

Best wishes for 2010.

Friday, December 11, 2009

City GDP

The other day I had the need to find some GDP data for cities. It surprises me that urban agglomerations are one of the core features of human economic life yet so much of the statistics agenda of national agencies has so little to do with human settlements.

The best source I came across for the data I was seeking was the OECD book (2006) Competitive cities in the world economy, but its cut off was higher than a couple of cities I was after.

For simply population data etc for urban areas there are a couple of websites that are interesting.

For information on statistical collections and administrative borders could be useful.

Friday, December 4, 2009

A new report on Canadian cities

The Conference Board of Canada today released the report:

21st Century Cities in Canada: The Geography of Innovation by David A. Wolfe who is the principal investigator of the Innovation Systems Research Network.