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Specialization in services: a Canadian example

Author(s): Jim Simmons

Journal: Dela
ISSN 0354-0596

Issue: 21;
Start page: 223;
Date: 2004;
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Keywords: settlement geography | urban geography | Canada

In modern urban systems the economic growth of cities is largely driven by services. Inmany regions employment growth in primary and secondary activities is close to zero, oreven negative. Growth depends on the ability to attract jobs in the services. This studyexplores the pattern of specialization in various service activities for 159 Canadian urbanareas in 1996, as the basis for a series of maps for the Atlas of Canada. The hierarchicalspecialization is evaluated for each service sector by computing a regression model of serviceemployment as a function of urban population and income per capita. The rapidlygrowing business and financial services are the most strongly oriented to larger cities. Thehorizontal specialization is measured as residuals from the regressions. Strong regionaldifferences contrast the central place roles of agricultural communities with the more localizedmarkets of resource and manufacturing centres. Public sector decisions about the locationof major health and education facilities complement the choices of the private sector.
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