Towards new geographies of services
Pages 3

Traditionally, study of the geography of services has been where urban geography and economic geography have intersected through central place theory. This abstract hinterland model treated cities as ‘central places’ servicing their surrounding local region. The latter varied in size, incorporating different geographical scales of hinterland to create urban hierarchies. The ‘national urban systems’ I described in Chapter 1 are the culmination of this type of modelling. As previously noted, it resulted in a systemic bias in the treatment of great cities such as New York, Paris and London. They were invariably viewed as ‘national’, the largest scale of hinterland, rather than ‘international’, a dimension of activities in these cities typically neglected. This nationalist manifestation of prioritizing an ‘internal’ over an ‘external’ pattern of relations was changed only in empirical studies of cities as trans-shipment points for commodities (e.g. seaports) where the national ‘internal’ hinterlands are empirically balanced by descriptions of international (i.e. external) ‘forelands’.