ABSTRACT

Geography has always played an important role in the evolution of cities. Historically, coastal cities and cities in river deltas have been preferred locations – at present, 14 of the world’s 19 largest cities are ports. However, with advances in transport and communication technologies and also with increasing specialization, other locational factors, beyond positions along waterways, have accelerated the growth and development of cities. Even when located in the hinterland, cities located close to other major urban centres or to important urban agglomerations have significantly gained from their position and demonstrated relatively higher levels of development. Indeed, new configurations such as mega-regions and urban corridors generate regional economies and trigger the evolution of new patterns of economic activity which contribute to prosperity. Similarly, cities which lie in the vicinity of markets and infrastructure, or close to transnational borders, have also exhibited a tendency to grow and prosper much faster.1