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A method for measuring satellite status in metropolitan regions McGovern, Peter David

Abstract

1. The aim of the study is to formulate a quantitative definition of a satellite town as a guide for planning policy, and to demonstrate a method for measuring the amount and effect of existing links with the parent city when sites for planned satellite towns are being selected and developed. 2. A review of the ideals aimed at in the planning of satellite towns suggests that a survey of existing linkage is a basic requirement in order to show where new or expanded satellites can be located so as to take advantage of existing ties and minimize the disruption of the settlement pattern. 3. A comprehensive short-cut measure of economic and social linkage between a metropolis and its hinterland is provided by data on interaction, and this is available in records of inter-community telephone calls. Such data are used in a survey and analysis of the Lower Mainland of B.C., part of the hinterland of Vancouver. 4. By analogy with physics, a satellite town is defined as a community under the influence of a central city but having an equal balancing force which maintains its status as a fully-fledged urban centre. Such a force might be the power of the satellite as a local industrial or service centre, or, in terms of interaction, an equal number of contacts with other areas to balance those with the city. 5. The gravity concept of human interaction is considered as one possible method of arranging hinterland areas according to the strength of their linkage with the metropolis. However, this shows potential rather than actual interaction, and tells nothing about the quality of linkage. 6. A better measure of linkage is one based on the assumption that the strongest links are those which exist in spite of distance or cultural barriers to interaction. An index is devised to measure this, which shows the potential locations for satellite towns, other things being equal. 7. The ecological concepts of dominance and sub-dominance provide the basis for an analysis of the structure of the Lower Mainland Region, to show what economic and social development should take place on the potential locations in order to maintain or create the balance essential to satellite status. 8. In applying these definitions and methods to the selection of sites for satellite towns the areas most strongly linked to the metropolis are examined in order to determine whether: (a) they have enough suitable land, (b) their populations are below the optimum, (c) they are at an optimum distance from the metropolis. 9. The data on inter-community telephone calls is shown to be of use to the planner, and suggestions are made as to the further uses and refinements which might be introduced in future research. 10. The methods formulated in this study show that it is feasible for practising planners to take interaction into account, and by doing so to gain further knowledge about the ecological structure of city regions.

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