Power laws, discontinuities and regional city size distributions

Ahjond S. Garmestani, Craig R. Allen, Colin M. Gallagher

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


Urban systems are manifestations of human adaptation to the natural environment. City size distributions are the expression of hierarchical processes acting upon urban systems. In this paper, we test the entire city size distributions for the southeastern and southwestern United States (1990), as well as the size classes in these regions for power law behavior. We interpret the differences in the size of the regional city size distributions as the manifestation of variable growth dynamics dependent upon city size. Size classes in the city size distributions are snapshots of stable states within urban systems in flux.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)209-216
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Economic Behavior and Organization
Issue number1
StatePublished - Oct 2008


  • City size distributions
  • Complex systems
  • Discontinuities
  • Power laws

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management


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