Frameworks of Urban System Evolution in Frontier Settings and the Ecuador Amazon

  • Lawrence A. Brown Ohio State University
  • Scott Digiacinto Ohio State University
  • Randy Smith Ohio State University
  • Rodrigo Sierra San Diego State University
Keywords: Urban System Evolution, Frontier Regions, Core-Periphery, Government Based Service Sector


To what degree are general frameworks pertaining to urban system evolution in the frontier applicable to Third World settings? This paper summarizes several such frameworks, which were developed largely in reference to North American experiences of the late 18th to early 20th centuries. It then considers the Ecuador Amazon, finding that the fit is quite high. Specifically, universal conceptualizations, such as core-periphery formulations, are broadly relevant; context-dependent conceptualizations are partially so. The latter raises the question of whether Ecuador's government-based service sector is a mechanism for urban dominance, as wholesaling and finance were for North America? Moving further along the nomothetic-idiographic continuum, excerpts from selected case studies indicate the Ecuador Amazon urban system is representative of current-day frontier regions.


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