Natural Resources, School of


Date of this Version



Published in Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization 68 (2008) 209-216. Copyright 2008. Used by permission.


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 classics in the city size distributions are snapshots of stable states within urban systems in flux.