The Internet and the Rise of the New Network Cities, 1969-1999

February 2001

Anthony M. Townsend
Taub Urban Research Center
New York University



The recent rapid growth of the Internet has avoided scrutiny from urban planners as little information is available from which to assess its impacts on cities and regions. As a result, explanations of the relationship between telecommunications and urban growth are overly simplistic, forecasting either the centralization of decisionmaking in so-called 'global' cities or wholesale urban dissolution. Based on two measurements of Internet geography -- domain name registrations and backbone networks -- this study finds that access to advanced communications technologies have broadly diffused across a wide group of medium-sized and large-sized metropolitan areas. Finally, the implications of these findings suggest a need to rethink global cities and a practical need to address the growing divide between network cities and the rest of the urban world.


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With support from the National Science Foundation, under the Urban Research Initiative
(C) 1999, 2000, 2001 Taub Urban Research Center, New York University
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