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The evolution of urban primacy in South America Public Deposited

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  • Urban primacy, or gigantism of the principal metropolis is the most striking characteristic of the process of urbanization in most South American countries. It is commonly assumed that the degree, and evolution of primacy has been similar in all these countries since their cultural, social, and economic backgrounds have been somewhat similar. However, this research points to the idea that the phenomenon of primacy has varied through time, and degree between and within countries in this region. While there are some countries, such as Colombia for example, which are becoming increasingly more primate only in recent times, there are others, such as Chile, consistently becoming more primate for decades. By contrast, Uruguay with one of the highest degrees of primacy for decades is becoming consistently less and less primate in recent times. Brazil, on the other hand has maintained its relatively lower degree of primacy for decades. In addition, a quantitative measure of primacy has been developed based on the analysis of the best-fitting curves obtained for the four main cities in each country. Some of the factors that may be influencing the different degrees of primacy between countries have been pointed out by this research, namely the distribution of natural resources, cultural background of the population, and inertia. Above all primacy In South America is seen by this writer as a consequence of a long history of dependence in which the resultant unequal regional development occurred as foreign urban structures exploitative of the rural areas were implanted.
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