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Southeastern Geographer Vol. 21, No. 1, May 1981, pp. 10-25 INTRAMETROPOLITAN LOCATIONAL CHANGES IN MANUFACTURING: THE ATLANTA METROPOLITAN AREA, 1958 TO 1976 James O. Wheeler and Sam Ock Park The dynamic character of intrametropolitan industrial location patterns in the United States has been recognized ever since manufacturing decentralization began at the turn of the century. (J) However, dramatic change in intrametropolitan manufacturing location is especially characteristic of the post-1960 period. (2) Especially since the mid-1960s, the economic advantages of central city locations have significantly diminished relative to suburban areas, which have become increasingly accessible via the urban and regional freeway system built largely during the 1960s. Suburban accessibility allowed industrial development to occur on large tracts of relatively inexpensive land and to avoid the congestion, high land costs, and increasing criminal activity of inner-city environments. (3) As a result, industrial investments have been greatly reduced in most central cities, and suburban areas have emerged as major zones of industrial expansion. This suburbanization trend is probably especially characteristic of large metropolitan areas in the manufacturing belt, which experienced suburbanization earlier than urban areas in the South and West, where most industrial parks have been developed. Similar trends can also be found in metropolitan areas outside the manufacturing belt, though the industrial decentralization in these instances may represent a more recent trend. Whereas there may be a set of stages of metropolitan manufacturing locational change, different metropolitan areas, perhaps depending on the region ofthe nation or on the industrial structure of the metropolis, will experience these stages at different times and with varying durations. OBJECTIVES. The purpose of this paper is (a) to present a general conceptual framework for intrametropolitan manufacturing change, (b) Dr. Wheeler is Professor of Geography at the University of Georgia in Athens, GA 30602. Mr. Park is a doctoral student in the Department of Geography at the University of Georgia in Athens, GA 30602. Vol. XXI, No. 1 11 to analyze the nature and extent of locational change in manufacturing within the Atlanta, Georgia, metropolitan area, and (c) to assess the degree to which the Atlanta empirical findings correspond to the idealtypical conceptual model. The years 1958, 1966, and 1976 are used for comparisons. The conceptual model is based on a six phase ideal-typical sequence of metropolitan manufacturing locational change. In addition to measuring the spread of manufacturing from the inner city into suburban and peripheral areas, this study examines the degree to which manufacturing locational change conforms to a concentric zone pattern, a sectoral pattern, and an arterial (rail versus highway) pattern. Although the concentric and sectoral concepts were initially applied to residential land use, it seems reasonable to test these concepts for manufacturing land use, given the interdependence of urban land uses. The data are based on the number of manufacturing establishments and therefore somewhat understate the degree of change in suburban areas (where plant size is greatest). The purpose here is not to measure the decentralization of specific plants per se but simply to note changes in the total spatial distribution of manufacturing. DATA AND STUDY AREA. Data for this study are derived from the Georgia Manufacturing Directory for 1958, 1966, and 1976. (4) These directories list the names and addresses of all manufacturing firms and, despite occasionally out-of-date or inaccurate information, they nevertheless represent the most comprehensive areal coverage and the most detailed locational data available. With the aid of Atlanta street maps, over 95 percent of all manufacturing establishments were located and plotted on maps for 1958, 1966, and 1976. Mapping was carried out for Fulton and Dekalb counties; counts of manufacturing plants were made of the 13 additional counties of the Atlanta metropolitan area. Although Atlanta has a diverse manufacturing base, it is dominated in terms of value added by transport equipment. Overall, manufacturing is low value added. Much of the manufacturing type is related to Atlanta 's role as a distribution center to serve a growing local and regional market. In Atlanta the movement of plants from the city to the suburbs has been small in relation to the number of new plants that have always been in the suburbs. The decline in plants...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1549-6929
Print ISSN
0038-366X
Pages
pp. 10-25
Launched on MUSE
2013-07-03
Open Access
No
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