Population suburbanization in Barcelona, 1991-2005: Is its spatial structure changing?

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The aim of this article is to determine whether population suburbanization is occurring in Barcelona and, if so, how it is organized spatially. This issue is addressed through an analysis of the spatial structure of the population of the Barcelona Metropolitan Region and its evolution between 1991 and 2005. The ultimate aim is to determine whether there is a process of population suburbanization during these 15. years and, if this is the case, whether it arises according to a dispersed or a polycentric model. The results are consistent with a polycentric model for 1991 and 2005. However, this spatial structure is changing because of the process of suburbanization, which is affecting both the central business district and subcenters. During this same period, it is found that the role played by transport infrastructure in determining the spatial structure is becoming stronger. Without considering this latter result, it would appear that the dispersed model would best describe the next spatial stage. On the other hand, if the role played by transport infrastructure is taken into consideration, the next spatial stage would be an accessibility model in which population concentrates along freeways and highways. © 2010 Elsevier Inc.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)119-132
JournalJournal of Housing Economics
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2010


  • Accessibility city
  • Dispersed model
  • Polycentrism
  • Population suburbanization
  • Subcenters
  • Urban spatial structure


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