Engineering Earth pp 1071-1088 | Cite as

Edge Cities in the Era of Megaprojects

  • Selima Sultana


At the beginning of the 20th century almost all of America’s office space was clustered in downtowns of cities and towns, but this trend has changed since the freeway construction era after World War II. The freeway era facilitated rapid suburbanization and giant multifunctional concentrations of employment, often with skyscraper buildings located many miles from downtown. Because these appeared to be an entirely new phenomenon, new names were devised to describe them, such as suburban downtowns, technoburbs, or urban villages, but the most well known term was edge city. Edge cities generally imply large scale built landscapes for consumption and the excess investment of capital, iconic architecture and design and distinctive lifestyles. They also display a potential for new freedom from existing ways of building and imagining a city. Ironically, there is confusion in contemporary urban geography because these suburban megaprojects re-create so many of the traditional meanings of a city that they seem to no longer need the city or may even compete with it. Their significance in the contemporary urban system extends far beyond their architectural design and meaning. This chapter seeks to analyze the origin and evolution of edge cities in different local contexts and their associated impacts on the local urban landscapes in terms of physical, economic, and social conditions. It concludes that in the recent decades this type of multifunctional employment concentration is visible in urban peripheries throughout the world with the increasing dominance of new highways and automobiles; however, their future existence is questionable in varying political economies and social cultures.


Urban Form African American Family Office Space Spatial Mismatch Corporate Headquarters 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of GeographyUniversity of North CarolinaGreensboroUSA

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