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Journal Article

The Geography of the United States in the Year 2000

Brian J. L. Berry
Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers
No. 51 (Nov., 1970), pp. 21-53
DOI: 10.2307/621761
https://www.jstor.org/stable/621761
Page Count: 33
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The Geography of the United States in the Year 2000
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Abstract

There are increasing demands that research in geography should respond to the needs of public policy. It is therefore essential to attempt to monitor geographical change, to identify its essential properties, and to understand the geographies that are most likely to emerge in the future with and without public intervention. This paper analyses the increasing contemporary polarization of the United States into a limited number of growing daily urban systems, expanding through continued innovation and diversification, and the inter-urban peripheries whose economies and populations are declining, except where minority groups such as American Indians have exceptionally high fertility rates. In determining what is critical to further transformation of the geography of the United States, however, it is concluded that: (a) migration of the minority-group poor from the peripheries to the cores of the central cities, and (b) a resulting acceleration of the outward movement of upper-income white population from central city to the expanding outer edges of the daily urban systems, now 80-160 km away from the city centres, will invert the geography of the country by the year 2000. This tendency to inversion, supported by rising real incomes, improved highways, and the search for superior low-density residential amenities, will be further advanced by new electronic technologies that replace movement of persons by movement of messages, thus reducing and eventually eliminating the traditional role of the CBD in permitting face-to-face contacts. The coming era of telemobility, in which mechanical environments will be replaced by electronic environments, will push the emerging inversion of American geography into its ultimate dispersed forms.