Dynamiques de peuplement et transformations institutionnelles. Une mesure de l'urbanisation en Europe de 1800 à 2010

Abstract : A new approach for the measure of urbanization in Europe allows to redefine urban features that are often being put forward to characterize the continent. The original data used to this purpose are drawn from the Europolis database, which lists 10 000 urban population agglomerations identified from a broader database that includes 250 000 population units representative of the population of Europe, including Russia and Turkey. For each country and each urban population agglomeration, population estimates are given for 22 dates at the beginning of each decade from 1800 to 2010. The set of statistical indicators extracted from the database shows a clear long-term tendency to population dispersion: This trend explains various urban features such as the high number of small urban population agglomerations, the absence of very large urban population agglomerations (compared to other parts of the world), as well as Europe's recent urbanization. Large urban areas develop from coalescence of several existing urban population agglomerations, a trend that is reinforced by a continuous scattering of populated places or 'sprawl'. The model that forms the core of the analysis establishes a link between three main population patterns dynamics as finage, maillage, and treillage and three historical regimes of land control implemented by the three types of political institutions that flourished in Europe during the course of its history. These political institutions are: the Church, the modern State and the Empire. The three spatial structures identified are seen in various combinations across geographical areas and across time. The model provides thus a new understanding of population's spatial distribution in Europe as inherited from historical patterns. Second, it helps comprehend why Europe has urbanized so unevenly during the last 200 years, albeit in a period of both fast demographic growth and rapid urbanization. Former population spatial discontinuities persist whether or not they adhere to national political boundaries. The regime instituted by the modern State tends to increase urban concentration, however counterbalanced by the general tendency to population dispersion as well as frequent political instability and wars. Europe displays three supra-national structures of urbanization: The North-South and East-West axis, which have high densities of urban areas, contrast with a population pool founded on a thin urban network and an oriental space anchored in a few large urban areas.
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Cathy Chatel. Dynamiques de peuplement et transformations institutionnelles. Une mesure de l'urbanisation en Europe de 1800 à 2010. Démographie. Université Paris-Diderot - Paris VII, 2012. Français. ⟨tel-00765004⟩

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