Exploring the dual dichotomy within urban geography: An application of fuzzy urban sets

Eric Heikkila*, Yiming Wang

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


This study argues that the concept of fuzzy urban sets is particularly well suited to analyzing aspects of a dual dichotomy that characterizes much of the literature on urban geography. By treating individual urban areas ("cities," or in this case "Consolidated Metropolitan Statistical Areas") as subsets of one aggregate fuzzy urban set, the method can address the dichotomy pertaining to the structure of urban systems within cities versus those among cities. By defining the membership criterion by which individual elements ("districts," or in this case "census places") are included in the fuzzy urban set, one can determine what kind of fuzzy urban set one is dealing with. In our empirical example, we use service employment as the key criterion. We argue that the method employed is more broadly applicable than the specific example used here, and indeed is well suited generally to addressing the dual dichotomy within urban geography.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)406-421
Number of pages16
JournalUrban Geography
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2010


  • Consolidated Metropolitan Statistical Area
  • Employment
  • Fuzzy urban sets
  • Urban geography


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