Identifying US Business Districts

As part of my paper on the Spatial Structure of US Metropolitan Employment, I constructed an algorithm to identify the business districts of every Metropolitan Statistical Area in the United States and classify them into four categories:

  • Urban cores – large contiguous districts with high employment densities, including both traditional downtowns and walkable neighborhood shopping streets
  • Suburban strips – large contiguous districts with low employment densities, such as big box developments
  • Independent centers – isolated employment blocks that nonetheless contain large numbers of jobs, such as airports, universities, or hospitals
  • Scattered sites – isolated employment blocks with small numbers of jobs

Here you can explore maps for selected MSAs. If you’d like to see the map of a different MSA, email me! The underlying data used to make these maps is available for download on my publications page.