A New Spatial Optimization Perspective on the Delineation of Metropolitan and Micropolitan Statistical Areas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

6 Scopus citations


The current method for delineating U.S. metropolitan and micropolitan statistical areas (collectively referred to as core-based statistical areas-CBSAs) is to cluster counties based on the strength of commuting interactions between outlying areas and urban cores. The social and economic integration of a metropolitan or a micropolitan statistical area is operationalized using what we believe is an outdated, monocentric perspective on functional spatial structure: one that fixates solely on inward and reverse commuting. We propose a new spatial optimization model for delineating CBSAs that can better account for polycentric urban structure by considering all intercounty commuting linkages. Our model seeks to find the boundaries that maximize the containment of entire webs of intra-CBSA intercounty commuting. We apply the proposed method to delineate alternative sets of metropolitan and micropolitan statistical areas for comparison with the federal government's currently defined (2010 Office of Management and Budget [OMB] standards) official CBSAs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)230-249
Number of pages20
JournalGeographical Analysis
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 2014


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Earth-Surface Processes

Cite this