I. A. Sekushina. Assessing the Balance of the Urban Settlement System in the European North of Russia

UDК 314.9(470.1/.2)

DOI: https://doi.org/10.15507/2413-1407.116.029.202103.642-665

Introduction. In modern Economics, one of the most common and simplest methods of analyzing the balance of urban settlement systems is to assess their compliance with Zipf's law or the rank–size rule. The basis of this pattern is the relationship between urban population and its place in the hierarchy of towns ranked in descending order of size. Based on the results of the study conducted, the article assesses the balance of the urban settlement system of the European North Russia, as one of its regions, by analyzing its compliance with Zipf’s law.

Materials and Methods. The official data from the Federal State Statistics Service on the population of towns in the European North of Russia for 1959, 1989 and 2019 were used as materials of the study. The method of constructing a linear regression between the logarithm of the actual population and the logarithm of the rank of the town was used to verify Zipf's law for the urban network of the region in a certain period. In order to substantiate the conclusions drawn, an analysis of the dynamics of the number of towns and the share of the population living in them was carried out. The monographic method, as well as the methods of tabular and graphical data visualization, was used to interpret the results of the calculations.

Results. Based on the analysis of data on the application of the rank–size rule for the towns in the European North of Russia, it has been found that Zipf’s law was not fully observed in any time period, which indicates the imbalance of the existing urban settlement system. In the period from 1959 to 2019, there was an increase in the concentration of the population in the major cities of the region. The imbalance is also caused by the growing number of small towns with a population that does not correspond to the optimal value according to Zipf's law.

Discussion and Conclusion. Based on the calculations, the author has come to the conclusion that the cities of Arkhangelsk and Cherepovets have the potential for growth, as well as some others with a population of up to 100 thousand people. The practical significance of the study lies in the possibility of using the results obtained to prognosticate the population of towns in the European North of Russia when planning the location of production facilities, as well as transport and social infrastructure in the region.

Keywords: Zipf's law, rank–size rule, town, European North of Russia, settlement system

Funding. The article was done as part of the implementation of the government assignment to the Vologda Research Center of the Russian Academy of Sciences on the research topic No. 0168-2019-0004 “Improvement of Mechanisms for Development and Effective Use of the Potential of Socio-Economic Systems”.

For citation: Sekushina I.A. Assessing the Balance of the Urban Settlement System in the European North of Russia. Regionology = Russian Journal of Regional Studies. 2021; 29(3):642-665. DOI: https://doi.org/10.15507/2413-1407.116.029.202103.642-665


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Submitted 29.03.2021; approved after reviewing 31.05.2021; accepted for publication 09.06.2021.

About the author:

Irina A. Sekushina, Research Assistant, Department for Socio-Economic Development and Administration in Territorial Systems, Vologda Research Center of the Russian Academy of Sciences (56a Gorkogo St., Vologda 160014, Russian Federation), ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-4216-4850, i_sekushina@mail.ru

The author has read and approved the final version of the manuscript.

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