Affordable Access

Reexploring transport geography and networks: a case study of container shipments to the West Coast of the United States

  • Economics


After a meteoric rise to prominence in the 1990s, the practice of conceptualizing the relationships between places in terms of networks has recently come under fire within economic geography. Its critics claim that networks are ‘fuzzy’, ‘anemic’, and ‘overendowed’. Others have criticized the network approach for its insensitivity to the way in which power is transmitted unevenly across networks. However, these are not necessarily failings of the network metaphor but, rather, of its employment to date within economic geography. Where most economic geographers have come to see the network metaphor as a way of representing connections between the nodes that they study (frequently cities or firms), transport geographers have long taken the network itself as the principal object of study. In the research of many transport geographers, networks appear as powerful agents shaping the places they connect. Incorporation of lessons drawn from transport geography into the burgeoning literature on networks in economic geography can overcome some of the growing criticism of network methodologies. The author uses an analysis of container flows to the West Coast of the United States to demonstrate the advantages of a network methodology based on transport networks.

There are no comments yet on this publication. Be the first to share your thoughts.