Trade-Center Hierarchy in Greater Minnesota.
Cities across Minnesota that are located outside the Twin Cities provide the jobs, education, goods and services, homes, meeting places, and identity for nearly half of the state’s population. They range in size from tiny Tenney (population 5) to mighty Rochester with a population of more than 100,000. The smallest places owe their existence to an earlier time before highways and the automobile; their main street businesses are suffering in today’s mobile society. The larger ones are vital places that are critical to the prosperity of both the state and the people of Greater Minnesota. This article describes the authors’ effort to understand the economic vitality of Minnesota cities outside the seven-county Twin Cities metropolitan area. A major focus of the research was to classify cities into a hierarchy from largest to smallest, related to the number of goods and services available to consumers. Most things can be purchased close to home, but some require longer trips to larger cities that have the necessary goods and services. This trade-center hierarchy has implications for the state-highway network, as well as other public and private policy decisions. Cities across Greater Minnesota are demonstrating vibrant economies, especially at the higher end with Mankato rising to become one the dominant cities for sales of retail goods and services.
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