AnneMarie and Andrew

Annemarie and Andrew – Trekking Asia

Primate Cities

When we first arrived in Bangkok it was a surprise to be in such a developed city. It has an urban metro system known as the BTS Skytrain, which is the first city metro system we’ve encountered since Beijing; most cities in Southeast Asia don’t even have a public bus system. The Skytrain is also quite impressive because as the name suggests, it’s in the sky (almost), at about the same level as the fourth floor in the buildings it goes past. Some people might not like the huge concrete structure which supports it over the road, but I liked it.

The city is filled with skyscrapers, many people looked well off and there are a vast number of shopping centres such as, the Siam Center, Siam Paragon and CentralWorld. These shopping centres are filled with the standard western upmarket stores. They also have Porsche, Rolls Royce, BMW and Maserati dealerships.

In many places the city would not be out of place anywhere in the Western World. I’ve read that the healthcare in Bangkok is world class and on par with western standards. My Asia healthy travel book states that in case of a serious medical problem whilst travelling in Southeast Asia then travel to Bangkok if possible for medical treatment.

This got me thinking, because we know that the rest of Thailand wasn’t as well developed, I wondered just how much larger Bangkok was compared to other cities in Thailand. When searching for the answer I came across the term Primate City, which can be defined as:

At least twice as large as the next largest city and more than twice as significant.

I found that Bangkok is 40 times the size of the next largest city in Thailand (Chiang Mai). Every major company in Thailand is head quartered in Bangkok. 22% of the Thai population live in the Bangkok metropolitan area and it generates 44% of the GDP of Thailand. Bangkok accounts for 49% of the national service sector. It turns out that Bangkok is “the most primate city on earth”.

It’s interesting to find out which counties do and don’t have primate cities. London and Paris are both primate cities. Germany doesn’t have one, Berlin is the political centre but Frankfurt is the financial centre and Bonn has many institutions from been the capital of West Germany. New Zealand has Wellington and Auckland so no primate city, neither does Australia as it has Sydney, Melbourne and Canberra. The USA has none because political power is in Washington DC, but economic power is New York and San Francisco, Los Angeles and Seattle also have influence.
Here is a list of primate cities around the world.

If this article hadn’t bored you then you can continue reading here. If you made it this far then I assume you were slightly interested in the subject and I hope you enjoyed learning something new today.

Posted from Bangkok, Bangkok, Thailand.

2 Comments

    • Andrew

      I’d have thought so to Nick. But they deem Wellington to have influence due to the government been based there.

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