The Importance of the Capital City in the Strategy of Political Management of the Space in The World Countries, with Emphasis on Iran

Document Type : Research Paper


Post-Doctoral Researcher in Political Geography, Tarbiat Modares University, Tehran, Iran


Extended Abstract
Formation of administrative system, territorial management and power authority of the state on the territory has been among the states obsessions. This power fulfillment is done through a city center called the capital city. Capital or capital city is the municipality exercising primary status in a country usually as its seat of government and the most important center of political organization and management of space in the country. The capital is one of the important subjects in political geography. The capital cities are the symbol of the state authority, the factor of creation of unification and national solidarity using their different functions. Beside of cultural, geographic, economic, communicational and in particular political roles, the capital city has an important role and it is population attracting. In order to measure power, Geopolitical weight and effectiveness of the capital city in national space, population is the best and accessible index of measuring. Using population index, the main question of the research is that during first half century which strategies the states have taken in political management of the space? And what is the Importance of the Capital City in the National Strategies? The first half century evolutions show that the process of the evolutions cannot be result of happenings or short-term planning, but it shows philosophical foundation and strategy of the states in front of the capital city importance in political management of the national space. Now, 549 cities have more than one million people in the world and 21% of them (115 cities) are capitals and 7.5% of the world's population live in capital cities. The capital of 21 countries is not the largest city in those countries (Pakistan, Turkey, China, United States, etc.). Many national capitals are also the largest city in their respective countries. The cities of Tokyo (37 million), Delhi (28 million), Mexico City (21 million) and Cairo (20 million) have a population of more than 20 million and are the most populous capitals in the world. Thus, countries have adopted different strategies in the political management of their national capital. The purpose of this article is Understanding the strategies in the political management of the national capital and measuring the effectiveness of each strategies in the political management of space.
The research method is based on descriptive-analytic method and library findings are used and EXCEL software is used in statistical debates. The research analysis method is based on qualitative and quantitative methods. The major resources are the world population data for the two periods of 1960 and 2018 have been compared. The data include: the population of the country, the population of the capital cities and the population of the second city of the countries in both periods. The data source is the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs.
Results and discussion
The research findings show that the states have seven strategies in political management of the capital city as follows: 1) increase in population distance between the capital city and the second city (Burundi, Angola, Mongolia, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Russia, Uruguay and etc.); 2) the capital city displacing (Brazil, Pakistan, Belize, Tanzania, Ivory Coast, Nigeria, Malaysia, Kazakhstan and etc.); 3) creation of multi capital cities (Benin, Bolivia, The Netherlands, Sri Lanka, South Africa and etc.); 4) protection of power of the capital city (Paris, London, Tokyo, Buenos Aires and etc.); 5) competition between the capital city and the second city (Spain (Madrid and Barcelona), Syria (Damascus and Aleppo), Libya (Tripoli and Benghazi) and Cameroon (Yaoundé and Douala)); 6) small capital strategy (United States, Canada, Australia, etc.); and 7) decrease in population distance between the capital and the second city (Thailand, Latvia, Qatar, Ethiopia, etc.). These results were obtained using three basic formulas, the ratio of the capital population to the total population (1960 and 2018), the ratio of capital population growth to Country population growth (1960- 2018) and Population distance between the capital and the second city. Finally, success of each strategy is evaluated using ranking of liveability of the cities of the world. One of the best rankings is Mercer Human Resource Consulting.
Unitary States are very interested to have a capital with a high geopolitical weight in the urban system and political management of their national space (France, Japan, Egypt and etc.); But in some federal countries, the capital is also the most powerful city in the country (Mexico, Argentina, etc.). Tehran is the first city in Iran. The distance between Tehran and second city of Iran (Mashhad) has been declining for the past sixty years; But Tehran still has a high geopolitical weight in the entire urban system of Iran.
The research findings show that Capital cities are the most powerful cities in their countries and the most important strategies in national capital city are as follows: 1) protecting national capital importance; 2) keeping or creating desirable distance between the capital city and second city; 4) optimal management of the capital city and 4) trying to make them liveable. The fact that countries emphasis their capitals be the most populous, largest and most powerful cities in the country is a key point in the national strategy. The reasons can be the dominance of the capital city with a high geopolitical weight on the national space, the international role of capitals, the concentration of economic resources along with the political concentration, the concentration of educational, health, cultural, social, ethnic, identity issues and etc. Finally, the strategies for national capital city of Iran (Tehran) are: protecting national capital importance; keeping desirable distance between the capital and second city; optimal management of the capital and trying to make them liveable and Failure the capital city displacing or creation of multi capital cities.


Main Subjects

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Volume 54, Issue 4
December 2022
Pages 1263-1280
  • Receive Date: 17 July 2020
  • Revise Date: 13 September 2021
  • Accept Date: 15 September 2021
  • First Publish Date: 15 September 2021