Town Planning Review

City-regions in Europe: The potentials and the realities

Town Planning Review (2007), 78, (6), 775–795.

Abstract

Focusing on the recently fashionable 'city-region' (metropolitan area) issue, this article explores the potential contribution of city-regions to the sustainability and competitiveness of urban areas. Two very different sources of information are taken into account: the URBACT-1 project METROGOV, which focuses on exploring administrative set-ups and territorial policies within eight European metropolitan areas (Birmingham, Budapest, Cologne, Frankfurt, Glasgow, Lille, Malmö, Milan), and the ESPON 1.4.3 analysis of urban functions for metropolitan areas, which differentiates between morphological and functional urban areas. The combination of these sources allows comparison of administratively/politically dominated 'actions' and geographic-economic 'realities' for the eight case study urban areas. On this basis the article explores the large differences among EU countries (and regions) regarding city-region level cooperation. The paper first discusses the general challenges for city-regions. It then summarises the results of the METROGOV project and confronts these with ESPON's morphological approach. This is followed by analysis of different functions and cooperation at the different city-region levels.

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Author details

Tosics, Iván