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Measuring Polycentricity and its Promises

Evert Meijers

European Planning Studies, 2008, vol. 16, issue 9, 1313-1323

Abstract: Even a decade after the concept of polycentric development became popular and increasingly widespread in Europe as a normative policy stance allegedly leading to cohesion and competitiveness, its empirical basis is still rather weak. This is partly due to a lack of conceptual clearness, which makes its measurement difficult. This research briefing synthesises the results of two recent ESPON projects that aim to create a quantitative measurement of the extent of polycentricity of national urban systems, as well as the links they find between polycentricity and economic and social objectives. Both approaches have their limits and have been, and can be criticized from various perspectives. Some suggestions on how to proceed with this research agenda are presented.

Date: 2008
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