There are many typologies of Europe’s cities suggested by different organisations and they all have their limitations. Some organisations (EU and OECD) have agreed on a common methodology for defining cities which allows for the first time a comparison of the number of cities and the share of population in them on a harmonised basis across Europe.
Eurostat has developed two linked typologies that cover: the definition of a city and its commuting zone and a typology of metro regions. This approach is due to the recognition of a functional dimension of city that was added to a territorial one which relies on population density. Most of the data (in Eurostat) are collected at core city level, i.e. the city as defined by its administrative and/or political boundaries. In addition, a level called the larger urban zone was described. The larger urban zone is an approximation of the functional urban area extending beyond the core city.
Metropolises or small and medium-sized cities, capitals or second tier cities, historic towns or ports-cities are they different? How to asses or compare the performance of such different cities?
This Keysource includes a selection of documents which provide an overview on different typologies used for Europe’s cities. It also contains studies, reports and analysis on how capital cities and larger metropolitan regions or small and medium-sized cities are performing economically, socially or territorially; they also investigate if there is a need for place-based policies and financing instruments better adapted to cities specificities.
Overviews – Cities’ typologies
The spatial dimension of cities in the European Union (EU) / Eurostat, Statistics explained
This article takes a closer look at the spatial dimension of cities in the European Union (EU). Cities can no longer be treated as discrete unrelated entities without a spatial dimension. Recent developments in transport and information and communication technology infrastructure have eased the flow of people and resources from one area to another considerably. Urban–rural connectivity and inter-urban relations have become critical for balanced regional development. To facilitate the analysis of the interaction between the city and its surroundings different spatial levels were defined.
Focus on cities and metro regions. In: Eurostat regional yearbook 2013 / Eurostat, October 2013, pp. 201-223
There are two linked typologies which have been developed by Eurostat to cover, without any overlaps or omissions, the whole geographical territory of the European Union (EU), Iceland, Norway, Switzerland and Croatia at the local and regional level. The typologies cover: the definition of a city and its commuting zone; and a typology of metro regions. As opposed to the typologies presented in the territorial typologies, namely the degree of urbanisation; and the urban–rural regional typology – which rely mainly on population density – the two typologies presented in this focus add a functional dimension. They are both forms of functional urban areas and are based on the flows of people commuting to work in a city.
On City Size Distribution: Evidence from OECD Functional Urban Areas / P. Veneri, OECD Regional Development Working Papers, no 27, 17 December 2013, 16 p.
This paper provides new comparative evidence on city size distribution across OECD countries. It uses a database where urban agglomerations are consistently identified across different countries, through an algorithm based on population density and commuting patterns.
Cities in Europe: the new OECD-EC definition / by Lewis Dijkstra and Hugo Poelman, Regional Focus, no 1, 2012, 16 p.
The new OECD-EC definition allows for the first time a comparison of the number of cities and the share of population in them on a harmonised basis across Europe. It has identified 828 (greater) cities with an urban centre of at least 50 000 inhabitants in the EU, Switzerland, Croatia, Iceland and Norway. In addition, this methodology identified a further 492 cities in Canada, Mexico, Japan, Korea and the United States. This Regional Focus describes only the European cities. Half of the European cities are relatively small with a centre between 50 000 and 100 000 inhabitants. Only two are global cities (London and Paris).
Metropolises and metropolitan areas
Metropolitan areas in action: concluding report / EUROCITIES, November 2013, 26 p.
The study is based on detailed surveys of 31 cities covering 88 examples of metropolitan area cooperation, thoroughly documenting the extent and content of these. Background information was provided by a further seven cities. The study gives evidence of what has been happening over recent years in terms of metropolitan area collaboration. It looks at how joint work is organised and carried out at metropolitan area and city-region level, and identifies possible success factors. This report draws on evidence from the ‘Metropolitan areas in action’ (MAIA) study by the University of Ghent, standardised maps developed by the city of Amsterdam and a supplementary note from the Metropolitan Research Institute (MRI), Budapest. It presents the main conclusions of this material together with the activities of the EUROCITIES metropolitan areas working group over the past three years. (Source: Report)
Best metropolises: best development conditions in European metropolises: Paris, Berlin and Warsaw: final report / ESPON, January 2013 (Annexes)
The primary purpose of the Best Metropolises project was to identify metropolitan development trends and their consequences in different spheres while also assessing the policy measures and governance models that guide this development, focusing on Paris, Berlin and Warsaw. Promoting sustainable urban development is a key element of the European Cohesion Policy and is a continuous process, so the studies conducted focused on several specific topics related to sustainable metropolisation. This is especially important in the case of metropolises and other functionally integrated urban areas as they are the engines of the European economy and can be considered as catalysts for creativity and innovation throughout the EU. However, they are also the places where problems such as spatial conflicts, natural environment hazards, unemployment, social segregation and the lack of affordable housing are most likely to be present.
POLYCE: Metropolisation and Polycentric Development in Central Europe: final report / ESPON, 31 May 2012, 90 p.
POLYCE analysis five Central European capital cities and their functionally related surrounding areas: Bratislava, Budapest, Ljubljana, Praha, and Wien. The project emerged from the related city administrations’ wish for researching the cities’ future competitive and cooperative potentials among each other and towards other metropolises. A main goal was to conduct a comparative analysis of the five cities and their related surrounding areas in order to elaborate in depth results on their specificities and commonalities. The approach of POLYCE took metropolisation and polycentricity concepts into consideration in the context of analysing the five Central European capitals, also trying to identify their mutual relation – meaning to what extent both can support a sound and balanced metropolitan development.
Redefining “Urban”: A New Way to Measure Metropolitan Areas / OECD Publishing, April 2012, 149 p.
This report compares urbanisation trends in OECD countries on the basis of a newly defined OECD methodology which enables cross-country comparison of the socio-econimic and environmental performance of metropolitan areas in OECD countries. The methodology is presented and results from its application to 27 OECD countries are discussed together with policy implication both on national growth and governance of cities. The report also includes three original papers that present the urbanisation dynamics and prospects in China and South Africa and the governance challenges resulting from the new policy agenda on cities in the United Kingdom.(Source: OECD)
Second Tier Cities in Europe: in an age of austerity why invest beyond capitals? / European Institute for Urban Affairs (EIUA) et al. ESPON & EIUA, Liverpool John Moores University, 2012. 47 p.
This report assesses the performance of policies for and prospects of second tier cities across Europe. It is based on an analysis of significant quantitative data about 124 secondary and 31 capital cities across 31 countries and 9 studies of second tier cities drawn from across the whole ESPON territory. The cities are: Tampere, Cork, Leeds, Barcelona, Lyon, Turin, Munich, Katowice, and Timisoara. The report argues that over-investment in capital and under-investment in second tier cities is unsustainable and leads to economic under-performance. By contrast, decentralising responsibilities, powers and resources and spreading investment across a range of cities rather than just the capital creates long term economic benefits. A much longer 800 pages scientific report titled “SGTP, Second Tier Cities and Territorial Development in Europe: performance, policies and prospects” , which provides a huge amount of additional quantitative and qualitative evidences is also available. (Source: EIUA website)
The governance of metropolitan regions: European and global experiences / Committee of the Regions and Forum of Federations, June 2011, 185 p.
This publication focuses on issues of how the liveability of metropolitan regions can be improved by considering governance options, differing financing models and social inclusivity through comparative international experiences. It also explores the governance challenges posed by infrastructure planning and financing, as well as the management of diversity within and amongst metropolitan regions. (Source: Forum of Federations)
Metropolitan regions in the EU / By Lewis Dijkstra. Regional Focus, no. 1/2009
This paper analyses the 258 metropolitan regions (urban agglomerations of more than 250 000 inhabitants) to see whether the EU is becoming more metropolitan, and to look at reasons why some of these ‘metro’ regions grow fast? The indications show that, overall, the population and GDP share in the metro regions have not increased significantly since 2000. Some of the least developed EU countries, however, did experience a shift in economic activities to their metros, in particular to the capitals.
Small and medium-sized cities
TOWN – Small and medium sized towns in their functional territorial context: Interim Report / ESPON, 28 January 2013, 69 p.
The aim of TOWN research project aims to identify and categorise the SMSTs in Europe; to analysis their territorial performances, in terms of socio-economic characteristics and spatial dynamics; and to develop policy recommendations in relation to typologies and spatial contexts. This interim report has accomplished the first aim, although it will go through a further iterative revision for the next phase. Moreover, it establishes the basis for the implementation of the second and third aims.
Urban visions Central Europe small town 2020: handbook / QUALIST – improving quality of life in small towns, Central Europe Programme, October 2013, 115 p.
An integrated revitalization of small towns in Central Europe emphasized the development of lively small town centres as central point of living and working for all actors, population groups and generations. The sustainable revitalization will be constraint the protecting of cultural heritage with the requirements of a rapidly-changing society. QUALIST and their project activities have made an important contribution to realize a difficult balance between two opposing interests: demands that are placed on economic and cultural heritage and its preservation.
Creative-based strategies in small medium-sized cities: guidelines for local authorities / by INTELI, June 2011, 127 p.
This report “advocates the need to design local, regional and European creative-based policies and financing instruments adapted to the specificities of small and medium-sized territorial areas, and not “one size fits all” approach. Policies are context-specific and must rely on the political leanings, institutional arrangements, historic trajectory, cultural and symbolic characteristics, position in the spatial system and urban hierarchies, and the creative potential of the territories.”
The Competitiveness of Global Port-Cities: Synthesis Report / Olaf Merck, OECD Regional Development Working Papers, n°13, 2013, 185 p.
Ports and cities are historically strongly linked, but the link between port and city growth has become weaker. Economic benefits often spill over to other regions, whereas negative impacts are localised in the port-city. How can ports become the drivers again of urban economic growth; and how can negative port impacts be mitigated? Those are the questions that this report aims to answer. The synthesis report is based on findings from a series of OECD Port-Cities case studies as for Le Havre/Rouen/Paris/Caen (France), Hamburg (Germany), Helsinki (Finland), Marseille (France), Rotterdam/Amsterdam (the Netherlands), or Bratislava/Komárno/Štúrova (Slovak Republic).
The Competitiveness of Global Port-Cities: The Case of Rotterdam/Amsterdam, the Netherlands / Olaf Merk, Theo Notteboom, OECD Regional Development Working Papers, No 8, 14 May 2013, 114 p
This working paper offers an evaluation of the performance of the ports of Rotterdam and Amsterdam, an analysis of the impact of these ports on their territory and an assessment of policies and governance in this field. It examines port performance over the last decades and identifies the principal factors that have contributed to it. The effect of the ports on economic and environmental questions is studied and quantified where possible. The value added of the port clusters of Rotterdam and Amsterdam is calculated and its interlinkages with other economic sectors and regions in the Netherlands delineated.
The Competitiveness of Global Port-Cities: the case of Danube Axis (Bratislava, Štúrovo, Komárno – Slovak Republic) / by Marten van den Bossche, Olaf Merk and Jing Li, OECD Regional Development Working Papers, no 14, 2013, 107 p.
“This working paper offers an evaluation of the performance of the inland ports of the Slovak Republic within the framework of the Danube Axis, an analysis of the impact of the ports on their territory and an assessment of policies in this field. It examines port performance over the last decades and identifies the principal factors that have contributed to it. The effect of the port on economic and environmental questions is studied and quantified where possible. The major policies governing the ports are assessed, along with policies governing transport and economic development, the environment and spatial planning. Based on the report’s findings, recommendations are proposed with a view to improving port performance and increasing the positive effects of the inland ports of Slovak Republic.” (Source: the paper)
The Competitiveness of Global Port-Cities: The Case of Helsinki, Finland / by Olaf Merk, Olli-Pekka Hilmola and Patrick Dubarle, September 2012, 40 p.
This working paper offers an evaluation of the performance of the Port of Helsinki, as well as an analysis of the port’s impact on its territory and an assessment of relevant policies and governance. It examines declining port performance in the last decade and identifies the principal factors that have contributed to it. In addition, the report studies the potential for synergies between the Helsinki and HaminaKotka ports.
The Competitiveness of Global Port-Cities: The Case of Hamburg, Germany / by Olaf Merk and Markus Hesse, June 2012, 49 p.
This working paper offers an evaluation of the performance of the Port of Hamburg, as well as an analysis of the port’s impact on its territory and an assessment of relevant policies and governance. It examines port performance in the last decade and identifies the principal factors that have contributed to it. In addition, the report studies the potential for synergies between the Hamburg and Bremerhaven ports.
The Competitiveness of Global Port-Cities: The Case of the Seine Axis (Le Havre, Rouen, Paris, Caen), France / by Olaf Merk et alli, September 2011, 117 p.
This working paper offers an evaluation of the performance of the ports of the Seine Axis (Le Havre, Rouen, Caen and Paris), as well as an analysis of the impact of the ports on their territory and an assessment of policies and governance in this field. It examines declining port performance in the last decade and identifies the principal factors that have contributed to it. In addition, the report studies the potential for synergies between the different ports, and surveys impending developments that are likely to influence port performance.
Coastal societies and urbanisation in the North Atlantic Rim: policy brief / NORDREGIO, August 2012, 8 p.
“Many rural areas are exposed to situations where schools are being closed due to the declining number of children, local shops are disappearing in the smaller towns, while local governments are struggling with pressure on the local public budgets. Parallel to this new residential areas are shooting up in the urban areas. This is just a small glimpse of the visible consequences of the on-going global urbanisation trend. In the Nordic coastal societies the urbanisation is also visible and the consequences are often even more pronounced.” (Source: NORDREGIO)
Planning for Growth in Historic Towns and Cities: The National Planning Policy Framework: conference report / Historic Towns Forum, 20 June 2012, 14 p.
This guide, published by The Historic Towns Forum and Terence O’Rourke Ltd should be of interest and help to anyone working with the NPPF and the historic built environment. The report highlights, and proposes some solutions to, issues that arise in terms of planning and growth in historically sensitive areas.
‘The Road to Success’. Integrated Management of Historic Towns: guidebook / HerO – Heritage as Opportunity project, URBACT, April 2011, 84 p.
This guidebook provides guidance for city administrations and practitioners on how to apply this new approach by producing an Integrated Cultural Heritage Management Plan. It describes the main characteristics of such a plan and presents the main steps for its production in support of safeguarding and capitalising cultural heritage for a sustainable urban development.
More documents (e.g. policy recommendations, strategy paper, good practice compilation and local action plans for the nine participant cities) are available on URBACT II website and http://www.historic-towns.org websites.
Investing in Heritage – A Guide to Successful Urban Regeneration / European Association of Historic Towns and Regions (EAHTR), 2007, 137 p.
The authors of this report believe there is a need for historic and heritage cities to value and invest in their heritage, as we were at the project’s inception. They try to identify the key factors that lead to successful heritage led urban regeneration and to translate these into clear guidelines that will help local and regional authorities realise the full potential of heritage as a catalyst for the wider regeneration of their towns and cities. The report includes the presentation of 19 case studies selected from the experience of the partner cities – providing an unparalleled body of good practice for local and regional authorities and their stakeholders to draw on.
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