The City-region Perspective in a Globalized World

  • November 20-21 , 2014

A significant consequence of the globalization process since 1960 is the dramatic urbanization process, which has led to an increased concentration of the world population in urban areas. A main reason for this development is a growing demand from global market forces on population density and key market functions.

Close regional intercity relationships have proved a valuable and perhaps necessary asset when determining a region’s competitiveness - thereby determining the city/cities place in the world city hierarchy. Not surprisingly, regional inter-city relationship has become a key research area and a focus for policy-makers in recent years. This conference will mainly focus on a particular type of region, the polycentric urban region (PUR).

“The PUR is characterized by a collection of historically distinct and both administratively and politically independent cities located in close proximity, well connected through infrastructure and lacking one dominating city in political, economic, cultural and other aspects” (Meijers 2007).

From a political and economic perspective, a main rationale behind the PUR is the ability to enhance the city region’s international competitiveness, thus strengthening the city region’s position in the international city hierarchy.

The conference will explore several questions related to the PUR. Main areas of interest will be:

  • The organizing capacity of the PUR.
  • Infrastructure/transportation framework related to the PUR
  • Small and medium sized city regions vs. global cities – defining the urban world hierarchy.
  • Complementarity in the PUR – areas of synergy?
  • PUR’s in a historical city-perspective.
  • The relationship (tension?) between the region and the nation state, from a historical perspective.

In understanding and explaining central aspects in the development of PUR’s, a main focus of the conference will be on empirical evidence from cases located in North West Europe in the period since 1960.

The conference will include keynote speakers Professor Ove Kaj Pedersen, Department of Business and Politics, Copenhagen Business School, Professor John Rennie Short, Department of Public Policy, University of Mariland Baltimore County and Senior Researcher Dr. Evert Meijers, Urban Studies, Delft University of Technology.