Monday, 27 April 2009

Polycentric Urban Regions

A short post today on the topic of polycentric urban regions - a topic that has become quite popular in the academic literature over the past few years. I'm mentioning this because I am planning to do some work comparing British and Japanese polycentric urban regions in the near future, with a colleague in Japan. This work might explore the similarities and differences between the north of England and the Kansai region in Japan. In the latter, the metropolitan areas of Liverpool (Merseyside), Manchester (Greater Manchester), Leeds (West Yorkshire) and Sheffield (South Yorkshire) form one such area. The image below is from another piece of research I recently did on flow mapping for a journal article.

In Japan, the Kansai region is located in the southern central area of Honshu, the largest of the Japanese islands. The major cities there are Kyoto, Osaka and Kobe but there are many more important settlements in the region (see below). This region is much more highly populated than the English example, but they share many common features. It will be interesting to contrast and compare these two examples and to simultaneously test the validity of the polycentric urban region paradigm.