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D avis M. D elgado S otillos I. D ery D. D esrochers M. D onald B. D reier P. D ubois -T aine G. E nyedi G. E thington P. E wing G. F aure A. F eiock R. F eitelson E. F eria J. F ijalkow Y. F ilion P. F iorina M. F ischel W. F lanigan W. FOBP dir. F rey R. F rey W. F riedrichs J. F risken F. G ainsborough J. G alster G.

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G ardner T. G arreau J. G ermann R. G ibbs J. G ilbert G. G irr L. G laeser E. G odon P. G oldberg M. G onen A. G ottman J. G reer L. H abermas J. H amel P. H ampl M.

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H arvey D. H aschke D. H asson S. H ayden D. H einz W. H ero R. H iggins D. H intze O. H irsch H. H offmann -M artinot V. H ohenberg P. H uckfeldt R.

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H uissoud T. I bbitson J. I llner M. Sharpe, , p. I nglehart R. I sin E. J ackson K. J argowsky P. J ouve B. J oye D. J ulien Ph. J ustel M. K alchheim C. K atz B. K avanagh D. K eil R. K elleher C. K ipfer S. K orner M. K riesi H. L adner A. L e T oqueux J. L ewis P. L ijphart A. L inder W. L ogan J. L opez R. L ucy W. M agnusson W. M arkvart J. M arshall J. M assey D. M azzoleni O. M ecking S. M endelson R. M ercer J. M ollenkopf J. M urphy P. N athan R.

N ewman D. N icolaides B. N ivola P. O liver J. O rfield M. The call introduced an experimental approach to territorial development with equal opportunities to participate, and built on bottom-up initiatives with little funding from the central state Geppert : 44 f.

Download Figure. Results of the call for metropolitan cooperation in France. Citation: Raumforschung und Raumordnung 75, 3; The policy discourse in France developed around three conceptualizations of metropolitan regions: first, as a statistical concept, second, as an administrative territory and, third, as a functional entity. This secondary understanding as an instrument for inter-municipal cooperation EPCI developed according to the legal definitions proposed in the respective reform laws.

The third concept of metropolitan regions referred to broader understandings of spatial development, which in the s emphasized the economic role of cities. The call for metropolitan cooperation and cluster policy in the mids, however, was oriented towards competitiveness and the knowledge economy Geppert : The change of these concepts also illustrates the shift from orchestrated regionalization prescribed by the national state to a central government approach that builds on mobilizing regional incentives and potentials.

The most recent national laws on metropolitan governance, however, can be interpreted as an attempt to stipulate the model of successful metropolitan regions, such as Grand Lyon , as an instrument for regional development. Metropolitan policies in Germany take place in a federal system, consisting of the national level, federal states with legislative competences and self-governance on the local level. Until the s, the policy discourse referred to city regions as agglomerations or densely populated areas Ballungsraum or Verdichtungsraum; see Heinz : ff. Also, planning policies barely recognized the role of metropolitan regions for economic development, in keeping with the overall goal of ensuring balanced spatial development and equivalent living conditions throughout the national territory Blotevogel : In the early s, the general statements for spatial planning introduced metropolitan regions as a new concept.

The orientation framework Raumordnungspolitischer Orientierungsrahmen stated the overall principle of decentralized concentration and named city regions as areas with considerable burdens MKRO : 9. The following action framework Raumordnungspolitischer Handlungsrahmen introduced the concept of European metropolitan regions as engines of social, economic and cultural development MKRO : The role of metropolitan regions for growth, innovation and transportation was again emphasized in the visions and strategies for spatial development MKRO In , a final draft of the updated spatial planning principles revealed shifts in the underlying constitutive logics of metropolitan regions, including the introduction of cross-border metropolitan regions MKRO : Spatial Planning Concept Growth and Innovation.

Source: BBSR Table 2 shows the way in which terminology and central concepts in German metropolitan policies have undergone a change in recent decades from a negative to a positive framing. The introduction of European metropolitan regions marks a shift from a problem-oriented, analytical or technocratic perspective towards a development-oriented, strategic-symbolic concept. Accordingly, the metropolitan region replaces the previous terms city region Stadtregion and agglomeration Agglomerationsraum ; Schmitt : In the current German debate, three spatial metaphors of metropolitan regions prevail.

Governance structures then vary between individual metropolitan regions, ranging from the establishment of territorial jurisdictions to informal networks based on private associations. Third, metropolitan regions in Germany are described as poles for economic growth, referring to the functions of a location in service-providing sectors as well as economic development. Overall, metropolitan regions in Germany are a voluntary, non-binding concept suggested in federal spatial planning policies, but implemented on the subnational level.

These understandings of metropolitan regions build on policy frames originating in different theoretical paradigms. Schmitt sees the concept of European metropolitan regions itself as meandering over time, moving away from the traditional goal of balanced development since the s, to a growth-oriented strategy in the mids, towards a more balance-oriented concept of inner and wider functional areas in the mids as well as large-scale communities of responsibility in the early s.

In this long-term perspective, the new federal spatial planning principles represent a discursive shift Danielzyk : 29, 31 due to increased attention being paid to the role of large agglomerations for territorial development Scholich : 30 f. This dualism even leads to a certain incoherence between the rhetoric exceptionalism behind the earlier concept of metropolitan regions and the inclusiveness of the way in which the concept was implemented.

In the EU, metropolitan policies develop in an inter-governmental as well as a supranational policy context. Explicit metropolitan policies are absent, because the EU holds no decision-making competency in this field. Thus, metropolitan regions are addressed only indirectly via regional funding and symbolic spatial policies.

In European policy discourse, the issue of metropolitan regions has recently emerged in documents, statistics, research, and funding. Several policy declarations on urban and spatial policy since the late s have mentioned metropolitan regions in various ways Wiechmann In , the Toledo Declaration mentioned metropolitan regions as one scale in the multi-level structure of a European territorial policy EU Council The Territorial Agenda EU Council , furthermore, refers to metropolitan regions as important nodes in the urban system that are responsible for their surroundings EU Council : 8 , but also as possible contributing factors for territorial polarization EU Council 7.

Besides, rival metaphors such as city-regional cooperation EU Council a ; EU Council b and urban-regional partnerships European Parliament : 13 are also found in the European policy discourse. However, these policy declarations contain neither substantive definitions of, nor legal consequences for, metropolitan regions. Varying analytical understandings of metropolitan regions have thus evolved and a common statistical definition is absent, due to differences in indicators and thresholds. ESPON European Spatial Planning Observation Network proposed a city-regional terminology based on the concept of functional urban areas and related to the spatial planning principle of polycentricity in the European Spatial Development Perspective Nordregio Typology of Metropolitan Regions in the European Union.

Concerning financial instruments for metropolitan regions, the European Regional Development Fund ERDF offers tentative funding opportunities for metropolitan regions. In the programming period — metropolitan regions were eligible for ERDF-funding under Article 6 European territorial cooperation, cf. EU EU ; see also Scholze , allowing member states to define metropolitan regions as functional areas. Table 3 shows that the terminology used for metropolitan regions in European discourse varied over time and that certain actors tend to use specific metaphors for metropolitan regions.

Interest groups, such as Metrex or Eurocities, propose multi-faceted understandings of metropolitan regions as administrative-political, but also functional or spatial entities. Supranational institutions, such as the European Commission or the European Parliament coin a more nuanced terminology, differentiating functional areas from political metropolitan regions.

Comparing the understandings in the EU context proposed by different institutional actors shows a tension between evidence-based definitions of metropolitan areas couched in more neutral terms based on research and statistics, and an emphasis on the role of metropolitan regions for the development of the European territory. Overall, metropolitan regions in the European context remain a politically weak concept, probably due to the concurrence of the metropolitan to other territorial scales, such as the city or the region.

Despite its growing importance in EU discourse, the metropolitan region remains a vague concept with varying meanings, referring to different underlying frames for spatial development. This vagueness originates in the consensual character of European policies as the outcome of a negotiation process based on the smallest common denominator. In a nutshell, this comparison reveals similarities between the concepts in all three cases, which is rather surprising given the differences in context. Yet, it also shows specificities in the implementation and overall role of metropolitan regions for spatial and territorial development.

To begin with, the comparative analysis of metropolitan policies shows similar developments of the discourse in Germany, France and the EU, despite differences in their institutional context as well as spatial planning policies. The introduction of metropolitan regions in Germany and France , for instance, was closely related to an overall re-orientation of spatial planning policies.

Yet, in both countries the introduction of metropolitan regions represented a conceptual shift from a regulatory or compensatory approach to a positive framing of agglomerations, based upon a new spatial metaphor emphasizing competitiveness and growth. In the EU context, the increased attention paid to metropolitan regions in the early s coincided with the overall focus of the Lisbon agenda on economic competitiveness. Thus, in all three cases, the emergence of the concept of the metropolitan region was related to a shift towards fostering competitiveness and growth, not only in purely economic terms, but also concerning overall spatial development.

The comparison also shows congruence in how metropolitan regions are defined. Across all policy contexts, metropolitan regions are conceptualized around the attribute of internal as well as external metropolitanization as proposed by the academic literature discussed in Sect. The first criterion for defining metropolitan regions in terms of their internal interdependency is based on statistical indicators, which refer to population density and numbers of commuters between contingent administrative units. The second attribute defines metropolitan regions according to their role in a larger urban or economic system.

This is referred to as external metropolitanization and corresponds, for instance, to the definition of the German European metropolitan regions as being characterized by superior economic, cultural or economic functions, as well as to the references to the role of city regions in the overall development of the European territory.

However, this common orientation and similarities in concepts has a rather discursive nature. Metropolitan policies in France, Germany and the EU differ not only in their institutional context, but also regarding the framing and specific conceptualizations of metropolitan regions, as we find important differences in how metropolitan policies implement and organize these ideas in practice.

In France, the dominantly administrative understanding of metropolitan regions is put into practice with the help of instruments proposed by national legislation regarding inter-municipal cooperation as well as territorial reform. It was only in the mids that French metropolitan policies changed their approach and launched competitive calls which aroused expectations of national funding and other financial resources.

In Germany, metropolitan policies are mainly addressed in visions and strategies of spatial planning which form a symbolic frame of reference for existing instruments of city-regional cooperation. In the EU, explicit metropolitan policies are absent. However, tentative references to metropolitan regions could be interpreted as an emerging metropolitan dimension, resulting in a minimal definition in statistical-analytical terms.

6. The European Dimension of French and German Metropolitan Policies

Especially in Germany and the EU context, metropolitan policies have a more discursive character and function as a political framework, which leaves flexibility for the implementation of various organizational forms and functional interpretations in metropolitan regions. However, these national and supranational policies on metropolitan regions have not developed in isolation. Due to the horizontal and vertical exchange of concepts and frames between policy contexts, the discourses on metropolitan regions in France, Germany and the EU have mutually influenced one another.

In fact, Schmitt 64 finds the German metropolitan region inspired by the French concept of urban agglomerations. Baudelle and Peyrony : 92 f. Furthermore, national concepts have also influenced the European policy discourse. Both German and French planning ideas contributed to the development of the European spatial planning policy. Especially French spatial planning has also influenced the European Spatial Development Perspective as well as regional policies Scholles : Meanwhile, the meetings on a European level between the national representatives responsible for spatial planning have diffused and consolidated the idea that agglomerations play an important role in economic and spatial development.

For instance, when German federal planning institutions introduced metropolitan regions on the national level in the mids, they were simultaneously engaged in the policy process leading to the European Spatial Development Perspective Schmitt : 64 , stating explicitly that metropolitan regions were to be assigned as part of this initiative MKRO : Moreover, the evolvement of an implicit metropolitan dimension in the EU context is an instructive example of how the concept of metropolitan regions has diffused and been mobilized by different actors. The way in which EU policy documents, statistics and programs address metropolitan regions shows that metropolitan regions have become a policy issue beyond national spatial planning and urban policies.

Yet, the vagueness of the concept in the EU policy discourse also shows that in the context of a lack of competences and concurring interests among policy-makers, the multi-faceted descriptions of metropolitan regions in both academic debate and in practice can be a necessary condition for the popularity and attractiveness of the concept. In conclusion, the comparison of metropolitan policies in France, Germany and the EU has shown that since the s conceptualizations of metropolitan regions have shifted from a negative to a positive perception and towards a rhetoric emphasis on competitiveness.

Despite similarities between the main definitions of metropolitan regions, which refer to underlying concepts of city-regional cooperation and their relevance for spatial and economic development, metropolitan policies in the three cases have taken various forms and focused on different instruments. Beyond these similarities and differences between metropolitan policies in the three contexts, two main generalizations can be drawn concerning the nature of the metropolitan region as a political and spatial concept.

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First of all, all three policies on metropolitan regions have been characterized by a symbolic rather than material agenda, in which the metropolitan region is a multi-faceted concept that can be filled up with different meanings. The comparison of two national and one supranational cases has thereby contributed to a better understanding of the concept beyond national perspectives and methodological nationalism. The comparison of metropolitan policies in three different cases permits only limited causal inference, but nonetheless provides initial indications on the emergence and translation of policy concepts.