Town Planning Review

Stein's 'Regional City' concept revisited: Critical mass and complementarity in contemporary urban networks

Town Planning Review (2008), 79, (5), 485–506.

Abstract

Many decades after its conception, Stein's famous concept of the Regional City appears to be more alive then ever before. Unwittingly, the integrated development of a cluster of close-by cities has become a core issue in national and regional strategic planning, although the label 'urban network' is more common than 'Regional City' for such a cluster. In terms of ideal spatial organisation, both concepts are similar. The main assumptions in this respect are that the support base or critical mass in a polycentric cluster of cities is equivalent to that of a similar-sized monocentric city. Also, these close-by cities are assumed to complement each other in terms of urban functions. This article explores whether these assumptions hold true. It was found that for Dutch Wet Gemeenschappelijke Regelingen (WGR) regions the polycentric ones provide less support for amenities than monocentric regions, and that this was true even for those regions that are more complementary. The implications of these findings for the regional planning of such a cluster of cities are discussed.

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Author details

Meijers, Evert