Metropolitan Spatial Structures

This theme is concerned with understanding the evolution and performance of regional metropolitan spatial structures in terms of economic competitiveness, environmental sustainability and social well-being. It is concerned with linking planning strategy and practice positively with improved knowledge of spatial structure and performance.

We develop models of urban and regional structuring and transformation. We use these to research the relationships between regional form and economic competitiveness, environmental sustainability and social well-being, and to model the social, economic and environmental performance of regions. We track and interpret changes in patterns of urbanisation and in regional structure in the Randstad and other regions, and compare different regions using common modelling protocols and indicators. We formulate methods and guidelines for the building of economically and socially advantageous and sustainable cities and metropolitan regions in order to bring the results of this research to planners, designers and policy-makers in usable forms.

Research questions

  • How can we model regional and metropolitan urbanization, its form and structure?
  • What is the evolving functional geography of metropolitan regions and how do different geographies perform?
  • How do we define and use indicators of performance relating to economic competitiveness, environmental sustainability and social well-being, including health and happiness?
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