Conceptually, the degrees of spatial and functional integration and urban complementarities in economic network relations are hypothesised to be important. In this paper, data on interfirm relations in the Dutch Randstad are used to test conditions for integration and the existence of economic complementarities. A clear hierarchy is observed in the different types of spatial interdependencies in the Randstad, in which the central place model prevails. Furthermore, no evidence is found for the functional integration of municipalities in the Randstad. It is concluded that, at this moment, the Randstad does not function as a spatially and functionally integrated region and that spatial economic policy can better focus on smaller regions within the Randstad. This also calls into question the applicability of the urban network concept in general, as the Dutch Randstad is usually seen as a prime example of an economically successful polycentric urban system.

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Urban Studies: an international journal for research in urban studies
Erasmus Research Institute of Management

van Oort, F., Burger, M., & Raspe, O. (2010). On the Economic Foundation of the Urban Network Paradigm: Spatial Integration, Functional Integration and Economic Complementarities within the Dutch Randstad. Urban Studies: an international journal for research in urban studies, 47(4), 725–748. doi:10.1177/0042098009352362