In the contemporary literature on urban systems, it is often suggested that the conceptualization of urban systems as monocentric spatial entities has become increasingly problematic. However, by analyzing employment and commuting patterns in English and Welsh city-regions between 1981 and 2001, it can be shown that not all city-regions are experiencing a shift toward a polycentric spatial structure. Although most city-regions in Southeast England and the Midlands are becoming more polycentric, the spatial structures of many city-regions in the North have not shown significant change. In fact, some are becoming more monocentric. In addition, polycentricity takes different forms, which indicates that the development of metropolitan spatial structure can be characterized as a heterogeneous spatial process.

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Keywords England and Wales, city regions, commuting, spatial structure, urban networks
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Series ERIM Article Series (EAS)
Journal Cities: the international journal of urban policy and planning
Burger, M.J, de Goei, B, & van der Laan, L. (2011). Heterogeneous development of metropolitan spatial structure: Evidence from commuting patterns in English and Welsh city-regions, 1981–2001. Cities: the international journal of urban policy and planning, 28(2), 160–170. doi:10.1016/j.cities.2010.11.006