MARZO 2009
  • Rafael Boix
    Institut d’Estudis Regionals i Metropolitans Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona Parc de Recerca Modul A, 08193 Cerdanyola del Vallès, Barcelona (Spain) Email:
  • Paolo Veneri
    Dipartimento di Economia, Università Politecnica delle Marche Piazza Martelli, 8 – 60121, Ancona (Italy) Email:

Metropolitan areas concentrate the main share of population, production and consumption in OECD countries. They are likely to be the most important units for economic, social and environmental analysis as well as for the development of policy strategies. However, one of the main problems that occur when adopting metropolitan areas as units of analysis and policy in European countries is the absence of widely accepted standards for identifying them. This severe problem appeared when we tried to perform comparative research between Spain and Italy using metropolitan areas as units of analysis. The aim of this paper is to identify metropolitan areas in Spain and Italy using similar methodologies. The results allow comparing the metropolitan realities of both countries as well as providing the metropolitan units that can be used in subsequent comparative researches. Two methodologies are proposed: the Cheshire-GEMACA methodology (FUR) and an iterative version of the USA-MSA algorithm, particularly adapted to deal with polycentric metropolitan areas (DMA). Both methods show a good approximation to the metropolitan reality and produce very similar results: 75 FUR and 67 DMA in Spain (75% of total population and employment), and 81 FUR and 86 DMA in Italy (70% of total population and employment).

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