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Different types of urban regions

Infographic | 29-05-2016
Different types of urban regions

Urban areas in Europe come in all shapes and sizes. In general, four different morphological types can be distinguished: monocentric, dispersed, linear and polycentric urban regions.

Regions with monocentric urban structures can be found in France, Spain, Portugal and countries in the northern and eastern parts of Europe, where cities are distributed over relatively large areas.

Dispersed urban patterns are formed by scattered or sprawling cities, towns and suburbs with relatively low densities. Examples can be found in parts of Belgium, in northern Italy and in the south of Poland.

Regions with linear forms of agglomeration have emerged along some of Europe’s coastlines, for instance in Portugal, in the southern parts of Spain and France, and in the east of Italy. Linear urban regions are also present in mountain valleys in Switzerland and Austria.

In polycentric urban regions, multiple cities lie in close proximity to one another. These kinds of regions can be found in the Netherlands, the western part of Germany and the southern half of the United Kingdom.

Source data

In this infographic, LandScan 2014 data was used to generate the spikes in population densities on a grid of 2x2 kilometres. More information about the definition and distribution of cities can be found here: http://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/statistics-explained/index.php/Statistics_on_European_cities#Cities_.28Urban_Audit.29

Use of infographics

Unless stated otherwise, the Creative Commons (BY) licence applies to this infographic. For more information on this licence or the use of this infographic, please contact our graphics department (beeldredactie@pbl.nl).