Investigating polycentric urban regions in Poland: different measures – different results

Authors: Szymon Marcinczak*, University of Lodz, Bartosz Bartosiewicz, University of Lodz
Topics: Economic Geography, Urban Geography, East Europe
Keywords: polycentric urban region, urban structure, commuting, Poland
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/4/2019
Start / End Time: 1:10 PM / 2:50 PM
Room: Jackson, Marriott, Mezzanine Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


This paper measures polycentric urban development in 56 urban regions in Poland by examining work related commuting patterns and the intra-regional distribution of population. Empirical studies on multi-nodal urban development, both on the functional and morphological dimension, often promote different approaches and measurement methods to reveal the degree of polycentricity. We apply different methods of polycentricity measurement to shed more light on the functional and morphological development of urban regions in Poland in 2011. We also explore how the relationship between the two dimensions of polycentricity is sensitive to measurement methods. Consequently, we use six most commonly applied measures to assess the urban regions’ degree of polycentric development: the rank-size distribution of centers, the indices of functional and morphological primacy, the general functional polycentricity index, the entropy index, and the indices of exchange and cross-commuting. The upshot of our study is that, for the same urban region, different measures commonly suggest divergent degrees of polycentricity. Also the strength, direction and statistical significance of the relationship between functional and morphological polycentricity appear to closely hinge on measurement methods. As the indices of functional and morphological primacy seem to best differentiate between the types of multi-nodal urban structures, we use the measures to summarize the degree of polycentric urban development in Poland. The results illustrate that the form indeed follows function in urban Poland, and that the level of morphological polycentricity is higher than the level of functional polycentricity, especially in regions with high nodal density.

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