Urban areas of Finland on a local scale

Authors: Jaana Vanhatalo*, Tampere University
Topics: Urban Geography, Urban and Regional Planning, Geographic Information Science and Systems
Keywords: Urban area, definition, urban population percentage, urbanization, GIS, local scale
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/6/2020
Start / End Time: 9:35 AM / 10:50 AM
Room: Plaza Court 4, Sheraton, Concourse Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Urban area definitions behind the urban population percentages are based on a division into urban and rural. This dichotomy is controversial, as e.g. urban theory has argued for decades that the border between urban and rural has blurred. Therefore, it is important to research, how well the different urban area definitions actually embody the real built environment and how reliable they are.

In Europe, the urban area definitions are based on either municipality level (LAU-areas) or localities/settlements. The preliminary results of a study conducted in Finland indicate that according to different European definitions, the urban Finland is ambiguous. In the study, the area definitions behind urban population percentages of 17 European countries were studied in the case of Finland. According to these definitions, the urban population percentage of Finland varied between 58.2% and 98.9%.

The next step is to observe how this phenomenon appears in the local scale. How do the borders of separate urban areas vary according to different definitions in the municipality scale? Does the size of the municipality affect the variation of the urban areas? In this sub-study, the urban area units formed according to 11 European definitions are examined on the municipality level in Finland. The municipalities are divided into three classes by the population. The borders and characteristics of the urban areas in the different municipalities are examined, both statistically and spatially. The analyses are based on GIS.

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