GaWC Project 33

GaWC logo
  Gateways into GaWC

POLYNET: Sustainable Management of European Polycentric Mega-City Regions

Funded by European Regional Development Fund, INTERREG IIIB NWE
(Community Initiative Concerning Transnational Co-operation, Spatial Planning 2000-2006)

Funded by ERDF

Grant holders:

Lead partner: Sir Peter Hall and Kathryn Pain (The Young Foundation, London)
Robert Kloosterman (University of Amsterdam)
Michael Hoyler and Peter Meusburger (University of Heidelberg)
Ludovic Halbert (Université Paris-1)
John Yarwood (Urban Institute, Ireland)
Alain Thierstein and Christian Kruse (NSL & IRL, Zurich)
Rainer Danielzyk (ILS Dortmund)
Christian Vandermotten (Université  Libre de Bruxelles)
Peter Taylor (Loughborough)

Research associates at Loughborough: David Walker and David Evans

[Results and Media Coverage]

POLYNET is a three year project that examines changes in functional connections and information flows (physical/transportation and virtual/ICT) in major urban regions across North West Europe.


  • To investigate how contemporary business decentralisation and spatial concentration are affecting patterns of network flows for advanced producer services in seven major NWE polycentric 'Global-Mega-City-Regions' in 6 NWE countries
  • To analyse the impact on changes in patterns of network behaviour on information flows across north-west Europe and the EU in general
  • To investigate the effect of behaviour in one city-region on others (inter-regional as well as intra-regional)
  • To understand and structure these activities within a geographically-specific research framework that will have a transnational relevance and policy impact.

These objectives will be attained through quantitative analyses of personal movements, business network connections and telecommunications traffic, as well as a qualitative analysis of business linkages, with the aim of proposing new policy recommendations and response. Various teams will conduct case studies of selected mega-city regions using similar methodology, as well as a number of comparative analyses, and in so doing contribute to the knowledge base on spatial relations in the north-west Europe.

The outcome of the project will be the establishment of a Transnational Policy Network to promote the development of complementary spatial plans to encourage polycentricity and enhance interconnections at local, regional, national and transnational levels.

For results of this project, see:

Peter Hall and Kathy Pain (eds) (2006): The Polycentric Metropolis: Learning from Mega-City Regions in Europe. Earthscan.
Ludovic Halbert, Frank J. Convery and Alain Thierstein (eds) (2006): Reflections on the Polycentric Metropolis, Built Environment 32(2).
Michael Hoyler, Robert C. Kloosterman and Martin Sokol (eds) (2008): Globalization, City-Regions and Polycentricity in North-West Europe, Regional Studies 42(8).

Research Reports (Polynet Public Download Area); GaWC Research Bulletins 191, 199, 201, 220, 226, 228 and 260

Media Coverage:
Financial Times 18 February 2005, worldchanging 28 July 2005, Frankfurter Rundschau 30 July 2005, Planning Resource 24 May 2006, Planning 26 May 2006, Regeneration & Renewal 9 June 2006, Münchner Merkur 27 June 2006