Planning and Governing Polycentric Urban Regions Conference

  • 2 September 2019 - 3 September 2019
  • Two day event
  • Loughborough University

The relevance of PUR-related research has been reinforced by the fact that the concept has attracted considerable interest from policy makers and regional planners. A range of normative plans and policies have been proposed advocating ‘polycentric regional development’. In policy terms, PURs have been championed by advocates as an innovative way to manage urban-rural relations and framed by the normative goal of sustainable spatially balanced territorial development. We see this in Europe, where following the European Spatial Development Perspective (ESDP), European Spatial Planning Observatory Network (ESPON) and the Interreg IIIB programmes have advanced PURs as a key mechanism to achieve territorial competitiveness and cohesion. We see it in post-reform China which has seen its fast-paced urbanisation, initially characterised by decentralisation and rescaling of state power leading to intercity competition, captured by collaborative projects such as plans for PURs in recent years. Meanwhile, more generally, a spatial planning agenda focusing on ‘megaregions’ – large-scale regions centred on multiple, more-or-less closely located urban centres – has been devised, emphasising the supposed benefits for competitiveness and resilience. This said, the development of (polycentric) urban regions is not a spatially and socially homogenous process. It is important to identify people and places that are ‘winners’ and ‘losers’ in city-regional processes. Equally significant is identifying the successes and failings of the polycentric development model.

As workshop organisers we are keen to attract papers which offer new insights into the effectiveness of the polycentric regional development model in general, and a particular focus on the planning and governance of PURs. Abstracts which are highly innovative, collaborative, international or multi-disciplinary are especially welcome, as are contributions which offer retrospective assessments and/or prospective visions for PURs. Broad themes and key agendas the organisers are keen to facilitate discussion around include, but are not limited to:

  • Local, regional and national development policies for PURs
  • Coordinating planning and governance of PURs across fragmented arrangements
  • Similarities and differences in approaches to planning and governing small-scale, medium-sized and large-scale PURs
  • The challenge of planning and governing cross-border PURs
  • Assessments of the impacts that polycentric regional development has on peoples and places.
  • (Overcoming) constraints to polycentric regional development
  • Planning and governance in, for and beyond PURs
  • Achievements, failings, future for the polycentric development model
  • Illustrative cases where the PURs development model has been implemented (un)successfully
Book now

Contact and booking details

Booking required?
Booking information
Thanks to generous support by the Regional Studies Association workshop participation is free of charge and meals are included (including a conference dinner).