Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Maps: harmonised delimitation of the agglomeration areas by morphological criteria, presentation in satellite images as well as in black-and-white maps

The main objective of work package 3 was the updating of the COMET case studies within the morphological agglomeration delimitation as defined by N.U.R.E.C. 1994 (Network on Urban Research in the European Community) and their implementation in a Geographical Information System (GIS). This means the delimitation and presentation of the agglomeration areas on satellite images as well as the preparation of black-and-white-maps showing all included smallest administrative units. Secondly the case-study area of Vienna had to be delimited as in the original data base made by N.U.R.E.C. Austria was not included due to the fact that it still was not part of the European Community in 1994.

The method to delimit the case study areas of COMET in a unitary way was developed since 1989 by the Network on Urban Research in the European Community (N.U.R.E.C.). The criteria for this delimitation are based on morphological definitions of "building" and "contiguous built-up area" and are applied to the smallest administrative units. In 1994 330 European agglomerations with at least 100.000 inhabitants were delimited by the N.U.R.E.C. method (Atlas of Agglomerations in the European Union, Part of an Integrated Observation System, Vol. I-III, Duisburg 1994). The COMET-partners task within work package 3 consisted in updating their agglomeration areas on basis of the latest satellite image. In the case of Vienna, the N.U.R.E.C. delimitation was not carried out in 1994 as Austria did not belong to the European Union. Therefore, the Vienna scientific partner could not refer to the 1994-delimitation.

In the case of Brussels the delimitation by N.U.R.E.C. meant an agglomeration area including Antwerp and Gent as well as Kortrijk due to Belgian settlement policy. The scientific partners of COMET therefore modified the morphological method and delimited their case study area following the criteria of population density, too. To avoid the exclusion of important areas with driving forces some partners considered the addition of an agglomeration delimitation fringe. The fringe is the area, which is situated inside a distance of 10km from the N.U.R.E.C. delimitation border. It also refers to the administrative basic unit. Administration units, which are touched by the 10-km-borderline are included if either more than 50% of their area are located inside the belt or if more than 50% of their inhabitants live inside the belt of 10km. The basis for all following work packages is the N.U.R.E.C. delimitation. The fringe gives additional opportunity to analyse the case study areas.

With the updating of the N.U.R.E.C. delimitations and the integration of Vienna, a base for comparative research was set. The delimitation in a standardised manner offered the opportunity to refer to the same areas within each agglomeration. Based on the delimitation the terms "Inner City" (defined by each partner), "Core city" (administration boundaries of the cities) and "agglomeration area" (N.U.R.E.C.-delimitation) were set as a standard for every case study area. All future work packages refer to these basic units. As the result of the project contains a simulation model for agglomerations, which are not involved in the project, the clear delimitation of the agglomeration is needed in order to apply the model.

At least, the facts that lead to the morphological methods may be described as follows. First of all, the concept to delimit agglomeration areas with the help of the "Densely built-up area" is officially accepted by the United Nations as well as by the European Commission. Dealing with satellite images, the method is an efficient one and allows simplifying the updating of agglomeration delimitation. Many European countries are dealing with the morphological method, and in a long-term view it will be handled in all large research projects on comparative urban research. Secondly, the traditional functional gravity concepts of urban development and urban structure are heavily criticized. New concepts (e.g. Edge Cities, Zwischenstadt) lead to a new perspective of flows within an agglomeration area, whereas morphological criteria reflect very well the densification process overwhelming former open spaces. Especially the GIS-based delimitation gives the opportunity to represent the results in various maps. The delimitation of the agglomeration area and their different parts like inner city, rest of the core city and suburban area are also the basis for comparative research regarding sub-urbanisation processes, the business enquiry etc.

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Philipps University of Marburg
Deutschhausstr. 10
35037 Marburg
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