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The polycentricity of German metropolitan areas – development of a remote sensing-based approach for measuring morphological polycentricity

Project description

The emergence of polycentric metropolitan regions has been one of the most significant structural changes of urbanized regions throughout the last 30 years. International research describes current centers in city regions of Western industrial countries as a complex, functionally work-sharing network organized around centers and sub-centers. To date, there is no systematic research evidence about the progress of this transformation process from monocentric to polycentric settlement structures in Germany. This is due to the difficult empirical representation of urban and regional central systems.

Against this background, the objective of this research proposal is to analyze the current state of polycentricity and the historical development of polycentric urban structures in selected German metropolitan areas. For this purpose, a new methodological set of instruments aims to deliver information on the layout of centrality within urbanized regions, addressing mainly morphological characteristics of built-up spaces.

Based on detailed employment data and high-resolution remote sensing information, the proposed workflow is expected to result in a three-dimensional structural model of selected study areas, capable of revealing the degree of polycentricity. The project contributes substantially to empirical research related to metropolitan transformation processes and their effects on urban form. In addition, it aims to explain root causes of the underlying processes by analyzing the characteristics of the locations and facilities that define a “center”. The cooperation of two applicants with a proven track record in urban research and remote sensing is an important prerequisite for the successful implementation of this project.

Project organization

Participating institutes Institute of Regional Development Planning, University of Stuttgart (Prof. Dr.-Ing. Stefan Siedentop)
German Remote Sensing Data Center (DFD), an institute of the German Aerospace Center (DLR) Oberpfaffenhofen (Dr. Hannes Taubenböck)
Sponsor DFG (German Research Foundation)
Duration 30 months
Status ongoing