Polycentric Metropolitan Form: Application of a ‘Northern’ Concept in Latin America

Arie Romein, Otto Verkoren, Ana María Fernandez


Since the mid 20th century, large urban areas in advanced economies have experienced a fundamental transformation from relatively compact monocentric cities towards more extended polycentric metropolitan areas. By now, it is being commented repeatedly, but not investigated systematically that the concept of polycentricity is also adequate to characterise recent metropolitan dynamics in Latin-America.

This paper aims to present a few key-issues for a future research agenda into polycentricity in Latin-American metropolitan areas. These elements are identified from a review of existing literature. Since no clear-cut definition and operationalisation of polycentricity exist yet, we distinguish some key-elements of this phenomenon in North America as a frame of reference for this review. It reveals that ‘polycentricity U.S. style’ is at best dawning in Latin-America. In order to achieve a more appropriate picture of polycentricity of Latin American metropolitan areas, our ideas for a research agenda take into account these areas typical economic, social and spatial conditions.

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7480/footprint.3.2.712

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