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Polycentric spatial development: institutional challenges to intermunicipal cooperation


  • Amy Rader Olsson


  • Göran Cars



Policies supporting a polycentric metropolitan spatial structure have been suggested as an effective way to achieve sustainable environmental, economic and social urban development. However, there are significant challenges to implementing a polycentric spatial strategy in practice. Metropolitan space is governed by many large and small municipalities and infrastructure investments are determined by local, regional and national authorities and private developers. Polycentric spatial strategies meet classic collective action problems since local costs and benefits are asymmetrical. Most metropolitan regions lack effective institutions for resolving social dilemmas and collective action challenges that could facilitate land use and transport policies supporting polycentric or other sustainable spatial strategies. This study of intermunicipal dialogue regarding the polycentric spatial strategy in the Stockholm region suggests that cooperation for polycentric spatial development may in fact lead instead to a corridor development pattern. Copyright Springer-Verlag 2011

Suggested Citation

  • Amy Rader Olsson & Göran Cars, 2011. "Polycentric spatial development: institutional challenges to intermunicipal cooperation," Review of Regional Research: Jahrbuch für Regionalwissenschaft, Springer;Gesellschaft für Regionalforschung (GfR), vol. 31(2), pages 155-171, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:jahrfr:v:31:y:2011:i:2:p:155-171
    DOI: 10.1007/s10037-011-0054-x

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Charles M. Tiebout, 1956. "A Pure Theory of Local Expenditures," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 64, pages 416-416.
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    Cited by:

    1. Luca Salvati & Margherita Carlucci & Efstathios Grigoriadis & Francesco Maria Chelli, 2018. "Uneven dispersion or adaptive polycentrism? Urban expansion, population dynamics and employment growth in an ‘ordinary’ city," Review of Regional Research: Jahrbuch für Regionalwissenschaft, Springer;Gesellschaft für Regionalforschung (GfR), vol. 38(1), pages 1-25, February.


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