Polycentricity and beyond in Nordic Regional Governance

NORDIC RESEARCH PROGRAMME 2005 - 2008: Internationalisation of regional development policies – Needs and demands in the Nordic countries. REPORT:9

Different regions have different preconditions for polycentric or monocentric development. Eitherspatial structure can be rational as a consequence of e.g. location and territorial capacity. However the concepts and policy applications have been questioned as to their feasibility in all types of countries and regions. Particularly in the Nordic countries, where many regions are marked by low population density and peripheral location, working towards a polycentric growth strategy may not have the same effects as in the central Europe, for instance.

Debates on polycentricity in regional policy and governance have proceeded along different lines in the Nordic countries, but the outcomes are still comparable in several respects. Thus this report omprises four country studies (Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden) in which we examine whether and how the concept of polycentricity has played a role in the debates on regional evelopment policy and governance reforms in these countries. The analysis provides a review of how polycentricity is interpreted against the contours of regional development policy and the regional/municipal reform processes in each country and in light of the particular settlement patterns of Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden.