Special Issue of the Canadian Journal of Regional Science

Published at: 14 November 2018


Canadian Journal of Regional Science


Guest Editors:
Mario CARRIER, Full Professor, ESAD and CRAD, University Laval, Québec, Canada.
Abdelillah HAMDOUCH, Full Professor, Polytech Tours and CITERES - CNRS Research unit, University of Tours, France.

Along with the growing phenomena of urbanization and metropolization, more and more cities which play the role of main urban centres within their region acquire most of the characteristics that are usually associated with large metropolises. This role can be identified at various levels: economic, administrative and political, cultural and touristic... These cities, which we label “Regional Metropolises”, constitute both genuine technical connectivity hubs in terms of logistics, transport and communications, and regional poles for key infrastructures in various sectors (health, education, universities and research, sports, culture and leisure...) Their attractiveness and influence operate naturally at the intra-regional scale, but also increasingly at the national and international scale.

Indeed, nowadays these metropolises concentrate more and more economic activities and core infrastructures and facilities which territorial impact goes beyond the regional borders. Through the investments, companies’ headquarters, higher education, research and innovation facilities, and specialized business services they host, regional metropolises are increasingly involved in national, continental and international networks in which they are often in competition with other cities and metropolises (including foreign ones). This phenomenon is reinforced by the growing importance of knowledge, digital and service based economy, which activities have a greater spatial decentralisation potential than that of more traditional sectors. Finally, regional metropolises operate also as residential attraction poles for medium or high-income professional categories (especially highly skilled and creative people, entrepreneurs...) and constitute also, for many of them, attractive places for tourism, culture and leisure.

For all these reasons, such cities and their metropolitan regions constitute more than mere local or regional urban areas. In demographic terms, they lie between small or medium-sized agglomerations on the one hand, and large or very large national, continental and global metropolises. Their demographic range could be sized between 300,000 and 1,000.000 inhabitants.

However, these thresholds should be considered only in relative terms according to 4 parameters depending on the national and regional territorial context in which the regional metropolis is situated: 1) the population, and the demographic density and concentration across the country; 2) the weight (in terms of demography, economy, logistics...) of the regional metropolis within its region, but also in terms of its influence both on other sub-regional territories and on extra-regional neighbouring places; 3) the concentration of key infrastructures and facilities as compared to small and medium-sized towns, and suburban or rural areas situated within the regional metropolis area of influence; 4) finally, the distances and accessibility and transport conditions which define the spatial and functional relationships of the metropolis with more peripheral areas within its regional context. Accordingly, in some low demographic density countries (like Canada or the Scandinavian Countries), some medium-sized cities (50,000 to 300,000 inhabitants) can constitute important metropolitan centres within their region or even above. At the opposite, in highly populated and urbanized countries (like China, India or the United- States), with a number of big metropolises counting each more than 5, 10 or 15 million inhabitants, urban centres with 1, 2 or 3 million inhabitants could play an important metropolitan role but essentially at the regional scale.

From the urban point of view, at the image of what is observed in big metropolises, regional metropolises development follows a polycentric form, favouring therefore a new hierarchy of centralities within their metropolitan region. This generates a renewed dynamic for the localization of economic activities in which each central place attempts to develop its amenities and proximity dynamics aimed at attracting businesses and residents. At the same time, new local public policies emerge for spurring/supporting the development of material and immaterial infrastructures responding to the technical and social connectivity needs and the creativity and innovation imperative facing today every city in various domains: transport systems, R&D and technological transfer institutions, innovation clusters and business networks, etc. These infrastructures generate new static and dynamic urban externalities favouring increasing returns for individual firms (economies of scale and scope, agglomeration, proximity and networking effects...), but also for the metropolitan area as a whole (territorial endogenous growth dynamic sustained through the cumulative effects of localization and urbanization economies).

The central hypothesis explored in this special issue is that the metropolization processes and levers at the regional scale differentiate from those historically identified for big metropolises. Indeed, these processes and levers are not initially and primarily lead by a traditional logic of external attractiveness. Rather, and more substantially, they are driven by the valorisation by regional metropolises of their very specific local resources and assets (their historical, cultural and natural heritage, but also their knowledge and innovation infrastructures such as specialized universities and research centres, and specific business know-how and competences) which they have been able to preserve, develop or create despite their more or less strong and long standing institutional and financial dependence on national capitals. Also, cities engaged in regional metropolization processes seek at transforming their economy by relying first on existing or newly started local businesses, especially in technological, creative or service industries which feed contemporary growth and job creation. It is therefore the endogenous nature of the levers on which regional metropolization dynamics rely fundamentally that distinguishes them from those followed by national and international metropolises.

Therefore, the focus of this special issue on regional metropolization processes and forms aims at engaging the analysis of these specific dynamics of metropolization, and at identifying at the same time the role they play in the redefinition of urban functions and hierarchies within regional spaces which are themselves evolving rapidly and characterized by changing boundaries.

Written in French or English, the expected contributions should privilege both a theoretical conceptualization effort and original and well-documented empirical investigation work in specific regional and institutional contexts.

Submission modalities
- Full articles, 8,000 to 10,000 words, should comply with the Canadian Journal of Regional Science - Revue Canadienne des Sciences Régionales norms of presentation. The latter can be found, both in English and French, on the journal website: http://www.cjrs- rcsr.org/submission-guidelines.htm
- Proposals of full articles should be sent directly to the 2 Guest Editors: Pr. Mario CARRIER, mario.carrier@esad.ulaval.ca
Pr. Abdelillah HAMDOUCH, abdelillah.hamdouch@univ-tours.fr

Important dates and deadlines
- Reception of Full articles: 15 February 2019 at the latest.
- First relevance/quality evaluation and selection by the Guest Editors of the proposals received: 15 February – 15 March 2019, then feedback/decision (accept for external evaluation or reject) notified to the authors.
- External double-blind evaluation process of the articles selected in the preliminary phase: 15 March – 15 May 2019.
Transmission of the external evaluations and editorial decision to the authors: 20 May 2019 at the latest.
- Reception of the revised versions of articles that passed the external evaluation: 15 July 2019 at the latest.
- Final decision and eventual additional revisions potentially required by the Guest Editors: 15-31 July 2019.
- Publication of the Special issue: End of 2019 or Early 2020 depending on the journal publication constraints.