Comparing the European Dimension of Metropolitan Policies from an Interpretive Perspective

  • Carola FrickeEmail author
Part of the Springer Geography book series (SPRINGERGEOGR)


Before coming to the conclusion of this book, this chapter summarises the findings of the previous analysis by illustrating the central claims in a comparison of the European dimension of metropolitan policies across contexts and levels. Thereby, the comparison develops around three tendencies identified in the previous chapters, or in other words, is based on the claim that the European dimension of metropolitan policies is an expression of the following three interrelated processes. First, selected metropolitan regions, including Lyon and Stuttgart, are increasingly oriented towards the European level, engaging in activities that underline their mobilisation as international actors. In particular, the Chaps.  5 and  7 carve out the European dimension of metropolitan strategies and activities in the EU context, establishing a direct link between the metropolitan and European levels. Second, understandings of ‘the metropolitan’ are shifting, yet not necessarily converging. This tendency becomes visible when comparing the multiplicity of concepts underlying the definition of metropolitan regions in policy documents and practice. While these shifts indicate changing policy frames, the extent to which they correspond to profound paradigmatic shifts remains questionable. Third, references to Europe in national and subnational policies are becoming more normalised, but are largely of symbolic or rhetoric nature—with the exception of EU funding opportunities for metropolitan regions. Meanwhile, the metropolitan remains an implicit policy issue in the EU context and is only addressed indirectly, embedded in a soft approach to ‘cities of all sizes’ and functional regions. In order to expound how these processes contribute to the appearance of a European dimension in metropolitan policies, the first two subchapters contrast metropolitan policies at the same scale from a more traditional comparative perspective which assumes that policies at the same governmental level are comparable. The remainder of the chapter engages in an interpretive comparison across levels guided by the theoretically informed research questions. This then builds the basis for the subsequent interpretation of the case studies in light of the theoretical assumptions on the Europeanisation, learning and reframing of metropolitan policies.


Interpretive comparison Metropolitan policies across contexts Diversifying metropolitan concepts 


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Human GeographyUniversity of FreiburgFreiburg im BreisgauGermany

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