The urban transformation and the increasing
inter-urban competition pose new challenges for
city-regions. Cities have extended far into
their hinterlands and the social and economic
relations within city-regions are much less
concentrated on the urban core than some decades ago.
In fact, most cities have become regional. This poses
new coordinating challenges of how to tackle the
related planning problems. It is this context in
which strategic planning and learning returned in the
debate on urban and regional development.
Metropolitan governance and the capacity for
strategic learning are regarded as essential elements
for urban development in city-regions. Many
city-regions are in the process of formulating and
implementing spatial strategies as response. New
political arenas have emerged in the processes.
However, the development of such urban strategies
takes place in an arena with difficult actor
constellations under institutional constraints. The
Ruhr in Germany and the Randstad in the Netherlands
are two exemplary city-regions searching for new ways
to respond to these challenges.