Do employment subcenters structure mobility patterns and land consumption? A global analysis for the main metropolitan areas in Spain
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Subcentres are dense concentrations of employment and services that appear across contemporary metropolitan areas, the resulting urban pattern is called polycentric. Polycentrism has become the keystone in a major number of regional and urban policies, since it has been seen as a sustainable and equilibrated urban model. In this paper, using as case study the biggest metropolitan areas in Spain we test whether employment subcentres effectively structure mobility patterns around them, and at the same time whether polycentric urban patterns reduce land consumed around subcentres. For this reason we use effective urbanised area and travel to work mobility matrix to assess whether polycentrism increases the efficiency of urbanisation. The results suggest that effectively employment subcentres do structure travel to work patterns, reducing urban mobility, and consequently being structural places. Nevertheless, from the perspective of land consumption little effect is detected after controlling other urban factors affecting this vector such as orography and urban fabric fragmentation.
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