Pacifying Babel’s Tower: A scientometric analysis of polycentricity in urban research


It is sometimes claimed that the degree of polycentricity of an urban region influences that region’s competitiveness. However, because of widespread use and policy relevance, the underlying concept of polycentricity has become a ‘stretched concept’in urban studies. As a result, academic debate on the topic leads to situations reminiscent of Babel’s Tower. This meta-study of the scientific literature in urban studies traces the conceptual stretching of polycentricity using scientometric methods and content analysis.

Urban Studies 53(6), 1278–1298