Common term: Metro regions; Plural: Metro regions
Short definition: Metro regions are NUTS-3 regions or groupings of NUTS-3 regions representing all urban agglomerations of more than 250 000 inhabitants. They are approximations of the Functional urban areas (FUAs) as used in the Urban Audit. The typology distinguishes three types of metro regions: 1. capital city regions; 2. second-tier metro regions; 3. smaller metro regions.
Longer description: The EU metro regions cover all metro regions with at least 250 000 inhabitants. The NUTS 3-based typology of metro regions contains gro pings of NUTS 3 regions used as approximations of the main metropolitan areas. The initial methodology for the selection of the NUTS 3 components of the metro regions is based on the Urban Audit definition of Functional urban area (FUA). These FUAs contain the major cities and their surrounding travel-to-work areas. Fuas are defined as groupings of existing administrative areas (often LAU2 units). Their boundaries do not necessarily coincide with those of NUTS 3 regions. Consequently, NUTS 3 regions in which at least 50% of the regional population lives inside a given LUZ were considered to be the components of the metro region related to that FUA. The typology distinguishes three types of metro regions:
- capital city regions;
- second-tier metro regions;
- smaller metro regions.
The capital city region is the metro region which includes the national capital.
Second-tier metro regions are the group of largest cities in the country excluding the capital. For this purpose, a fixed population threshold could not be used. As a result, a natural break served the purpose of distinguishing the second tier from the smaller metro regions. The distinction between second tier and smaller metro regions may be adapted in future to provide a closer match with the distinctions used in, especially national, policy debates.