Metropolitan Area „Central Germany“: How Strong are the Commuting Flows between the Cities?
The metropolitan area „Central Germany“ is an institutional agreement on co-operation between the bigger cities of the German Länder Saxonia, Saxony-Anhalt and Thuringia. It is one of now eleven “European Metropolitan Areas” acknowledged by the Conference of German Ministers for Spatial Planning. In the face of the multitude of cities and the large distances between the cities at the fringe and the geographical centre of the metropolitan area “Central Germany” should be regarded as a very special case. Another peculiarity is that the hinterland of the metropolitan area has not yet been delineated. The paper analyses the networking interrelations between the eleven cities on the basis of commuting flows. Additionally, proposals for the delimitation of this metropolitan area as a polycentric functional urban area are suggested for the first time. The investigation yields that network connectivity between the cities that have shaped the former metropolitan area “Halle/Leipzig-Saxonian Triangle”, as well as the Thuringian cities is much more intensive than the commuting flows between these subareas that are well connected from history. As a functional area, the metropolitan area “Central Germany” would have a very large hinterland, but its population density would be rather small, and it would interact only with the nearest regional centres. One can conclude that the preconditions for successful cooperation are better for adjacent cities which collaboration has already a long tradition.