Functional areas such as integrated local labour markets exist across countries’ entire
national territory. However, most OECD countries have focused their work on larger
cities and their surrounding area of economic influence by establishing the concept
of functional urban areas. Extending this concept to non-urban areas can help policy
makers analyse subnational developments and design spatially better-targeted policies.
The report Delineating Functional Areas for all Territories provides a comprehensive
review of existing approaches to delineating functional areas across countries’ entire
national territory as a tool for territorial statistics and regional policy making.
The report explains the rationale for functional territories as a complement to established
administrative geographies. It discusses the most important challenges and the methodological
aspects of delineating functional areas based on travel-to-work commuting flows or
novel sources of data and develops a set of methodological guidelines that are applied
in five OECD countries, demonstrating the feasibility of delineating functional areas
across diverse types of country geographies in a consistent manner.