METROLUX (2007-2009)

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Metropolisation and urban governance in Luxembourg and cross-border areas

Luxembourg-City holds an original position in the globalized world. In spite of its weak demographic weight, it has become an international centre competing with bigger metropolises. As a matter of fact, Luxembourg is one of the favoured locations for the financial and insurance sectors on a global scale. Many world-wide companies and European institutions have their headquarters in the city.

The metropolisation process in Luxembourg also has a spatial impact on many nation-states (France, Germany and Belgium): the city attracts local firms, consumers and skilled workers coming from the neighbouring countries. However, to the contrary of many metropolises, Luxembourg suffers from a certain number of weaknesses, more particularly in a certain number of fields such as research and development (R&D) and culture.

The general objective of the METROLUX programme is to study the metropolisation process in Luxembourg-City. It aims at understanding and theorising the new spatial organisation produced by local, regional and global actors through the analysis of social, economic, political and cultural transformations affecting the metropolis.

METROLUX 2007-2009 - Project Description
source: FNR Annual Report 2009, Research Highlight, reproduced with permission

Four fields of research have been defined

    1. The functional and symbolic attributes of the Luxembourg metropolis
    QWhat are the potentialities and constraints of the metropolis? What are the main economic reasons explaining the highly strategic position of the city? How can tourism, culture and scientific research improve the status of Luxembourg as a metropolis? What are the symbolic artefacts of the City?
    2. The inclusion of Luxembourg in the regional and global city networks
    What is the general evolution of urban networks as far as commodities, individuals and information are concerned? What are the evidences of Luxembourg emerging as a global city?
    3. The role of borders in the metropolisation process
    What is the structure of the cross-border space? What are the main cross-border differentials and how are they regulated? Have cross-border differentials played an important role in the development of the metropolis? What kind of cooperation programmes are implemented between Luxembourg, France, Germany and Belgium?
    4. Metropolitan governance in Luxembourg and cross-border areas
    What kind of governance should be implemented in order to cope with new metropolisation issues? What should be the role of the metropolis as far as cross-border governance is concerned? What is the autonomy of the metropolis within the State of Luxembourg?

Quantitative (indicators of metropolity or accessibility) and qualitative (interviews) approaches will be used in a complementary way, in order to improve the comprehension of the metropolitan processes and the understanding of actor’s strategies. Comparative analysis between Luxembourg and other cross-border metropolises (Saarbrucken, Basel, and Geneva) will be put forward to single out the distinctive characteristics of Luxembourg.

Institutional framework
The METROLUX research programme is funded by the Luxembourg National Research Fund for a period of two years (2007-2009). It is coordinated by the Centre for Population, Poverty and Public Policy Studies (CEPS/INSTEAD) in Luxembourg in partnership with the universities of Luxembourg, Strasbourg I and Mulhouse.

Geography & Development Department (GEODE), CEPS/INSTEAD, Esch-sur-Alzette, Luxembourg


  • Prof. Dr Christian SCHULZ, University of Luxembourg
  • Michaela GENSHEIMER, University of Luxembourg
  • Dr Bernard REITEL, University of Upper Alsace
  • Dr Patricia ZANDER, University of Strasbourg

Dr Christophe SOHN - Project Director
Geography and Development Department (GEODE)
3, avenue de la Fonte, L-4364 Esch-sur-Alzette

Tél. (00352)
Fax. (00352)
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