City-Regions are the enlarged territories from which core urban areas draw people for work and services such as shopping, education, health, leisure and entertainment. The City-Region is a functional entity within which business and services operate. City-regional economies play a strong role in driving forward the economies of their regions. The city-regional scale reflects the 'geography of everyday life' rather than administrative boundaries and presents us with opportunities to develop policy that reflect and support the functioning of that City-Region. Below is a theoretical diagram of a city-region, depicting the travel to work area, contiguous built up area as well as administrative areas.
The term city region has been in use since about 1950 by urbanists, economists and urban planners to mean not just the administrative area of a recognisable city or conurbation but also its hinterland that will often be far bigger. Conventionally, if one lives in an apparently rural area, suburb or county town where a majority of wage-earners travel into a particular city for a full or part-time job then one is (in effect) residing in the city region. . (Allen J. Scott (ed.) (2001))
In studying human geography, urban and regional planning or the regional dynamics of business it is often worthwhile having closer regard to dominant travel patterns during the working day (to the extent that these can be estimated and recorded), than to the rather arbitrary boundaries assigned to administrative bodies such as councils, prefectures, or to localities defined merely to optimise postal services. Inevitably City Regions change their shapes over time and quite reasonably politicians seek to redraw administrative boundary maps from time-to-time to keep in-tune with perceived geographic reality. The extent of a city region is usually proportional to the intensity of activity in and around its central business district, but the spacing of competing centres of population can also be highly influential. It will be apprciated that a city region need not have a symmetrical shape, and that is especially true in coastal or lakeside situations (consider for instance Oslo, Southampton or Chicago).
edited from Allen J. Scott (ed.) (2001) "Global City-Regions: Trends, Theory Policy," Oxford: Oxford University Press.