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Delineation of the Urban Influence Area Using the Multi-Criteria Assessment Method. The Case of Focşani City, Romania

Florentina-Cristina MERCIU*1, Irina MARVU1, Oana Bianca ILIESCU1, George-Laurențiu MERCIU2
* Corresponding author
1 University of Bucharest, Faculty of Geography, Department of Human and Economic Geography, Bucharest, ROMANIA

2 University of Bucharest, Faculty of Geography, Department of Geomorphology, Pedology and Geomatics, Bucharest, ROMANIA
Pages: 13-28

Abstract. The delineation of urban influence area has been analysed since the beginning of the 19th century and has also attracted the interest of specialists in the current period, as a result of the socioeconomic changes that have a strong impact on the evolution of urban agglomerations. The importance of delineating influence areas results from the need to quantify the polarization degree of cities and the extent to which they influence adjacent territories. The aim of this study is to delineate the influence area of Focșani city, a second-ranked urban centre and the seat of Vrancea county. The main hypothesis of this paper is that Focșani city is able to structure the urban and rural surrounding areas through the influence and power of attraction it exerts on them. Authors use two comparative methods to delineate the influence area both theoretically (applying the Reilly-Converse formula) and empirically on the basis of a dynamic and comprehensive analysis using a set of key criteria: transport systems, economic, demographic, social and cultural aspects. Based on specific indicators for each of these criteria, authors analyse several data series (2002–2017) to identify transport areas, social and cultural areas, supply area, etc. Individualizing each influence area and overlapping them using GIS techniques led to the delineation of the influence area of Focșani city. Taking into consideration the intensity of territorial relationships established between Focșani city and the other settlements within Vrancea County, we identified that the influence area could be divided into three areas of primary, secondary and tertiary importance. The comparative analysis of the different indicators revealed, as a main conclusion, that Focșani city has influence on the entire territory of Vrancea County.

K e y w o r d s:  urban influence area, connectivity, urban-rural interface, territorial ties, regional development