Classifications of urban and rural areas

The development of urban and rural areas is of great interest on international, European and national level. In order to be able to describe these developments classifications of urban and rural areas have to be made. For the national level Statistics Austria is providing an Urban-rural typology. For the international and European level the OECD and European Commission have developed various typologies.

Urban-rural typology of Statistics Austria

For statistical purposes Statistics Austria developed the urban-rural typology and defined urban and rural areas for 2013 for the first time. This typology has integrated the delineation of urban regions (urban centres) which have been defined from 1971 until 2001. Although the basic concept of the formation of urban regions remained unchanged, comparability with previous urban region definitions was limited due to changes in the measured values and thresholds used as well as refinements to the geographic reference base for determining core zones. Nevertheless, the definition of urban regions was developed on the premise of maximum continuity with the previous definitions of urban regions.

In a first step highly densified areas are delineated based on 500m grid cells and urban and regional centres are defined on municipality level. For the definition of regional centres the existence of infrastructure facilities is taken into consideration. In a next step municipalities outside of centres are classified according to commuter interrelations and accessibility of centres. The results are 4 major classes: urban centres (urban regions), regional centres, rural area surrounding centres (urban regions outer zone), rural area. These classes are subdivided into a total number of 11 classes according to the accessibility of urban and regional centres (central, intermediate, peripheral). Additionally, the importance of tourism is evaluated for each municipality (additional layer of information).

More information on the urban-rural typology can be found here.

International typologies

In order to ensure a harmonised application of the typologies and allow for cross-referencing from other acts and programmes, typologies have been integrated into the NUTS Regulation. More information on the methodology can be found in the Methodological manual on territorial typologies the European Commission.

Urban-rural typology (European Commission)

Based on a two-staged process this typology classifies NUTS 3 regions according to population density on 1km grid level into 3 categories: predominantly urban, intermediate, predominantly rural.  
Data level: NUTS 3 (2016), population data 2011

Degree of urbanisation (European Commission)

Municipalities are classified into 3 categories based on the population density on 1km grid level: densely populated area, intermediate density area, thinly-populated area).  
Data level: municipalities 2016, population data 2011

Accessibility

Under the Eurostat Grant “Merging statistics and geospatial information in Member States” Statistics Austria performed the action “Grid-based indicators of accessibility of public utility infrastructure” (Agreement 08143.2015.001-2015.712). Its objective was to model indicators of accessibility of public infrastructure and to produce grid-based result datasets describing the ease with which a good or service can be reached by the resident population. In a first step, this was measured considering the distance (shortest travel time) along the road network by private car from an origin (resident population) to the nearest facility (infrastructure). This step was implemented in a Geographic Information System using georeferenced input datasets (demographic and infrastructure data) as well as a road network for the calculation of distances. In a second step, the distances to a range of infrastructure facilities were aggregated to indicators of accessibility in an environment for statistical computing.

The calculations have been implemented for the reference date of 31 October 2014. The project documentation and results for 1km grid are available here.

International typologies (NUTS 3) - Population package
International typologies - Degree of Urbanisation - Population package
International typologies - Degree of Urbanisation - list of municipalities
Urban-Rural Typology (Statistics Austria) - Population package
Urban-Rural Typology (Statistics Austria) - list of municipalities / urban regions


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Österreichs Städte in Zahlen 2014
Austrias cities and towns in figures  a cooperation project between Statistics Austria and the Association of Austrian Cities and Towns provides an overview on demographic, economic, ecological ...

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