Planning for Polycentricity: The Development of a Regional Plan for the Oslo Metropolitan Area

Heidi Bergsli, Kjell Harvold


The article discusses the prospects of integrated regional planning through the enhancement of the polycentric urban region in the case of the Regional plan for land use and transport for Oslo and Akershus, adopted in 2015. The study is based on document analysis of the plan and the consultative statements submitted in the hearing process. The regional plan suggests a polycentric development for the metropolitan area of Oslo, which is discussed in terms of its planning process and goals. The central role of municipal autonomy in the Norwegian governance system is discussed on the basis of the consultative statements submitted in the hearing round – illustrating the fallacies of normative principles of a polycentric development. We find that local authorities generally welcome the plan, which conforms to strategic positioning for public resources. However, the plan’s future implementation at the local level is met by reservations among the municipalities. The lack of legally binding commitments to the plan risks its future implementation, but it also may favour its adoption through its guidelines, since it builds on existing development patterns and other national rules and guidelines for sustainable development.

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Scandinavian Journal of Public Administration

School of Public Administration, Box 712 - SE-405 30 Göteborg

ISSN: 2001-7405, E-ISSN: 2001-7413