Descriptions for regional classes

Semi-urban areas with over 15 000 residents form cities. City area is divided into core city region and peri-urban area. Core city region is defined by area density and it’s divided into inner urban area and outer urban area. The outer boundary of the city area estimates the city’s uniform planned area. Peri-urban area combines the core urban area, semi-urban areas near the city and the zone between those into a uniform city area. Rural classes are defined outside of these.

Inner urban area
Inner urban area represents the dense and uniform, efficiently built area of the cities. In the inner urban area the surrounding neighborhood’s prevalent area density is at least 0,1 which represents dense small house district. Zones apart the inner urban area and with high area density are included into the outer urban area. Each central urban area can have only one inner urban area. The towns of Järvenpää and Kerava, for which have been formed their own inner city regions, inside the city region of Helsinki are exceptions to this.

Outer urban area
Outer urban area consists of separate suburbs, peripheral city areas of trade, industry and offices and on the other hand city’s green areas and lower density residential areas, that still are clearly part of a uniform city area. In the outer urban area one third of the surrounding neighborhood are areas of at least 0,02 area density. With this criterion the outer boundary of the outer urban area estimates the outer boundary of planned area and so planned, built uniform city area.

Peri-urban area
Peri-urban area represents the part of the zone between the city and the countryside that is directly connected to the physical city area. Related to confining of the peri-urban area is identifying of the urban areas nearby to the city region. Nearby semi-urban areas are in immediate physical and functional contact with the central urban area. Confining of the peri-urban area is based on the time- and travel distances calculated from the outer boundary of the core city region and the cores of the nearby semi-urban areas. The size of the peri-urban area depends mostly on the amount of the nearby semi-urban areas. As a rule of thumb the size of the peri-urban area is 5 kilometers from the edge of the core urban area and 3 kilometers from a core of a nearby semi-urban area. Additionally road connections have been emphasized with a criterion based on the time- travel distances. Peri-urban area includes the mixed areas in immediate proximity to the city. It includes dense semi-urban areas as well as rural-like areas. In the peri-urban area there are areas supporting the city’s green structure, but the upcoming growth zones of the city are also located in there.

Local centres in rural areas
Local centres in rural areas are smaller centres that are located outside of the influence of cities. They consist of smaller city-like semi-urban areas that have clear centres and also of larger more rural-like village centres. It is typical to local centres to have compact centres and a role as the centre of surrounding areas. To this group are defined those semi-urban areas outside of city regions, that fill at least three of the four criteria:
1. The mean of the last three years’ populations is over 5000
2. The population density in the semi-urban area is over 400 people/km2
3. There’s over 2000 jobs
4. The size of the area with minimum of 0,1 area density must be at least 1km2

First and third criteria describe the size of the semi-urban area as a place of living and workplaces. Second and fourth criteria instead measure the density that should be higher in local centres than in basic semi-urban areas. Fourth criterion measures specifically the size of the city-like centre area. There are 48 semi-urban areas that fill the citeria in the data of year 2010. Though within those there are seven areas which are nearby semi-urban areas of larger city regions. They are not defined as local centres separately, so the physical-functional distance of the semi-urban area from city regions forms an additional criterion. The smallest local centres are Leppävirta and Haapavesi, largest are Pieksämäki and Jämsä.

21.3.2016 Ymparisto > Alueluokkien kuvaukset
Kaupunkimaaseutu_luokitus/Alueluokkien_kuv… 2/2

Rural areas close to urban areas
Rural areas close to urban areas are rural-like zones that are functionally and physically close to city regions. It is confined in relation to already confined city regions. The class depicts the cities’ broader functional working area. The confining of the area is based on potential reachability and commuting directed towards core city regions. Rural areas close to urban areas include different kinds of rural areas: semi-urban areas, rural heartland-like areas and sparsely inhabited areas. Rural areas close to urban areas are the vastest around those city regions in which the population is the highest or the city’s working area is large.

Rural heartland areas
Rural heartland areas are either zones of strong primary production or relatively densely inhabited rural areas with diverse functions. Rural heartland areas are relatively far away from large centres because it is bordered outside of rural areas close to urban areas. Around small towns it can still reach close to a city region. The area is characterized by middle-sized centres, villages and relatively dense network of small semi-urban areas. Land use of the area is intensive so especially agriculture dominant areas arise as rural heartland areas. Also areas with relatively lower intensity and more sparse habitation can become rural heartland areas if the sector distribution of workers in living in the area is diverse.

Sparsely populated rural areas
Sparsely populated rural areas’ local economic structure is one-sided and they are sparsely populated with the most common land use class of forests or wetlands. Primarily the areas are located far away from large centres. The population structure of the areas is fragmented, semi-urban areas are infrequent and there might be large uninhabited areas in between of them. Rural areas that don’t meet the criteria of rural areas close to urban areas or rural heartland areas are classified as sparsely populated rural areas.

Published 27.8.2013, 13.06, updated 27.8.2013 klo 12.04

Regional office of the Finnish Ministry of Environment SYKE

Last updated: 18.9.2019