The main objective of this paper is the definition of a methodological framework for the determination, analysis and cross-evaluation of urban clusters which are formulated within wider study areas, such as administrative regions. To this end, different methods and techniques are utilised, that stem from the fields of statistics and quantitative spatial analysis. The geographical delineation of urban clusters is mainly based on different types of variables, such as the demographic characteristics of the cities, the number of public and private sector services located in them, as well as the total length of the road network in the study area. Furthermore, a comparative urban concentration indicator (UCI) is devised, which reflects the role and the relative weight of every urban area in the study region as well as its spatial influence. Both the proposed methodological framework and the UCI are applied to the region of Thessaly, Greece.
Keywords: public services, private services, quantitative spatial analysis, urban concentration, Thessaly, urban clusters, urban growth, sustainable development