Definition: Functional region
Two types of regional division are usually recognised:
- normative regions reflect political will; their boundaries are fixed in terms of the remit of local authorities and the size of the region’s population regarded as corresponding to the economically optimum use of the resources they need to accomplish their tasks; historical factors may also be at the root of an agreement to maintain the autonomy of certain administrative divisions;
- analytical (or functional) regions are defined in terms of particular analytical requirements; they categorise areas on the basis of specific geographical criteria, such as altitude or soil type, or by economic and social criteria, such as the homogeneity, complementarity or polarisation of regional economies.
Eurostat, "European Regional and Urban Statistics - Reference Guide", 2010 edition