Larger urban zone
The larger urban zone (LUZ), or functional urban area (FUA), is a measure of the population and expanse of metropolitan and surrounding areas which may or may not be exclusively urban. It consists of a city and its commuting zone outside it.
The definition was introduced in 2004 by Eurostat, the statistical agency of the European Union (EU), in agreement with the national statistics offices in the member states. Eurostat data is provided only for zones in the EU countries, candidate countries and EFTA countries. Several cities were excluded by definition from the 2004 list of LUZs on technical, definitional grounds, such as the coincidence of the metropolitan area with the urban zone.
The LUZ represents an attempt at a harmonised definition of the metropolitan area. Eurostat's objective was to have an area from which a significant share of the residents commute into the city, a concept known as the "functional urban region." To ensure a good data availability, Eurostat adjusts the LUZ boundaries to administrative boundaries that approximate the functional urban region.
In 2006 LUZ definitions were changed significantly, improving the comparability of LUZ definitions across different countries, and allowing for almost all cities to be included.