New Horizons in Regional Science series
Edited by Philip Cooke, Mario Davide Parrilli and José Luis Curbelo
Chapter 15: Cities in Times of Economic Crisis: A Challenge for Local Governments
Manuel Perló Cohen INTRODUCTION The global economic crisis, which began officially on 15 September 2008 with the bankruptcy of the investment bankers Lehman Brothers, has spread throughout a wide-ranging group of countries and regions of the world. It has penetrated rural areas and cities, has simultaneously taken over large metropolis and small urban centers, and has caused devastation in neighborhoods as well as in central districts. In short, it has spread over the most diverse geographies. However, the devastating effect of this phenomenon differs considerably between large regions, countries, cities and neighborhoods, when a comparative analysis of the particular effects of the crisis is performed. In the case of urban localities – this study’s central theme – we can identify cities whose main macroeconomic indicators (employment, production, investment, consumption, public-sector spending) have suffered considerable deterioration. However, we see at the same time, that some urban localities have been able to mitigate the most adverse effects, and still others have done enough to get out of the crisis and have found a sustained path for growth. There are many factors involved in such a variety of results and, although some of them are completely outside the control of the authorities in urban areas, others are related to their economic structure and financial situation, in addition to being related to the way that local governments have reacted to the crisis. One particular aspect is the way they have reduced the most negative effects possible and, in some cases, have carried out actions seeking recovery...
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