Networks, Space and Competitiveness

Networks, Space and Competitiveness

Evolving Challenges for Sustainable Growth

Edited by Roberta Capello and Tomaz Ponce Dentinho

The expert contributors illustrate that sources of regional competitiveness are strongly linked with spatially observable yet increasingly flexible realities, and include building advanced and efficient transport, communications and energy networks, changing urban and rural landscapes, and creating strategic and forward-looking competitiveness policies. They investigate long-term interactions between regional competitiveness and urban mobility, as well as the connections that link global sustainability with local technological and institutional innovations, and the intrinsic diversity of spatially rooted innovation processes. A prospective analysis on networks and innovation infrastructure is presented, global environmental issues such as climate change and energy are explored, and new policy perspectives – relevant world-wide – are prescribed.

Chapter 2: The urban mobility system and regional competitiveness

José Manuel Viegas

Subjects: economics and finance, regional economics, urban and regional studies, regional economics


Everybody today recognizes the strategic importance of big cities for the well-being of humankind in general, and of the European Union (EU) in particular: not only do the majority of the population live in big cities (in the case of the EU, more than 74 per cent live in cities of more than 5,000 inhabitants: Eurostat, 2008), but a very significant proportion of innovation and economic added value is created in the larger cities (Florida, 2005; OECD, 2006), which in effect drag whole regions around them. It is therefore of paramount importance that these cities are resilient and efficient production systems, which means that they have to be competitive in a world where some of the most relevant production factors (financial and human capital) are increasingly mobile. For this, they must offer their inhabitants good governance overall, with attractive conditions for business and quality of life (ODPM, 2004; Eurostat, 2008). So, quality of life in cities is no longer only a generic goal for local politicians, related to the short-term well-being and satisfaction of their constituency; it has also become an instrumental goal for local and national (as well as European) politicians, as an essential component of a comprehensive approach to medium-and long-term economic development and sustainability at all those territorial scales. And even exclusively for the accessibility component of that quality of life, different dimensions must be considered (Lotfi and Koohsari, 2009). In all studies of urban/regional competitiveness and quality of life in cities (ODPM, 2004; Mercer, 2009), quality of urban mobility is given a prominent role.

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