Urban Competitiveness and Innovation

Urban Competitiveness and Innovation

Edited by Pengfei Ni and Zheng Qiongjie

Against the backdrop of today’s climate of economic globalization and the rapid development of information, this timely book explores the complex concept of competitiveness between cities. The expert contributors illustrate that innovation is a prerequisite for increasing urban competitiveness, and highlight the various ways that urban innovation-based competitiveness can be approached.

Chapter 5: Enhancing innovation-based urban competitiveness

Guido Ferrari

Subjects: economics and finance, economics of innovation, public sector economics, urban economics, innovation and technology, economics of innovation, urban and regional studies, urban economics


The situation of the studies on city or urban competitiveness (the two entities do not exactly overlap but we shall treat them as the same concept) through economic innovation is very complicated and not yet categorically delineated. Against an ever-increasing interest by governments, public institutions, universities, research centres, scholars and the now huge mass of scientific and non-scientific publications on the subject, plus the organization of activities and events specifically devoted to the topic, such as the Global Urban Competitiveness Project, as well as the elaboration of indicators by many more or less specialized organzations and bodies and the compilation of city or urban area competitiveness rankings, there is an awareness of the lack of systematization, and, above all, of a scientific framework to provide a sound base for the research and rankings. As a consequence, increasing attention is being paid to urban competitiveness enhancement, as a way of attracting people, investments and interest. Perhaps it is now the right time to try to establish some basic indicators, and approach the topic more comprehensively in order to take account of the various subjects involved in the many operations; in other words, to model the enhancement of urban competitiveness through innovation, based on the achievements to date. This is the aim of this chapter, following an analysis of state-of-the art innovation and competitiveness in Europe and Italy. It is important to stress that competitiveness should not be pursued regardless of cost.

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