Planning Cities for the Future

Planning Cities for the Future

The Successes and Failures of Urban Economic Strategies in Europe

Peter Karl Kresl

Planning Cities for the Future links the study of urban economic competitiveness with urban planning and is able to ascertain the crucial factors for success in this area of public policy. These factors include effective governance, leadership and monitoring of performance. The author also reveals how economic turbulence – macro-economic stagnation, the emergence of competitors such as China and Central Europe and the introduction of the euro for example – all have distinct impacts on the economic development of cities. He also suggests that today’s economic strengths may create tomorrow’s social pathologies, a fact which city planners must always keep in mind. Peter Kresl’s book offers examples of cities that got it right and others that did not.

Chapter 5: How these Planning Initiatives Fared During 1992–2005

Peter Karl Kresl

Subjects: economics and finance, public sector economics, urban economics, geography, cities, urban and regional studies, cities, urban economics


The plans that were, to varying degrees, adopted in the first years of the 1990s were not implemented in a ‘frictionless,’ high-certainty economic space in which specific actions could be expected to have predetermined consequences. In reality, this economic space was, as it almost always is, marked by very significant disturbances that made the consequences of a multifaceted SEP quite uncertain. If this was disruptive at the level of the national economy, it was potentially exaggerated at the level of the urban region given that the latter is comparatively more specialized and less diversified in its economic activity. Thus, urban economies that rely heavily on production of goods in industries that are vulnerable to outsourcing or to competition from imports from emerging economies will be particularly hard hit, while those that are specialized in high-skill labor production or high level services will be shielded from competition from abroad and will probably experience positive impacts from liberalization of goods and capital flows. TURBULENCE The argument could be made that disruptions caused by one or more of the elements of turbulence will create an environment that is so unpredictable and so volatile that effective strategic–economic planning by local officials will be virtually impossible. The argument could be continued to posit that, since any planning will be inappropriate to the situation that exists when the plan is subsequently implemented, local officials can do little more than react to unpredictable events in hopes of maintaining the viability of local economic actors as...

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