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Daniele Ietri

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Daniele Ietri

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Daniele Ietri and Peter Karl Kresl

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European Cities and Global Competitiveness

Strategies for Improving Performance

Edited by Peter Karl Kresl and Daniele Ietri

The volume begins with an Introduction, followed by a set of three papers in Part Two examining European urban competitiveness from the standpoints of measurement and policy. This section also provides a case study of the cities of one country – Italy – from which the reader can gain an understanding of the current position of European cities as well as what might be possible going forward. Experience has shown that perhaps the most crucial element in competitiveness enhancement is good and effective governance. To that end, Part Three examines structural aspects of urban government, including polycentric regions, wide metropolitan cooperation, the role of social actors and territorial aggregation. Part Four treats issues of innovation from two perspectives and provides a case study from Eindhoven, while also covering social issues such as demographics, participation, social exclusion and mobility.
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Creating Cities/Building Cities

Architecture and Urban Competitiveness

Peter K. Kresl and Daniele Ietri

For the past 150 years, architecture has been a significant tool in the hands of city planners and leaders. In Creating Cities/Building Cities, Peter Karl Kresl and Daniele Ietri illustrate how these planners and leaders have utilized architecture to achieve a variety of aims, influencing the situation, perception and competitiveness of their cities.
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Introduction: architecture and modern cities

Architecture and Urban Competitiveness

Peter K. Kresl and Daniele Ietri

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Stimulating the revival of the city

Architecture and Urban Competitiveness

Peter K. Kresl and Daniele Ietri

History is replete with examples of cities, or urban economies, that have lost the heart of the local economy. This may be the result of the collapse of a single major employer, for example Youngstown with Youngstown Sheet and Tube, or even the collapse of an entire economic sector, for example Pittsburgh and steel or Detroit and automobiles in the 1980s. This chapter focuses on a set of cities that experienced a severe economic downturn or collapse and that then adopted the strategy of recovery through investment in architectural projects, or a single project, that redefined the essence of the city, gave inspiration to its residents and local firms, and gave the city a reputation that extended internationally. There are many examples of this, and the chapter offers a selection.

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Establishing business center status

Architecture and Urban Competitiveness

Peter K. Kresl and Daniele Ietri

Being recognized as a major center of business activity – headquarters, access to financial and other professional services, recognition of this status throughout the world, and attractiveness to other firms in their locational decisions – has motivated local leaders to accept and to encourage companies to construct major corporate headquarters buildings and sites in many of the world’s major cities. Some of these efforts merely reinforced the power of the city center (New York), while in other instances they led to renewal of a derelict part of the city (London, Detroit) or to creating a business center in a city that had been bereft of one (Paris). In other cities an entirely new site was developed to assert that city as a new, major economic and financial center (Shanghai, Lagos).

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Peter K. Kresl and Daniele Ietri

Building the world’s tallest (for a few years) building has been a popular way for cities to gain international status. For Chicago the Sears Tower was a natural outgrowth of the city’s place in the structural development of the skyscraper since the 1880s and of the memory of Frank Lloyd Wright’s notion of the “Mile High Building.” For others, having the world’s tallest building said to the world “Look at us!” Or it established the city as a significant location in the world of corporate centers. This latter approach has been taken by several cities in Asia or the Middle East that previously lacked status or recognition throughout the world economy and its major actors and had to adopt the strategy of “catch-up.”

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Creating transformative parks

Architecture and Urban Competitiveness

Peter K. Kresl and Daniele Ietri

The Austrian Camillo Sitte celebrated Italian cities because of the fact that squares got in the way of straight streets leading the pedestrian endlessly and boringly through the city. In the US, while early Northern cities had streets that were determined more by topography and the contour of a port than anything else, by the time we get to Midtown Manhattan and post-fire Chicago the Savannah grid had become the standard. But there was still a desire to break up the monotony of the grid and to create some beauty and respite from endless straight streets. From the mid-19th century on, there was a desire to give access to green spaces to lower income, working class residents of the city and to immigrants. Frederick Olmsted, and other landscape planners, stressed the need for trees to “disinfect” the city air and for parks to improve the health of city residents. Louis Wirth, among others, argued that living in the densely populated urban setting would generate a sense of alienation; parks were seen by many as a way to ameliorate this malaise. In all cities parks were created; Central Park in New York, and the lakefront parks and Grant Park in Chicago created a place of recreation and pleasure accessible to all the city’s residents. In addition large cities had dozens of smaller parks. The well-known urban parks in Europe are largely the result of initiatives far earlier than the period considered in this book – from the 1870s on.