2. Urban competitiveness Toward the end of the 20th century the role of urban economies in their own economic futures expanded dramatically; as we enter the 21st century this role seems to be developing even more.1 The forces that have induced this during the past quarter century continue to exert their inﬂuence and they have been joined by yet other forces. One of the primary concerns for urban economies is that of the durability of these forces – are they short term adjustments to one-time shocks or will they endure for decades to come? It is most likely that they are a mixture of both, but that the residual or net effect will be to continue to place cities at the center of questions having to do with the viability of certain economic activities in certain locations, and with the evolution of economies, whether urban, regional, or national. National economies are, after all, composed of regional and urban economies and the performance of the nation is a function of the efﬁcacy of research and development, and of the production and distribution of the wide array of goods and services in the component sub-national levels of aggregation that make up the national economy. A closer look at these forces that are changing the role of urban economies will clarify this situation. We will start by explaining how some of these forces that are promoting the role of cities or urban economies are subsumed under the heading of globalization. In an...
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