Spatial Dynamics in the Urban Century
Edited by Karima Kourtit, Peter Nijkamp and Roger R. Stough
Chapter 3: Smart Specialization Strategies and Smart Cities: an evidence-based assessment of European Union policies
Recently, the European economy has undergone severe stress. After a decade of stable prices, cheap borrowing, and the progress of the process of enlargement (pushing the European Union (EU) to 28 member countries and about half a billion inhabitants), the European economy entered a stage of economic distress which has so far not yet been fully solved. The crisis which began in 2008 has had several manifestations. Unemployment has constantly increased in several EU countries, with a particular burden on the younger generations and with a constant rise in long-term rates (European Commission, 2013). The cost of financing public debt has notoriously risen, in particular in Mediterranean countries and in a few new Member States. In addition, the insufficient degree to which the challenging targets in terms of science and innovation set first by the Lisbon Agenda (European Commission, 2000) and then by the EU2020 follow-up (European Commission, 2010) are being met seems to cast doubts on the long-term possibilities to structurally regenerate the EU economy and truly make it more innovative, and, thus, more competitive.
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