Planning Cities for the Future
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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.
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Chapter 2: The Literature on Urban Competitiveness and Strategic–Economic Planning

Peter Karl Kresl


It is clear to many city leaders that specific actions must be taken by them and by the primary economic, social and political actors in their urban region if the residents of their city are to have the satisfying economic lives – employment, income, leisure time, and so forth – that it is their potential to have. But what are the actions and policies that would be most effective? How is one to accomplish this complex task? Clearly, city leaders require knowledge and expert assistance if they are to be successful. In this chapter and the next, we will examine two questions that are essential to effective strategic–economic planning. I have included a more extensive discussion of these two topics in a recently published co-authored book: The Urban Response to Internationalization.1 The content of the present chapter will not reiterate what was written there but will be predominantly new material. First, in this chapter we will review the literature on economic competitiveness, especially at the urban regional level and we will also examine approaches to strategic planning. Second, in the next chapter we ask the question: what can economic or economic geographic research and analysis tell us about the determinants of urban economic competitiveness, the alternatives that face city leaders and the best options from the stand-point of a specific city with its individual assets, experiences, institutions, and aspirations. Ultimately what the city leader seeks to do is to ensure the enhanced competitiveness of his/her city in relation to other more-or-less...

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