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 4: The Ten Cities and their Planning at the Outset of the 1990s

Peter Karl Kresl


In 1987, the context in which the ten European cities included in this study were situated was significantly restructured with the adoption of the Single European Act (SEA), also referred to as the process of ‘completion of the internal market.’ The popular conceptualization of this was that the member countries of the European Community (EC) would establish a set of markets for goods, services and factors that was as seamless and as tightly integrated as were those of the United States. Specifically, this entailed adoption of almost 300 individual measures that would lead to the realization of the ‘four freedoms’ – the freedom of movement of goods, services, capital and labor. So much has been written about the SEA and its consequences that it is not necessary to reiterate the details of this dramatic initiative, save to note that the expectation was that per capita incomes in the member countries would increase, over a period of five or six years, by between 4.5 and 6.0 per cent over what they would otherwise have been.1 Given the focus of this book, our interest in the SEA is the impact its implementation had on the economic situation of cities in the member countries. Realization of the four freedoms meant that what was being given up was the deep and pervasive structure of intervention in economic transactions on the part of national governments. While market economists would all argue that these interventions were inefficient and that they lowered incomes and increased unemployment for residents...

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