Edited by Harry W. Richardson, Chang-Hee Christine Bae and Sang-Chuel Choe
Chapter 8: Strengthening Metropolitan Regions for Growth and Innovation
Rupert Kawka INTRODUCTION: THE CONCEPT OF GROWTH AND INNOVATION IN GERMANY Traditionally, balancing policy is of high importance in Germany. The constitution (Article 72, 2) requires attention to spatial income equity and this has influenced the focus of spatial planning for decades. Examples illustrating the importance of this view include the financial equalization scheme between the federal states, the efforts for developing Eastern Germany since reunification and the flows of subsidies to the West German regions bordering to the former German Democratic Republic (GDR) up to reunification. All these policies have the aim to promote equivalent living conditions among the regions of Germany, especially by redistributing financial means between stronger and weaker regions. Despite these efforts, it is not possible to speak of equivalent living conditions in all regions of Germany. Efforts to balance regional disparities have been only partly successful, as regional disparities still exist. For example, the 20 years of lasting efforts to restructure East Germany on economic issues cannot be regarded as finished yet. Taking the available nominal income per capita as an example, the value in the new Länder is presently about 78 per cent of the level in the old Länder. Looking at real income – that is taking account of regional price differences – the value rises slightly to 83 per cent (Bundesamt für Bauwesen und Raumordnung 2009, 68). This strong focus on balancing policy implies, of course, that Germany has neither urban nor industrial policies that have major impacts on economically strong...
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