European Cities and Global Competitiveness
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European Cities and Global Competitiveness

Strategies for Improving Performance

Edited by Peter Karl Kresl and Daniele Ietri

The volume begins with an Introduction, followed by a set of three papers in Part Two examining European urban competitiveness from the standpoints of measurement and policy. This section also provides a case study of the cities of one country – Italy – from which the reader can gain an understanding of the current position of European cities as well as what might be possible going forward. Experience has shown that perhaps the most crucial element in competitiveness enhancement is good and effective governance. To that end, Part Three examines structural aspects of urban government, including polycentric regions, wide metropolitan cooperation, the role of social actors and territorial aggregation. Part Four treats issues of innovation from two perspectives and provides a case study from Eindhoven, while also covering social issues such as demographics, participation, social exclusion and mobility.
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Chapter 13: The urban response to a need for change: the case of Milan

Eleonora Mastropietro


Milan is generally considered one of the most connected cities in the global urban hierarchy and plays a strategic role both in the Italian and the European economies. In 2004 Peter Taylor ranked Milan among the top ten cities for global connections (Taylor, 2004), thanks to high level of global relationships in finance and media communication. At the same time the city is widely known for its branding of its fashion and design firms. Considering this specialization, in 2003 Newsweek named Milan “Capital of style”, comparing the city with other ten world capitals like London, Ho Chi Min City, Los Angeles, Tallinn, Bangalore, Beijing, New York, Tokyo, Paris, Beirut and San Paolo (Borelli, 2007). This role of the city is the result of transformation processes during the last three decades, as the city changed its specialization abandoning the Fordist era and its industrial character (Foot, 2001; Magatti et al., 2005; Scaramellini and Mastropietro, 2011). After the decline of the traditional industries during the 1980s, Milan reorganized its economic and territorial profile. In the last 30 years, the Milan metropolitan region grew in population and in the number of SMEs, in several industries such as mechanical, chemical, textile, and furniture (Ingersoll, 2006; Bonomi and Abruzzese, 2004).

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