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 15: An aging population as a benefit to Italian cities

Daniele Ietri


The demographic changes that industrialized countries will face in the upcoming years will have a significant impact on their economies. The crucial indicator is the old age dependency ratio, which is expected to grow until 2030 in Australia, Norway and in the USA up to a retired person per 2.5 workers; in Canada, the Netherlands and in the UK 1:2; in the rest of Europe the ratio will be on average 1 worker per 1.5 retired person and in Italy it is expected to be 1:1 (OECD, 2000; Eurostat, 2008). In Western Europe the share of population 65 and older will grow from 16.3 per cent to 25.1 per cent (27.5 per cent in Italy) and in the European Union the active population (aged between 15 and 64) will diminish by 1 million people per year. The burden on the pension and welfare system will be a major problem and is described as a “ticking time bomb” for many national economies. There will be differences among countries according to the distribution of expenses and mandates at the different levels of government (national, regional, local, and so on), for the health care and the pension systems in particular. As to the focus of this contribution, at the urban scale the impact will also be evident, with a growing demand for housing, security, transportation and services adequate for an aging population.

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