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 โ€“ Italy โ€“ 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 16: The future of Europe's smaller cities and towns

Peter Karl Kresl


Academic journals are filled with studies of economic development and of urban competitiveness that use larger cities as their subject. This is due, in part, to the fact that large cities are more engaged in national and international interaction, in part, to the fact that each has impacts on millions of individuals, and also, in part, to the fact that data is simply more readily available for large cities. Small cities are not included in many statistical series because of the privacy concerns when the number of firms, and so on, is very small. And there are so many of them that one does not know where to begin and how to categorize them. Thus, small cities are not on the radar screen of most economists and geographers who focus on the relevant urban issues. This is unfortunate, since a great many people are still residents of small cities, and data indicate that there is a perceptible flow of individuals and their families from large cities to other cities that can be quite small (Kotkin, 2000). This can be because when young skilled workers mature and begin to raise a family they seek out the more congenial environs of a smaller city or town. In many countries smaller cities that are host to one or more universities experience this demographic movement. It is also the case that modern technology allows workers in high technology industries to work by computer and Internet connection.

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