Urban Competitiveness and Innovation
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Urban Competitiveness and Innovation

Edited by Pengfei Ni and Zheng Qiongjie

Against the backdrop of today’s climate of economic globalization and the rapid development of information, this timely book explores the complex concept of competitiveness between cities. The expert contributors illustrate that innovation is a prerequisite for increasing urban competitiveness, and highlight the various ways that urban innovation-based competitiveness can be approached.
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Chapter 7: Innovation in urban policy: collaboration rather than competition between cities

William F. Lever


It is now widely accepted that there is competition between cities for a variety of resources and for some events. In a globalizing world, there is competition for an enhanced share of global corporate and public investment in enterprises and infrastructure. Populations, especially skilled and creative workers, are increasingly mobile and cities will compete to attract them often through enhanced quality of life. Corporate enterprises are now much more mobile, partly because they have been more dependent on the transmission of information and knowledge to conduct their business, and partly because they are more likely to regard the world as their market and source rather than merely local or regional catchment areas. Competition has been fostered by the growth of multinational free-trade areas such as the European Single Market and NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement), and by national bodies such as the UK Monopolies and Mergers Commission. Porter (1998) argued that cities can compete in the way that firms and nation states compete, albeit by using different strategies and measuring their competitive success in terms of different objectives. Krugman (1991) argued that cities do not compete because they do not have a single decision-making body (such as a corporate board of management or a national government with powers over interest or exchange rates), but his views have largely been superseded by a volume of work stressing the role of competition and competitiveness between cities (Begg, 2002).

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