Competitive Cities in the Global Economy

image of Competitive Cities in the Global Economy

Urban areas represent an important part of the national economy and feature higher GDP per capita and productivity levels than their country’s average. But they also harbour large pockets of unemployment and poverty and suffer from problems such as congestion, pollution and crime.  This book examines whether they are sustainable in the long term and what needs to be done to keep these engines of economic growth running smoothly. A synthesis report based on OECD metropolitan reviews and a database of 78 metro regions, this report examines cities performance within their countries and addresses key issues such as competitiveness and social cohesion, intergovernmental relationships, and urban finance.

“This is a 'must read' publication, not only for those who already believe in the key importance of urban policy, but even more so for those who remain to be convinced.”  Alberto Ruiz-Gallardón, Mayor of Madrid, Spain

"The most comprehensive examination of the territorial dimension underlying economic growth today."

Saskia Sassen, author of Territory, Authority, Rights: From Medieval to Global Assemblages (Princeton University Press 2006).

With the nation-state and the corporation seen as the world’s two competing economic and social units, the regional economy is often overlooked. It’s refreshing to see such detailed attention paid to its role as the real motor force of international growth.”

Richard Florida, author of The Flight of the Creative Class.

“This report on cities demonstrates that economic prosperity and social well-being are inseparable.”

Jean-Louis Borloo, Minister of Labour, Social Cohesion and Housing, France.

"A striking report that will force governments to reconsider their urban agenda".

Dr. Giulio Santagata, Minister of Government's Programmes, Italy.

This report provides invaluable advice for policy makers as our cities grapple with profound change."

David Crane, Columnist on Global Issues, The Toronto Star


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Executive Summary

The acceleration of urbanisation has strengthened the weight of large cities, or metropolitan regions. More than half (53%) of the total OECD population lives in predominantly urban regions and the OECD contains 78 metro-regions, with 1.5 million and more inhabitants, which tend to concentrate an important part of their national economic activities. For instance, Budapest, Seoul, Copenhagen, Dublin, Helsinki, Randstad-Holland and Brussels concentrate nearly half of their countries’ national GDP. Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver in Canada generate half or more of their respective provinces’ output. In Norway, New Zealand, and the Czech Republic, one-third or more of production is based in their major metro-regions (Oslo, Auckland and Prague). Around 30% of national GDP in the United Kingdom, Sweden, Japan and France are accounted for by London (31.6%) Stockholm (31.5%), Tokyo (30.4%) and Paris (27.9%) respectively. More importantly, most OECD metro-regions have a higher GDP per capita than their national average (66 out of 78 metro-regions), and a higher labour productivity level (65 out of 78 metro-regions), and many of them tend to have faster growth rates than their countries.

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