OECD Regional Outlook 2014

Regions and Cities: Where Policies and People Meet

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Regions and cities are on the front lines of many challenges faced by OECD countries today, from education and jobs to health care and quality of life. Getting regions and cities “right”, adapting policies to the specificities of where people live and work,  is vital to improving citizens’ well-being. This second edition of the OECD Regional Outlook aims to help countries do just that. Part I describes the main trends and challenges today. Part II has a special focus on cities, looking at public investment, urban framework policies, and rural-urban issues. Part III presents a Policy Forum on the future of cities, with five contributions from distinguished authors and policy makers. Part IV offers profiles of regional development in all 34 OECD countries.

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Drivers of city performance: The evidence

The chapter provides an overview of the drivers of city performance. Cities have enormous potential for job creation, innovation and green growth. They are hubs and gateways for global networks such as trade. They often also constitute the locus for citizen engagement. However, cities face challenges for sustainable and inclusive growth. Understanding cities and their sphere of influence as functional urban areas requires data to “see” places that do not always map onto local administrative boundaries. Urban areas account for most of the OECD population, and are essential testing grounds for national economic, social and environmental goals. By “getting cities right”, governments can create conditions for a better life for most citizens.

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