Compared to large cities, intermediary cities provide a compromise between quality of life and affordability. Intermediary cities have opportunities to attract people and firms. They can also effectively promote a more balanced distribution of population, economic activity and opportunities across space, contributing to regional competitiveness, cohesion and sustainability. Successful intermediary cities are key hubs for innovation and research, being attractive for highly productive activities and highly skilled jobs. On the contrary, others face significant challenges such as the need for economic restructuring and investment, in the face of rising financial and capability constraints. Many intermediary cities are managing decline as a result of economic structures based on traditional industrial sectors. This exacerbates social tensions and discontent.
We define intermediary cities as those:
Despite the potential and the challenges of intermediary cities, policy attention has often overlooked them, focusing on large metropolitan areas. This represents a missed opportunity.
OECD work on unlocking the potential of intermediary cities for regional development aims to provide theoretical contributions, empirical results and case-study applications, to better understand the challenges and potential of intermediary cities – both standalone and as systems – and guide policies targeted to achieve balanced and sustainable development. The work is organised around an analytical focus, and a policy and governance focus.
The OECD Programme Unlocking the potential of intermediary cities supports countries, regions and cities to take advantage of opportunities presented to intermediary cities, and tackle the challenges these cities face. The program offers:
Intermediary cities and megatrends: forward-looking trends and scenarios
Cross-country data collection and analysis
In-depth country, region and city reviews
International comparison and benchmarking
For further information, please contact:
David Burgalassi, Economist / Policy Anayst, [email protected]
Tadashi Matsumoto, Head of Unit, Sustainable Development & Global Relations, [email protected]