ISBN Number: 9264027092
OECD Territorial Reviews: Competitive Cities in the Global Economy
Cities are home to more than half the people living in OECD countries and almost 50 % of the output and jobs of many nations is found in their largest city. Though most cities have higher economic growth, foreign investment and labour productivity than the rest of the country, they are also more polluted, crime-ridden and socially disparate. A new OECD report, Competitive Cities in the Global Economy gives case studies and policy recommendations to help cities, often the drivers of national economies, continue to thrive. The book also provides a strong statistical database on the world’s principal cities.
The report studies the 78 largest metro-regions in the OECD, ranging from Tokyo with close to 35 million inhabitants to Auckland with about 1.5 million. The OECD average is just over 5 million. Of the 25 wealthiest cities, as measured by GDP per capita, 22 are in the United States and the others are London (in 13th place), Paris (18th) and Dublin (23rd).
Successful cities attract talented young highly-skilled workers, are centres of innovation and entrepreneurship and are competitive locations for global and regional headquarters. The proximity of universities to research and production facilities means cities are where new products are developed and commercialised. More than 80% of patents are filed in cities.
However, cities are not always synonymous with success. Cities can falter. Berlin, Fukuoka, Lille, Naples, and Pittsburgh perform below the national average for income, productivity, skills, and employment. And there is some evidence that mega-size cities – those more than 7 million people such as Seoul, Mexico City, Istanbul and Tokyo – have outgrown the economies of scale normally associated with cities.
Competitive Cities in a Global Economy argues that there is no ‘one size fits all’ policy for cities. But the report makes recommendations that can be tailored to meet specific needs. These include:
The report is divided into two parts:
Part I. Competitive Cities in the Global Economy: Horizontal synthesis report. This part includes the horizontal research based on findings from a number of case studies on metropolitan regions and on national urban policies across OECD countries (OECD Territorial Reviews) as well as from the OECD metropolitan database.
Part II. Proceedings from Conferences and Workshops on City Competitiveness. This part compiles the best experts’ papers provided during the series of conferences and workshops organized over the period 2004-2006 around the main theme of city competitiveness.
Chapter 1 The Emerging Role of Metropolitan regions
This chapter provides an in-depth analysis of socio-economic trends and challenges faced by the largest OECD metropolitan areas based on the unique international database produced by the OECD on 78 metro-regions with more than 1.5 million inhabitants and more. The acceleration of urbanisation has strengthened the weight of large cities, or metropolitan regions 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 national GDP whilst Oslo, Auckland, Prague, London, Stockholm, Tokyo, and Paris account for around one third. Most OECD metro-regions have a higher GDP per capita than their national average (66 out of 78 metro-regions), a higher labour productivity level (65 out of 78 metro-regions) and many of them tend to have faster growth rates than their countries.
Cities benefit from advantages such as more diversified economic base with higher specialisation in productive activities, a strong innovative capacity (more than 81% of OECD patents are filed by applicants located in urban regions), and a higher level of skills.
There is a positive correlation between metro-regions’ size and income, especially when they concentrate over 20% of national GDP but this correlation becomes negative at around 6-7 million, suggesting diseconomies of agglomeration due to congestion and other related costs.
The growth capacity of metro-regions should not be overestimated as metro-regions are not always synonymous with success. A number of metro-regions lag behind national average, such as Berlin (Germany), Fukuoka (Japan), Lille (France), Naples (Italy) and Pittsburgh (US) and metro-regions still concentrate large and persistent pockets of unemployment (one third of the 78 metro-regions have above national average unemployment rates). Exclusion and poverty in most OECD countries have become urban phenomena, with immigrants as a particularly vulnerable portion of the metro-regions' population. Spatial polarisation is increasing but deprived neighbourhoods often have lower access to public infrastructure and services, and feature lower level of investment per capita than other richer neighbourhoods.
The combination of economic advantages and difficulties posed by the rise of metro-regions present a number of strategic choices or dilemmas that confront policymakers.
Metropolitan governance emerges as a key issue for managing urban growth and for the implementation of policy actions and strategies in pursuing competitiveness objectives.
Part II derives from papers presented at a series of conferences and workshops on city competitiveness organised by the OECD Public Governance and Territorial Development Directorate: “City Competitiveness” (Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Spain, 3-4 March 2005), “Cities attractiveness” (Nagoya, Japan, 2-3 June 2005), “Competitive cities and social cohesion”, (Montreal, Canada, 13-14 October 2005) and “The Fiscal Challenges of Metropolitan Areas: The Perspective of the Central Government” (1 June 2004, OECD headquarters).
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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