From consumer cities to productive cities
Reterritorialisation of urban economic
In the globalised market, cities are no longer
consumer centres adjacent to industrial sites.
They are becoming direct productive
arrangements, their efficiency depending on
the quality of their governance. Offering
better services to attract new consumers and
experimenting with new practices to promote
industrial innovation are the keys to success.
Establishing competitiveness clusters around
high-tech industrial specialities does not take
full cognizance of the new role played by
The example of European port cities
In France, the economy has traditionally
been defined in relation to the nation and
according to a hierarchical vision of territory.
Globalisation has caused a shift by requiring
developed territories to produce a level of
quality that can only be obtained locally by
mobilising stakeholders at all levels. Cities
are becoming the primary public authority of
this new economic order. This can be
observed in a number of cities, such as
Barcelona and Antwerp. Each has its own
specific institutional structures. While the
national government remains active, it is just
one of many players, sharing the function of
knowledge development with the city.
In numerous economic spaces, we are seeing the emergence of cross-functional competencies in existing industrial sectors. in Toulouse, the digital switchover in the aeronautics industry gave rise to a "software and systems" competency, and a life science competency circulates through the city’s businesses. Similary, manufacturers in Figeac - once subcontractors to a single firm - are now providers of complex services to a host of site customers. Rather than depending on particular products, these multi-sector competencies are mobilised in the context of proximity which characterises this metropolitan region.
What do administrative regional schemes of economic development have to offer? Given the remarkable homogeneity of these schemes from one region to the next, they do not address specific strengths and problems. As to whether regions can spearhead economic initiatives, the case has never been established or proven. Moreover our understanding of the relationship between economy and territory has regressed. Regional policies have also become more uniform, even to the point of renationalisation in some cases.
What is the interrelationship between economic development and social development initiatives in urban settings? Spatial proximity does not automatically create organisational proximity. However, there are business in the territories that need assistance, in the form of appropriate training programmes or management support which can be pooled as in. Mantes-la-Jolie, Champigny-sur-Marne and Clichy-sous-Bois-Montfermeil.
Starting in 1993-94, the newly formed agglomeration around Caen had to deal with end of the local steel industry. Lacking solid industrial projects, decision-makers centred their approach on architectural competency. They selected Dominique Perrault, who designed the Bibliothèque de France (French National Library). Becoming a local communications vector, Perreault designed the new site, christened Normandial. Philips has recenthly set up operations neearby, which thereafter seems to justify Caen’s riscky strategy.
On the new global stage of music, Marseille’s original sound sets it apart. All the local players share the same production structures. In addition to being firmy rooted in the city’s environment and history, the Marseille’s rap actively engages in international exchange. It has also given rise to clothing lines and new media offerings.
In large American cities, coordinating local public services has proven effective. One of the primary objectives has been to improve the internal circulation of information as well as its dissemination to users. Exactly how services should be redefined to facilitate this convergence is the next challenge. Based on the cases of Leipzig, Baltimore, Sheffield and Marseille, a common frame of reference for analyse in other towns.
Being selected as the European Capital of Culture has a strong impact on local development and provides the opportunity to develop new infrastructure. Some cities even lauch a programme of urban revitalisation, as Glasgow has. Beyond showcasing the distinctive features of each culture, this European celebration reveals a shift in our definition of culture and our target audience. Two examples Bruges (2002) and Lille (2004) are given here, out the forty already done from 1985 or planned for the next years.
The 2000 Summer Games were a tremendous boost to tourism in Sydney. Most importantly, they ushered in a profouund urban transformation. New districts have developed around Olympic infrastructure, becoming showcases of the country’s expertise in sustainable development.
Many companies base their reward packages for international assignements on Mercer’s quality of living index, which is established from surveys of expatriate executives. The resulting ranking is a benchmark for comparaing cities. However, these data do not reflect quality of life for the majority of the cities’ inhabitants and take no account of the social justice criteria which should inform urban development, according to theorists such as Jonh Rawls and Amartya Sen.
Whereas decolonisation in Malaysia brought ethnic Malays to power, the economic dynamic was inspired by Chinese immigrants. To fight poverty, public authorities invested in education and large-scale residential building projects in the capital, which also served to draw rural migrants and supply industry. Urban congestion has led to the construction of development corridors centred on new technologies. This strategy is making it more difficult to meet the country’ social objectives.
With te globalisation of the knowledge economy and the rise of electronic communication, the trend towards production relocation is not bearing out ; on the contrary, the metropolitan effect, which stimulates research and innovation, has been bolstered. But in the case of Ile-de-France, specialising exclusively in upstream activities and thereby severing ties with industrial production might eventually sap this metropolitan area of its social diversity.
Brest is one of the first French cities to provide Internet access to all interested residents. Setting up PAPIs (public Internet access points) has facilitated social appropriation of new technologies.
How is established and environment of mutual knowledge and trust, that shapes all the urban initiatives undertaken in an agglomeration? What goal dates do stakeholders focus on and how do these milestones become commonly accepted? How is local knowledge of urban development put in place?
Information and communication industries are basing their operations in and around cities despite higher property costs. Population density and social diversity are fostering knowledge production. Paris, Lyon, Toulouse and Montpellier are the only French cities whose proportion of metropolitan knowledge workers is above 10%.
The success enjoy by Richard Florida’s work - at the crossroads of economic theories of innovation and those asserting the emergence of a new middle class - is a phenomenon worth debating for urban researchers and practitioners. What is the basis for the creative class? How can it be used and what contoversies does it provoke? What are the operational implications?