Track 2: More or Less Competitive Cities - Smart Specialization and Diversification Strategies
Assoc. Professor Dieter Kogler, School of Architecture, Planning and Environmental Policy, University College Dublin
Professor Lin Ye, School of Government, Sun Yat-Sen University, Guangzhou China
Professor Karsten Zimmermann, Faculty of Spatial Planning TU Dortmund University
Growth and competitiveness are key goals for many cities and metropolitan city regions. This track will explore the types of policies and projects being undertaken by cities in order to rekindle, retain or increase their competitiveness. City Governments are increasingly focused on taking an active role in economic development. What are the challenges in balancing economic competitiveness with differing agendas, notably environmental and social? To what extent do current socio-economic conditions and evolutionary trajectories determine opportunities and limitations to envisioned smart specialization and diversification strategies? With many cities experiencing the impact of urban austerity emanating from the Global financial crisis, cutting back on staffing and service levels, and increased outsourcing and privatization, how can we ensure that competitive cities are also just and livable cities; in particular those cities at the periphery?
A number of key questions are relevant in this context:
- Where do large-scale renewal and flagship projects fit in at cities that experience urban austerity policies?
- What policies and practices are being pursued by cities in the competition to attract major corporate investment (in the US in particular the competition to attract Amazon’s new headquarters springs to mind)?
- What are the implications for city budgets and for the most marginalized in the competitive city?
- Can competitive cities be socially just, and is there a positive relationship between innovation and inequality?
- How can cities respond to external shocks, e.g. Dublin’s response to Brexit?
- To what extent do evolutionary development trajectories determine opportunities while also setting limits to smart specialization and diversification strategies, and how can cities actively shape their future socio-economic prosperity?
- To what extent will smart specialization and diversification strategies shape the future socio-economic prosperity of sustainable and resilient cities?