Smart Cities and Urban Policy
In an increasingly global economy, metropolitan areas are basic components of economic competition and growth. Capital, labor pools, knowledge, infrastructures and their distribution within and across geographical space play a major role in the economic development and prosperity of a metropolitan area.
As highlighted by the Economist, a report from the American think tank Brookings Institution shows that “the world's largest 300 metropolitan economies account for 19% of the global population and almost half the world's GDP. In the past decade, incomes and jobs tended to grow faster in these urban areas than their national averages”.
Despite international competition and free mobility of inputs like assets, raw materials and knowledge, location still plays a fundamental role as a competitive edge. As rail, port and road infrastructures were amongst the key factors when determining where to locate a new business or a new branch, scarce human resources are now part of the decision-making process.
As Joel Kotkin wrote in his book The New Geography (2012), “these changes profoundly alter the very nature of place and its importance by de-emphasizing physical factors...and placing greater emphasis on the concentration of human skills in dense concentrations of population”.
More resourceful than their non-metropolitan counterparts, metropolitan economies take advantage of bigger markets for good and services, have more specialized workers pools, and benefit from more advanced and reliable transportation and telecommunications services. In this context, metropolitan areas tend to be the main generators of economic prosperity and a breeding ground for innovative tech companies.
The 21st century metropolitan regions are being transformed and are embracing new technological, urban and mobility challenges. In order to successfully fit into the metropolitan booming transformation, a lot of existing cities will have to implement an effective, sustainable and tailor-made economic strategy. Shaping new urban patterns, preserving and enhancing their environment, and striking a balance between fast rates of urbanization and people’s quality of life are among the challenges to overcome.
The Smart Cities and Urban Policy Graduate Degree provides an in-depth understanding of new and transforming metropolitan areas and their competitive environments.
Joel Kotkin, "The New Geography" (2012)
"Metro economies", The Economist - December 4, 2012
"Global MetroMonitor 2012: Slowdown, Recovery, and Interdependence" by Emilia Istrate and Carey Anne Nadeau, The Brookings Institution - November 30, 2012
Credits photos : ©Thinstock