Reconciling Competitiveness with Cohesion: Ambivalent Realities in Metropolitan Settings
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SourceDisp, 45, 176, (2009), pp. 31-38
Article / Letter to editor
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SubjectNON-RU research; Onderzoek niet-RU
Much emphasis is currently being placed on the economic competitiveness of cities and regions in Europe. No matter whether one looks at the actual discussion about the importance of the “creative classes” or into the importance of metropolitan regions as engines of success, there is always a major concern for the competitive aspects. The cohesion dimension comes as an add-on or afterthought, and is at best considered merely a precondition to prevent any hindrance to competition. Reconciling competitiveness with cohesion is a very complex venture, as can be shown with a range of evidence from across Europe. In contrast to dominant neo-liberal rhetoric that promises a positive outcome from higher competitiveness, there is no automatism, neither is there a king's road from competition to cohesion. The role of cities in this context is due to the downscaling of vital policy arenas becoming more prominent but also more difficult, as the ambivalent realities show. However, competitiveness today is not just about costs or creativity, but indeed about the ability to adjust and adapt to ever-changing circumstances in a pro-active way in order to create, in particular, sustainable futures, which would otherwise not come to be.
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