Scenarios for European Metropolitan Regions: Winners and Losers in a Globalized World

  • Roberta CapelloEmail author
  • Ugo Fratesi
Part of the Advances in Spatial Science book series (ADVSPATIAL)


Cities are highlighted in traditional theories to be the most efficient drivers of economic growth. Considered as sort of collective agents, implicitly or explicitly defining specific development trajectories, cities compete in the global economy for their attractiveness, building on their historical strengths and identifying opportunities for diversification and enlargement of their specializations by strengthening their know-how and knowledge base. Therefore, cities pro-act, and react, to economic volatility, by anticipating expectations on future economic trends and by absorbing the economic effects once they take place. This is true for both virtuous as well as declining cycles of development. The reasons for their static and dynamic efficiency lie in three main elements: the physical size, source of economies of scale; the functional specialisation in advanced value-added functions, source of creativity, learning, and knowledge; the urban system (or the network of cities) in which cities lie, where advantages of scale can easily be exploited avoiding hyper-concentration of production and residential activities. In the age of globalisation like the one we are going through nowadays, cities are areas able to grasp advantages of international competition from outside Europe, and they are expected to be the drivers of growth. In this paper, the aim is to analyse – with a prospective approach – the economic performance that European cities will manifest under different assumptions on the globalisation patterns that may develop in the future. With respect to the present literature, this paper contributes in two new directions: firstly, the aim is to highlight empirically the different actions and reactions that cities of different size, different functional specialisation and located in regions with different settlement structures have in front of a world economic integration; secondly, the aim is to analyse how cities act and react to alternative globalisation patterns, to different quality of competition from outside Europe, which may be sources of different opportunities and threats for different urban areas.


European metropolitan regions Globalization scenarios Urban systems MASST model 


  1. Alonso (1960) A theory of the urban land market. Papers and proceedings of the regional science association 6:149–157Google Scholar
  2. Alonso W (1971) The economics of urban size. Papers and proceedings of the regional science association 67–83Google Scholar
  3. Boix R, Trullén J (2007) Knowledge, networks of cities and growth in regional urban systems. Pap Reg Sci 86(4):551–574CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Camagni R (1993) From city hierarchy to city network: reflections about an emerging paradigm. In: Laschmanan T, Nijkamp P (eds) Structure and change in the space economy. Springer Verlag, Berlin, pp 66–90CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Camagni R (1999) The city as a milieu: applying GREMI’s approach to urban evolution. Revue d’Economie Régionale et Urbaine 3:591–606Google Scholar
  6. Camagni R, Capello R (2010) Macroeconomic and territorial policies for regional competitiveness: an EU perspective. Reg Sci Policy Pract 2:1–19.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Camagni R, Diappi L, Leonardi G (1986) Urban growth and decline in a hierarchical system: a supply-oriented dynamic approach. Reg Sci Urban Econ 16:145–160CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Capello R (2004) Beyond optimal city size: theory and evidence reconsidered. In: Capello R, Nijkamp P (eds) Urban dynamics and growth: advances in urban economics. Elsevier, Amsterdam, pp 57–86CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Capello R (2007) A forecasting territorial model of regional growth: the MASST model. Ann Reg Sci 41(4):753–787CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Capello R, Fratesi U (2009) Modelling European regional scenarios: aggressive versus defensive competitive strategies. Environ Plann A 41(2):481–504CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Capello R, Fratesi U (2010) Globalization and a dual Europe: future alternative growth trajectories. Ann Reg Sci. doi: 10.1007/s00168-009-0295-6
  12. Capello R, Camagni R, Chizzolini B, Fratesi U (2008) Modelling regional scenarios for the enlarged Europe: European competitiveness and global strategies. Springer, BerlinGoogle Scholar
  13. Carlino G (1980) Contrasts in agglomeration: New York and Pittsburgh reconsidered. Urban Stud 17:343–351CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Chinitz B (1961) Contrasts in agglomeration: New York and Pittsburgh. Am Econ Rev Pap 51:279–289Google Scholar
  15. Christaller W (1933) Die Zentralen Orte in Suddeuschland. Gustav Fischer Verlag, JenaGoogle Scholar
  16. Florida R (2004) The flight of the creative class: the new global competition for talent. Harper Business, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  17. Friedmann J (1986) The world city hypothesis. Dev Change 17:69–83CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Fujita M (1985) Urban economic theory: land use and city size. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, MAGoogle Scholar
  19. Fujita M, Krugman P, Mori T (1999) On the evolution of hierarchical urban systems. European Econ Rev 43:209–251CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Henderson J (1985) Economic theory and the cities. Academic, OrlandoGoogle Scholar
  21. Hoover EM, Vernon R (1962) Anatomy of a metropolis. Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MAGoogle Scholar
  22. Kaldor N (1970) The case of regional policies. Scottish J Polit Econ 3:337–348CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Krugman P (1991) Geography and trade. MIT Press, Cambridge, MAGoogle Scholar
  24. Krugman P, Venables AJ (1996) Integration specialisation and adjustment. Eur Econ Rev 40:959–967CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Lucas RE (1988b) On the mechanics of economic development. J Monetary Econ 22:3–42CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Lösch A (1954) The economics of location. Yale University Press, New Haven (orig. edn (1940) Die Räumlische Ordnung der Wirtschaft. Gustav Fischer, Jena)Google Scholar
  27. Mills E (1993) What makes metropolitan areas grow? In: Summers A, Cheshire P, Senn L (eds) Urban change in the United States and Western Europe. The Urban Institute, Washington, pp 193–216Google Scholar
  28. Myrdal G (1957) Economic theory of under-developed regions. General Duckworth, LondonGoogle Scholar
  29. Richardson HW (1969) Regional economics. World University, Redwood Press, TrowbridgeGoogle Scholar
  30. Richardson HW (1972) Optimality in city size, systems of cities and urban policy: a sceptic’s view. Urban Stud 9:29–47CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Romer PM (1986b) Increasing returns and long-run growth. J Pol Econ 94:1002–1037CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Sassen S (1991) The global city. Princeton University Press, PrincetonGoogle Scholar
  33. Scott A (2001) Global city-regions. Oxford University Press, OxfordGoogle Scholar
  34. Taylor P, Derubber B, Saey P, Witlox F (eds) (2007) Cities in globalisation. Routledge, LondonGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Building, Environment, Science and Technology (BEST)Politecnico di MilanoMilanItaly

Personalised recommendations