Smart specialization for cities: A roadmap for city intelligence and excellence

By Jan Sturesson, Hazem Galal and Laurent Probst

“We need new perspectives of cities, their visions, knowledge, creativity and motivation in order to find new ways to develop strategic city management.”


The growing importance of cities

The OECD estimates that 70% of the world’s population will live in urban areas by the year 2050. UNESCO projects that by 2015, there will be 26 megacities (cities with more than 10 million people), with more than 10% of the world’s population living in these cities. Clearly, city perspectives, strategies and governance have become key focus points on national government agendas, with cities around the world increasingly seen as engines for growth.

What will define one city from another, however, is whether it can manage its potential growth effectively and sustainably, or it will be swept away by the unintended consequences of a rising wave of urbanization. Growth can provide cities with new frontiers of possibilities if managed well, or alternatively, cause cities to degenerate into overcrowded areas suffering from social ills and the associated adverse effects of growth.

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The views expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of The World Financial Review.