Strategic planning for city networks: The emergence of a Basque Global City?
Throughout Europe, policy-makers are developing policies to foster the spatial, economic and socialdevelopment of what is, in the literature, often termed ‘polycentric urban regions’: a regional cluster ofclose-by cities. It is assumed that taking a set of relatively small or medium-sized cities together opens uppossibilities for regional economic growth. In this paper we put forward that the simple fact that a region ispolycentric does not necessarily mean that it is more competitive. For that to happen, it needs to evolveinto a well integrated urban network characterised by an optimal use of its critical mass, exploitation ofcomplementarities and by spatial interaction. Strategic planning for the development of such polycentric urban regions in many cases involves planningon a relatively new scale, based upon new starting points and taking on board new strategic objectives.This paper presents one of the first (1990s) territorial development visions for polycentric urban regions,the territorial development strategy for the Basque autonomous region. The key idea of this strategy,labeled Euskal Hiria (‘Basque Global City’), is exactly aimed at developing the networking between its threemain cities (Bilbao, San Sebastian and Vitoria).
Polycentric urban regions, EusKal Hiria, Basque Global City, competitiveness
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