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Digital Subscriptions > Cities Today > Issue 21 > How to stay ahead of the competition

How to stay ahead of the competition

The shift from country to city has contributed significantly to global economic growth but it has also greatly increased competition among cities for investment. Cities now need to increase productivity, stimulate job creation and boost their efficiency, or risk seeing a drop in the quality of life for citizens as they fall behind the competition. Jonathan Ballantine explains the steps cities are taking to become more competitive
Amsterdam has long been a magnet for financial services but the financial crisis forced the city to reevaluate its strategy towards a knowledge economy
Photo: iStockphoto/xenotar

Despite their differences, cities share a common ambition to pursue sustainable urban development that enhances economic competitiveness while minimising negative social and environmental externalties. This requires city leaders to do far more than just keeping the lights on. Michael Bloomberg, the former Mayor of New York, noted that running a city isn’t what it used to be because the 21st-century global economy has generated a new responsibility: staying ahead of the competition.

Today, cities of all sizes and across all regions are competing with each other. They are in competition for talent, investment, businesses, events, students and tourists. This had led to the emergence of city branding as a key concept, where city leaders recognise a direct link between the perceived image of city and its ability to rise above the competition.

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