By Peter Tyler, Emil Evenhuis, Ron Martin, Peter Sunley and Ben Gardiner, 2017


Structural change is now widely considered to be an important aspect of national economic growth. Yet the issue is not only of relevance at the macro-economic level; it also has a direct bearing on the growth of regions and cities. In this paper we examine the relationship between structural transformation and economic (output) growth across British cities over the last half century. During this time, the British economy has gone through a series of extensive structural transformations, most notably an historical shift from an industrial to a post-industrial structure. But also within the now dominant ‘post-industrial’ economy some service activities have been growing at a faster rate and appear to be more dynamic, than others. In this paper we show how the structural transformations in the national economy have played out quite differently across British cities, shaping to a considerable extent their divergent growth trajectories over the past five decades. At a broad level, it is possible to distinguish between a number of distinct growth clubs of cities, and these also display significant differences in the extent and direction of structural change and reorientation. However, while differences in structural change have certainly been important in shaping city growth paths, other, ‘city-specific’, factors appear also to have exerted an influence, and thus require investigation.

By Fabrizio Barca, Philip McCann and Andrés Rodríguez-Pose, 2012


The paper examines the debates regarding place-neutral versus place-based policies for economic development. The analysis is set in the context of how development policy thinking on the part of both scholars and international organizations has evolved over several decades. Many of the previously accepted arguments have been called into question by the impacts of globalization and a new response to these issues has emerged, a response both to these global changes and also to nonspatial development approaches. The debates are highlighted in the context of a series ofmajor reports recently
published on the topic. The cases of the developing world and the European Union are used as examples of how in this changing context development intervention should increasingly focus on efficiency and social inclusion at the expense of an emphasis on territorial convergence and how strategies should consider economic, social, political, and institutional diversity in order to maximize both the local and the aggregate potential for economic development.

By Thorsten Wiechmann and Marco Bontje, 2015


Today, “Shrinking Cities” has become a transdisciplinary field of study that addresses complex issues of regenerating urban systems undergoing demographic change and structural crisis. Founded in 2004 in Berkeley, the Shrinking Cities International Research Network (SCiRNTM) aims to advance international understanding and promote scholarship about causes, manifestations, spatial variations and effectiveness of policies and planning interventions to stave off decline in urban regions with population loss (Pallagst et al., 2009). The Cleveland Shrinking Cities Institute, launched in 2005, explores the idea of planned shrinkage as an alternative to the quest for continuous growth. To foster the interdisciplinary knowledge of regeneration strategies in shrinking cities across Europe and to provide a forum for the discussion of successful strategies the COST Action “Cities Regrowing Smaller” was established in 2009. This special issue is an outcome of the conference “Shrinkage in Europe; causes, effects and policy strategies” held in Amsterdam in 2011. It was jointly organized by the University of Amsterdam, the COST Action “Cities Regrowing Smaller” and OECD LEED Programme.

By Holger Breinlich, Gianmarco I. P. Ottaviano and Jonathan R. W. Temple, 2013


Since the early 1990s, there has been a renaissance in the study of regional growth, spurred by new models, methods and data. We survey a range of modelling traditions, and some formal approaches to the ’hard problem’ of regional economics, namely the joint consideration of agglomeration and growth. We also review empirical methods and findings based on natural experiments, spatial discontinuity designs, and structural models. Throughout, we give considerable attention to regional
growth in developing countries. Finally, we highlight the potential importance of processes that are specific to regional decline, and which deserve greater research attention.