Chapter 19 Urban sustainable competitiveness: a comparative analysis of 500 cities around the world
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Accompanying the rapid development in science and technology, newly industrialized countries have been growing and advancing sharply, and the urbanization process has continued apace around the world. Two streams of research have particular importance in this context, the first being the sustainable development of cities, and the other a stream consisting of studies on urban competitiveness. However, only recently have the two been considered together as sustainable urban competitiveness. With an increasing global urban population, sustainable urban competitiveness has increasingly become a hot topic attracting attention from city managers, social organizations, and city experts. This chapter examines the extant literature to develop a conceptual framework and indicator system of sustainable urban competitiveness from which a global index of sustainable urban competitiveness can be created. Drawing on data for 500 cities from five continents, comparisons are made. The results indicate that overall urban sustainable competitiveness in the world is relatively low. Only a minority of the cities display high levels of sustainable competitiveness while the majority display lower levels. Those with the highest levels of sustainable competitiveness are global cities controlling high-end resources, factors and markets. North America has the largest proportion of cities with higher sustainable competitiveness, whilst Europe has the greatest disparity in urban sustainable competitiveness with a large number of cities displaying either high and low levels of sustainable competitiveness. South American cities generally have a weaker performance with regard to sustainable competitiveness as do those in Africa, which lacks any cities displaying higher levels of sustainable competitiveness.

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