Presentation on theme: "SOCIAL POLIS Vienna Conference Vienna, May 11-12, 2009 Working Group Session “Urban labour markets and economic development” Building a “Social Polis”"— Presentation transcript:
SOCIAL POLIS Vienna Conference Vienna, May 11-12, 2009 Working Group Session “Urban labour markets and economic development” Building a “Social Polis” Framework by: Floro Ernesto Caroleo
The European Commission in its Report on economic and social cohesion stresses the role of urban areas as an important dimension of economic, social and territorial cohesion. Gains from the concentration of people and activities: a) increasing returns b) wide availability of health care services and relatively easy access to higher education institutions and training facilities Negative externalities of agglomeration a) malfunctioning of labour market causing structural unemployment b) urban decay and social exclusion, poverty and unbalanced development.
Cities act as a big Labour Agency that, by means of infrastructural, social, educational and cultural services, allows, positively or negatively, the local labour demand and supply match.
The process of agglomeration is very complex in Europe. By the way, a single path defining it does not exist. 1) In the European regions the process of agglomeration has been almost “polycentric” and the economic activity is more concentrated across the EU than population. An important novelty is just the growth of the so called intermediate regions (regions where the share of the population living in the rural units is between 15% and 50%): the Centre- North-East of Italy, Spain (recent economic development), new accession countries (structural change), France.
The intermediate regions might also benefit from increasing returns. They are more resource-efficient because it is possible to avoid the diseconomies of very large agglomerations. Towns and cities in intermediate regions provide essential services for the surrounding rural areas provide access to services, including the necessary infrastructures to invest in the adaptability of people and enterprises (as well as in the North-East of Italy, Spain and France in sustaining industrialization). Related arguments: How to design the transport services, and the environmental systems How to strengthen the relations between urban, rural and peri-urban areas developing a networking framework. How to strengthen the role of cities in promoting entrepreneurship, innovation and knowledge economy and supporting small and medium- sized enterprises (SMEs) How to reduce the disparities between districts.
2) European cities are areas in which the most dynamic and advanced industrial and service sectors are concentrating: financial and business services; knowledge intensive services; high and high-medium tech industry, etc. However, in the last decades technological progress has deeply changed the productive specialization and, of course, also the geography and/or the shape of the urban areas. Related arguments: How to manage the structural and technological change What industrial and labour policies could be implemented to improve employability How to design educational and training systems to reduce the mismatch between demand of new skills and the supply
3) Third main feature is migration. Cities’ population is steadily fed by the immigration from rural areas and, recently, by the immigration from other countries. Especially for the first generations of immigrants, social consequences are very heavy in terms of integration, social exclusion, unemployment. The social conflict between old and new social groups is sharp, due to the skill and cultural differences. Related arguments: How to reduce the social groups disparities and the social conflict How to fasten the integration of immigrants to avoid relegating them in the informal sector end in the long term unemployment. How to combat delinquency and the feeling of insecurity,
4) The characteristic impact of inequality on metropolitan areas. There is a negative association between local inequality and the growth of both income and population. Crime rates are higher in places with more inequality, and people in unequal cities are more likely to say that they are unhappy. Inequality do not rise from the immigration only. As said before, the present functioning of labour market in general excludes a lot of people from the insider jobs (youths and women and older workers) and this exclusion can be exacerbated by the lack of educational and social services. Related arguments: How to design social services and job activating labour policies How to design the governance of territorial and productive system How to permit all to participate to the income and wealth formation and distribution How to improve the quality of life of the cities How to promote “social inclusion”
Questions for the future research to build a “social polis” framework Definition and measurement of a urban area from a geographic, economic, social point of view What is the theoretical framework that could better explain these features? For example, with the Capability Approach, (Sen), one can deal with inequality as a problem of unequal distribution of: 1) resources; 2) functionings; 3) efficient transformation of resources in functionings. Another analytical framework could be the Putman’s concept of social capital; etc. A Social Polis can not only be viewed as a result of the market forces but public action have explicitly or implicitly, directly or indirectly effects too. What is the best policy approach to achieve a development of the cities both efficient and equitable? What are the best policy tools to be implemented for the governance: “Place-based” policy, territorial programming, institutional coordination, active labour policies, third sector etc.? What is the best “territorial strategy” aimed at improving “social inclusion”