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How Can Mid-Sized Cities Become More Distinctive? Prof. Ivan Turok Human Sciences Research Council South Africa.

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Presentation on theme: "How Can Mid-Sized Cities Become More Distinctive? Prof. Ivan Turok Human Sciences Research Council South Africa."— Presentation transcript:

1 How Can Mid-Sized Cities Become More Distinctive? Prof. Ivan Turok Human Sciences Research Council South Africa

2 Role for mid-sized cities 1. Lower cost, more efficient basic factors Danger of dependence Danger of zero sum 2. Distinctive quality, differential advantage Anything different Capabilities relative to external markets

3 Forms of distinctiveness Evolutionary change Amenable to alteration Intangible Tangible Image and identity Built environment & amenities Firms and industries Skills, knowledge and occupations

4 1. Image and identity Change how people think about a place 1. Reinvent or reimagine 2. Upgrade or reposition – But do they change decisions? – Cities are complex products

5 2. Built environment Character of the city Functionality – Pressure to build speculative objects – Displacement of existing activity

6 3. Key industries Externally traded/propulsive Industrial districts & clusters Innovation, science and technology –Emphasis on novelty neglects downstream –Neglects upgrading of established –Dangers of narrow specialisation

7 4. Occupations Who employed at what stage of production Knowledge workers, people climate Cross-cutting resources more versatile Lower cost than capital subsidies – But do occupations or skills drive growth? – Dangers of elitism

8 Conclusion Danger of a formula: Nascent industries, high level occupations, signature buildings, consumer identities Instead: Sound understanding of existing capabilities Responsiveness to emerging opportunities Alignment, coordination, congruence Dont neglect everyday requirements


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