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Past Program

Jun 18 - Jun 25, 2002

The Global Entrepreneurial City

Session 399

Abstract

In the last decade, cities have emerged as key players in an increasingly globalized world. They have become centers for socio-economic development as well as engines for promoting global commerce. Whereas transnational activity was once channeled primarily through central governments, many cities now conduct their own "foreign policy," maintaining permanent representation in foreign countries, dealing directly with other regional and national governments, and offering incentives to attract business and investment. Cities now compete with one another on a global scale to attract financial investment and the well-educated and mobile workforces. The emergence of these global "city states," and the competition among them, has created both unprecedented opportunities and some complicated challenges. It has also exposed them to the unparalleled risks.

This session will explore the key dynamics of the global entrepreneurial city, using case studies of large and medium-size urban centers that have successfully positioned themselves within the global community. The session will seek to identify common features as well as the unique local circumstances, be they social, political, economic or cultural, that have contributed to the transition from a regional to a global player. Among the issues to be discussed: How can cities identify and capitalize on local conditions to attract foreign investment and educated labor forces? What are the extent and limits of independent entrepreneurial activities in relation to regional and national governments? How can cities develop ways and means to buffer themselves effectively against natural and man-made disasters? The session will bring together a group of mid-career professionals from cities around the world who have been actively involved in these issues, or who are interested in positioning their cities within the global community.