Report: The Vitality of Smaller Cities in Europe Conference, Barcelona, October 2018


Often the spotlight is on the larger better-known cities as the major focal points for urban economic development and innovation. The assumption is that with the potential for agglomeration and significant infrastructure investment, larger cities will always have distinct advantages over smaller cities.

The spatial distribution of local economies in functional urban areas clustered around smaller cities are often overlooked even though they make up the bulk of the urban settlements in Europe. It follows that for a growing European economy, the health and wealth of these smaller cities and their connected hinterlands should carry as much importance as the competitiveness of our larger cities.

In the conference, nine small cities from across Europe, who participated in URBACT III Action Planning Networks, showcased their action plans to sustain and increase their vitality often in challenging circumstances.

This conference report was written by Wessel Badenhorst, Mireia Sanabria and Miguel Souza in January 2019.

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