The GUCP Definition of Urban Competitiveness

Urban competitiveness refers to the degree to which a city, or urban region, in comparison with other “competing” cities, is able to provide the jobs, income, cultural and recreational amenities, degree of social cohesion, governance and urban environment to which its current and targeted new residents aspire.

In this definition, in contrast to most of the others who study urban competitiveness, we stress two elements:

  • the lack of a single variable such as productivity or per capita income or their growth, in favor of a more holistic conceptualization of what it means for a city to achieve competitiveness, and
  • the locus of decision making with regard to the definition of success in planning for competitiveness enhancement must be lodged in the aspirations of local residents rather than in those of a set of local authorities or external consultants.

Nor do we argue that urban competitiveness ‘is clusters’ or ‘is creativity’ or ‘is high-tech sectors’. There are many paths to a competitive urban economy, and cities have many options to examine and have shown this to be true by their experiences.

GUCP Mission

The GUCP is a group of eighteen academic specialists in the measurement of urban competitiveness, in policies to enhance that competitiveness, in and associated policy issues such as clusters, the knowledge economy, and strategic economic planning.

Our members are located at universities in Asia, Africa, The Americas and the European Union.  In addition to research presentations at our annual conference, individual members work collaboratively on research topics of mutual interest.

Our annual two-day conferences are held in conjunction with local planners and decision-makers in the public and private sectors of individual urban regions or cities.  Our audiences usually include numerous students from local universities.

Our objective is that of applying our expertise to issues that are crucial for that locality so that local authorities will be able to decide the future course of the development of their urban economy and to enhance its relative competitiveness most effectively