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Urban Futures: Cities as Agents of Globalization and Innovation


  • Marina Boykova

    () (Institute for Statistical Studies and Economics of Knowledge, National Research University Higher School of Economics)

  • Irina Ilyina

    () (Institute for Regional Studies and Urban Planning, National Research University — Higher School of Economics)

  • Mikhail Salazkin

    () (Institute for Statistical Studies and Economics of Knowledge, National Research University Higher School of Economics)


The increasing complexity of globalization is reflected in the rapid growth of urban areas and expanding mega cities, where the majority of the world’ population is concentrated and where new trends in society and economy develop. This paper addresses the need for a new paradigm for urban development studies. Experts tend to share the view that the radically changing global of urban growth requires rethinking. The urgent task is to move from the concept of “growth at any price” to a philosophy based on the healthy and creative city. The paper explores new approaches, concepts and policy instruments that are essential for the moving toward a focus on the urban environment quality. The kind of lateral thinking that presumed an explicit division of urban territory into functional areas is no longer up to date. It is necessary to take a more creative, synthetic and multidisciplinary approaches. One can envision a city from a holistic perspective and see challenges as opportunities. A city should function as a single system, in other words, serving as one large project in which creativity and innovation are core elements. There is no template for such a city: each city will have its particular features. The authors review some successfully implemented urban strategies to help build a model of planning for cities embarking on innovative development. To realize such strategies, a critical mass of innovators to lead the process of urban transformation is necessary. Emphasis in planning therefore falls on human capital and on new flexible interdisciplinary strategies to identify sources of potential growth to develop and use advanced policy instruments to promote and establish new approaches. Some restructuring of the governance system should accompany new training for earmarked programmes, partnering with research universities, creating R&D departments within municipal governing bodies, and involving citizens in decision-making process regarding city development. Building up such human factors will determine whether the city will suffer gradual decline or become a “vibrant” environment with a higher quality of life. Note: Downloadable document is in Russian.

Suggested Citation

  • Marina Boykova & Irina Ilyina & Mikhail Salazkin, 2011. "Urban Futures: Cities as Agents of Globalization and Innovation," Foresight and STI Governance (Foresight-Russia till No. 3/2015), National Research University Higher School of Economics, vol. 5(4), pages 32-48.
  • Handle: RePEc:hig:fsight:v:5:y:2011:i:4:p:32-48

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    More about this item


    strategy of urban development; urban population; agglomeration; urbanization; global city; creative city; eco-city; megapolis; smart city;

    JEL classification:

    • R1 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics


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