The Barcelona Centre for International Affairs (CIDOB) has presented the preliminary results of a study, carried out in collaboration with the Metropolitan Area of Barcelona, that analyses the international action strategies of six major global metropolises: Durban, Seoul, Montreal, Medellín, Vienna and Barcelona.

In an article published the newspaper El País, Agustí Fernández de Losada, Director of the CIDOB Global Cities Programme and also Vice-President of Interarts, explains that all the metropolises studied devote great efforts to their international action, especially to projecting themselves and capturing opportunities that favour their economic and social development. Indeed, they seek to position themselves in the world as innovative, creative and diverse cities that are committed to supporting dynamics that foster social cohesion, entrepreneurship & innovation, environmental sustainability and the quality of life. However, although this certainly entails an important added value and an undeniable impact in terms of employment opportunities, economic activity and fiscal performance, it cannot be denied that this global prestige also brings about negative and indirect externalities, which occur in the medium and long term and can become constraints in the development of a given city. Examples of such distortions, derived in particular from elevated tourism fluxes, are the tensions in labour supply and in the real estate market.

Being aware of these externalities does not mean that we should stop wagering on international projection but, neither, that we should ignore reality. It is important to start working on the design of strategies that promote processes for social and environmental sustainability, and that strengthen both the commitment of the city’s actors and the mechanisms of citizen participation.

For more information, click on the following links. The final results of the study will be published at the end of this year.

Photo: Frankfurt Financial District, Germany. KAI PFAFFENBACH REUTERS.
Extracted from El Pais website.