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  • Author or Editor: Astrid Winkler x
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The fall and rise of great industrial cities

‘Weak market cities’ across European and America, or ‘core cities’ as they were in their heyday, went from being ‘industrial giants’ dominating their national, and eventually the global, economy, to being ‘devastation zones’. In a single generation three quarters of all manufacturing jobs disappeared, leaving dislocated, impoverished communities, run down city centres and a massive population exodus.

So how did Europeans react? And how different was their response from America’s? This book looks closely at the recovery trajectories of seven European cities from very different regions of the EU. Their dramatic decline, intense recovery efforts and actual progress on the ground underline the significance of public underpinning in times of crisis. Innovative enterprises, new-style city leadership, special neighbourhood programmes and skills development are all explored. The American experience, where cities were largely left ‘to their own devices’, produced a slower, more uncertain recovery trajectory. This book will provide much that is original and promising to all those wanting to understand the ground-level realities of urban change and progress.

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This introductory chapter explains the coverage of this book, which is about seven cities in Europe that experienced acute loss of purpose over the last generation, going from urban industrial giants to shadows of their former glory and pre-eminence. These cities are Leipzig, Bremen, Sheffield, Belfast, Bilbao, Torino, and Saint-Étienne. This book describes the historic importance and industrial dominance of the cities in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, and sets out a framework for assessing their recovery trajectories. It offers a look at the U.S. counterpart cities and suggests that the fortunes of industrial cities are linked the resource-constrained limits of their future.

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This chapter examines the rapid rise to dominance of the seven European cities and discusses their historical importance. It explains that these cities played many different, intrinsically transforming industrial tasks over the period of Europe’s greatest manufacturing growth in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, and came to dominate national economies as a result of their prolific output. The chapter discusses how these cities lost their core economic rationale, prominence, and political weight over the thirty-year period up to 2000.

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This chapter examines how the seven European cities adapted to the new realities of decline, unemployment, and shrinkage. It explores the measures they adopted to promote recovery and the innovations they uncovered in pursuit of a new prosperity. The chapter discusses how the combination of restored image, recovering population, inward investment, new enterprise, and public backing has helped the cities to weather their post-industrial decline and to begin to recover.

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This chapter examines the smaller-scale, more-local efforts of the seven European cities to reintegrate marginalised areas and populations. It explains that city governments usually develop targeted programmes to tackle four main types of deep-set disadvantage. These include inner-area renewal, community enterprise for disadvantaged or vulnerable social groups, and skills development. All of the seven cities adopted at least three of the four approaches, invariably concentrated in the same areas. Local-neighbourhood projects in each city showed the microlevel at which it is necessary to work in order to make new social and economic opportunities a reality.

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This chapter examines the collapse of Leipzig, Germany as a major industrial city during the period from 1970 to 2000 and describes its recovery efforts. It suggests that Leipzig has undergone a dramatic transformation since Germany’s reunification, while dealing with significant problems, such as its shrinking population and steep manufacturing-job losses. However, many challenges remain, including budget deficits, the need to retain a viable economic base with growth in sectors such as research and development, and the uncertain future for the Stadtumbau Ost urban-regeneration programme.

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This chapter examines the collapse of Bremen, Germany as a major industrial city during the period from 1970 to 2000, and describes its recovery efforts. It suggests that Bremen seems to have undergone the most significant recovery of all the cities featured in this book. The city has halted population decline and shown recent improvements in employment. However, there are several factors that call into question how the city will fare in the future, including the consolidation of public finances, dealing with increasing social polarisation, and guaranteeing the long-term durability of the innovation strategy.

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This chapter examines the collapse of Sheffield, England as a major industrial city during the period from 1970 to 2000, and describes its recovery efforts. Major investments in infrastructure and neighbourhood-renewal programmes have transformed the image of Sheffield. This, combined with its growing student population driving demand for new services and business, and its ample green spaces, will be important quality-of-life factors attracting knowledge workers to the city. The strong partnership arrangements Sheffield has put in place to manage its own regeneration and economic-development process are vital to coordinated progress.

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This chapter examines the collapse of Belfast, Northern Ireland as a major industrial city during the period from 1970 to 2000 and describes its recovery efforts. The legacy of Direct Rule left local authorities with weak local-government structures. Although gradual progress is being made in reconciling the communities, segregation along religious and socioeconomic lines continues. Regeneration and reconciliation have so far worked as twin processes in building forward momentum. But political uncertainties and interruptions in the process of devolution have sapped some of the initial energy.

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This chapter examines the collapse of Bilbao, Spain as a major industrial city during the period from 1970 to 2000, and describes its recovery efforts. The recovery of Bilbao has been facilitated by a combination of determined public-sector leadership and an existing entrepreneurial culture. This enabled the design of interventions and special agencies to confront the symptoms of the crisis. Another beneficial factor for the city’s recovery is the strong regional and local cultural identity.

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