Month: October 2017

New journal article out! Together with my colleague Dr. Rodrigo Cardoso I published an article in Planning Theory & Practice. The title is “Secondary Yet Metropolitan? The Challenges of Metropolitan Integration for Second-Tier Cities”. It is open access and can be found by clicking here.


This paper discusses whether the areas where metropolitan integration can be beneficial for cities in general corresponds to the typical areas of disadvantage of many second-tier cities in Europe, and explores the implications of that convergence. Metropolitan integration entails functional, institutional and symbolic dimensions, whose potential advantages include exploiting the agglomeration benefits emerging from the metropolitan scale, efficiently deploying shared metropolitan resources, and acquiring political-institutional influence over higher-level policymaking. Research shows that many European second-tier cities face persistent disadvantages in comparison to first-tier cities in these areas, and this article contributes to the discussion of new strategies of second-tier city development by exploring the potential effect of metropolitan integration in overcoming these setbacks. We empirically assess the gains in demographic and functional mass experienced by second-tier cities by aggregating the metropolitan scale, and draw from various examples to illustrate their interest in increasing institutional and political capacity. Metropolitan region formation seems indeed a promising strategy for many second-tier cities, especially those embedded in large and dense urban territories, and located in countries with a dominant first-tier city. To mobilise this potential, the paper further discusses the planning and governance strategies that can best manage the opportunities and hurdles of a metropolitan integration process.

Wow! A publication reaching 1000 citations is absolutely exceptional, but the report  and derived congress paper I co-authored with Rudolf Giffinger, Christian Fertner, Hans Kramar (all at TU Vienna) and Nataša Pichler-Milanović (University of Ljubljana) back in 2007 managed to do just that. Reason: it was one of the very first documents conceptually discussing and measuring the concept of ‘smart cities’ that became hugely popular in the scientific and policy domain in the last decade. Great to see that it inspired the work of so many others after us!

The website we launched in 2007 is still online and updated by the TU Vienna team:

My google scholar profile with citations can be found here.

Smart city model




Yesterday, upon invitation by the European Committee of the Regions, I presented my views on the ‘Metropolitan phenomenon of the 21st Century’ during a workshop in Brussels, as part of the European Week of Regions and Cities in Brussels. This workshop focused on the theme of ‘Towards the 2030 Agenda: a territorial foresight approach’ and together with other panelists, we tried to sketch the challenges for European cities and regions in the coming decades. In my talk, I stressed that a further concentration of urbanisation in a handful of large metropolises is an unlikely future, and that the European metropolis of the future will be a ‘networked metropolis’ because agglomeration economies are increasingly substituted/complemented by network externalities.

European week of cities and regions 2017