A major one day conference held on 29 October 2013 to explore the challenges faced by London and Europe’s global cities as the balance of economic power across the world shifts.
The Uncertain Future of Europe’s Cities
Cities have long been vital to trade, innovation, investment and development. Despite the distance-shrinking technologies of the modern world, that is truer today than ever before.
Yet the future for Europe’s urban centres is uncertain. After centuries in which first European cities, and then Western ones, led the world, power is shifting eastwards and southwards. New global cities have emerged; Tokyo, Hong-Kong and Singapore first among them, with other cities such as Seoul and Shanghai following fast behind. At the same time, the financial crisis has exposed and exacerbated pre-existing weaknesses in European economies.
While benefitting from the early stages of globalisation, economic growth has faltered across Europe and public spending is under unparalleled pressure.
Traditional European industries are in decline, and it’s not always clear where their replacements will come from. Unemployment is running high – one in four young Londoners can’t find work. It more than one in two in Greece and Spain. For the first time since the Second World War, middle and lower income Europeans cannot expect to live better than their parents. Not surprisingly, European voters appear increasingly disenchanted with those in power.
Against this background the conference debated what this next wave of globalisation will mean for London and other European cities and how they can make the most of it.
Europe’s Cities in a Global Economy
The London Conference 2013 also saw the launch of independent research from Centre for London and the Global Cities Initiative assessing the challenges and opportunities that European cities face in a shifting international landscape.