The aim of RSA Research Network “The impact of global economic crisis on capital cities” was to look at various cases of capital cities’ reactions in the wake of global economic crisis and at different dimensions of mitigating the consequences: government policies, business adjustments, social and human innovations, perceptions and brands of the cities – whether they have changed after the crisis. Recent studies and surveys from across Europe demonstrate that in ‘old EU’ the biggest cities are suffering the most from recession, while in new EU members and in Eastern Europe it is rural areas that suffer while cities and capital cities in particular are able to sustain their growth (or to minimise decline). Despite being the most integrated into the global economy, capital cities usually have very diversified economy and potentially can manage the crisis consequences better through risk diversification. But it is also the way cities are managed and the types of businesses they attract, as well as the quality of human and social capital that are important in mitigating the negative consequences of global economic crisis.
The findings of the network have enriched the empirical research in this field. The results are centred on the following research questions: a) What were the factors of capital city-regions relative success/resilience in face of current economic crisis? b) What is the role of power decentralisation in the adaptation process to the external conditions? c) Which sectors/branches were the most vulnerable to the crisis in capital city-regions and why? d) What austerity measures have been taken by capital city authorities and what might be their final outcome ? e) What opportunities the crisis creates for spatial planning in capital-city regions? These form a base for developing recommendations for central and local level policies aimed at improving the competitiveness and resilience of the city economies in different stages of economic cycle.
We have organised three seminars within RSA Research Network in years 2011-2013:
- “Crisis and cities: a dual world of capital cities“’ took place in Warsaw on 23rd September 2011 and was co-organised by network founders and EUROREG, Warsaw University. Overall 25 participants from 8 countries took part in the event and 11 papers were presented.
- “Four years on: how have capital cities dealt with the crisis“ was held 26th October 2012 co-organised by network founders and local partner – Kyiv National Economic University (KNEU). In total 24 researchers/practitioners from 7 countries took part in the event and 13 papers were presented.
- “Capital cities: embracing the change and tapping into opportunities” was held in Riga on 13th December 2013 and was organized jointly by network founders; and local partners, Jean Monnet Centre of Excellence, University of Latvia and Baltic Interregional Development hub, Latvia. In total 28 researchers/practitioners from 7 countries took part in the event and 8 papers were presented.
Finally, it was agreed that the results of three network seminars merit s separate publication. A number of selected papers delivered at all three events will be published as a special issue of Studia Regionalne i Lokalne, a quarterly journal published by EUROREG, University of Warsaw and the Polish Section of the Regional Studies Association. Currently, the process of collecting and reviewing of the papers is well advanced and Special Issue is planned to be published in the first half of 2015.