How Soft and Hard Infrastructure Can Foster Equitable Economic Growth among Secondary Cities

Systems of secondary cities play a vital intermediary role as economic, administrative and logistics hubs within national and global systems of cities. They have three basic spatial typologies: regional hubs, metropolitan clusters, and corridors. 

The pattern, rate of development, and role of systems of secondary cities are changing rapidly in response to urbanisation, globalisation, structural economic change, new technologies, and the rapid development of transport and communications systems. These changes have resulted in a growing gap and inequities in sub-national regional economic development, income, wealth, investment, and employment opportunities within systems of secondary cities. 

Closing the gap has become a significant challenge for governments. Much of the literature on the development of secondary cities has tended to focus on enhancing the competitiveness of infrastructure, industry clusters, and enabling environments; however, there has been a tendency to overlook the importance of external factors: connectivity, networks, and collaboration, which significantly affect the performance of systems of secondary cities. 

This book seeks to address this knowledge gap. It examines ways secondary cities can work more collaboratively to improve their development prospects, lift prosperity, and leverage public resources to support equitable and sustainable sub-national economic growth and development. 

It outlines ways governments and other stakeholders within systems of secondary cities can invest strategically in public goods and services, improve connectivity, develop networks, and leverage common user facilities, infrastructure, and resources at different geographic levels to support inclusive, equitable, and sustainable development.

Please cite this publication as: 
Cities Alliance (2019), Connecting Systems of Secondary Cities, Cities Alliance/UNOPS, Brussels.

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Prof. Brian H. Roberts