State of European Cities Report
The State of the European Cities Report gives a valuable insight in the current situation in 258 cities in the EU territory. It is based upon the Urban Audit, which allows these 258 cities to be statistically compared for the first time. It addresses a wide range of issues including demographic change, urban competitiveness, living conditions and the administrative power of cities. The report acknowledges the role of cities as laboratories: the places where economic and societal changes are often experienced first and most profoundly. It offers a reference point for cities that seek to understand the changes around them and look for strategic reorientation.
This report is the most comprehensive study on the evolution of European cities so far. It builds on a unique collection of urban statistics covering 258 cities in the 27 Member States gathered by the Commission services in the Urban Audit. It provides an in-depth analysis of demography, economy, social conditions, education, environment, transport and culture. It examines the development of urban areas at different geographical levels: core city, larger urban zone and neighbourhoods. And it investigates how the competences of city authorities and local governments vary across Europe. Finally, the report also provides an extensive typology of cities.
The ‘State of European Cities Report’ has been prepared by ECOTEC Research and Consulting Ltd, in cooperation with NordRegio and Eurofutures, following a call for tenders. It is based on the European Urban Audit, which is coordinated by Eurostat with National Statistical Offices. The first full-scale European Urban Audit took place in 2003 for the EU 15 and in 2004 for the ten new Member States plus Bulgaria, Romania and Turkey. The State of European Cities Report is based on this data collection.
The State of European Cities Report offers a wide range of conclusions, amongst which are the following:
- The strongest urban population growth rates were recorded in
Spain, where some urban areas saw average annual increases of 2 per
cent or more. Cities in Ireland, Finland, and Greece also
experienced some of the highest population growth rates in the EU.
In contrast, many urban areas in Central and Eastern Europe
witnessed an overall population decline in the same time frame. In
virtually all cities, suburbs grow and if they decline they still
tend to decline less than the core city.
- Cities are the indisputable engines of economic growth across
Europe. In virtually all European countries, urban areas are the
foremost producers of knowledge and innovation – the hubs of a
globalising world economy.
- Urban economies are rapidly becoming service economies. The
service sector is by far the most important source of employment in
- Unemployment rates tend to be higher in cities. Across Europe,
the unemployment rate was higher than the national rate in two out
of three Urban Audit cities in 2001. Within cities, very large
differences in unemployment rates can be observed between
- The Urban Audit paints a picture of urban dwellers,
increasingly living in one-person households, surrounded by an
increasing diversity of neighbours and with very different
capacities to participate in the developing urban societies around
them. The well educated are best placed to exploit the economic
opportunities available, while the poorly educated are at most risk
of exclusion. Addressing this duality lies at the heart of the
social cohesion challenge of cities.