Accomodating Creative Knowledge competitiveness of European Metropolitan Regions within the Enlarged Union (ACRE)


Funding Program: European Commission 6th Framework Program

Duration: 2006-2010

Main Researcher:

Montserrat Pareja-Eastaway (local team)
Sako Musterd (international coordinator)


Lídia Garcia
Marc Pradel
Montse Simó
Joaquín Turmo


In this project we aim to assess the impact of the emerging ‘creative class’ and the rise of the ‘creative industries’ on the competitiveness of EU metropolitan regions. While the traditional ‘hard’ location factors that firms use will remain important for international competitiveness, new ‘soft’ location factors that are mainly related to attracting the required ‘talent pool’ would deserve increasing attention. The central research question we will address is: what are the conditions for creating or stimulating ‘creative knowledge regions’ in the context of the extended European Union? We will compare the recent socio-economic development trends and strategies in several metropolitan regions across Europe to get more insight in the extent to which creativity, innovation and knowledge are indeed the keys to a successful long-term economic development.

The metropolitan regions in the ACRE project are: Amsterdam, Barcelona, Birmingham, Budapest, Dublin, Helsinki, Leipzig, Milan, Munich, Poznan, Riga, Sofia and Toulouse. The most important topic to consider is which metropolitan regions might develop as ‘creative knowledge regions’, and which regions might not. With the results of this study the EU might seriously consider strengthening the profile of metropolitan regions within the EU area as regards creative knowledge branches and activities in the face of increasing competition with other growth regions in the world.

In this research leading European experts with complementary disciplinary backgrounds from places with clearly different pathways concerning the creative knowledge economy will be brought together. This will help to significantly improve our understanding of the conditions that shape the emergence of a creative knowledge economy and of its importance for enhanced competitiveness


 The project showed that existing theories on mobility of the ‘creative class’ seems incorrect for the European case, in which most of the people remains attached to their place of origin, and where family remains a relevant issue. The project showed also the relevance of path dependency in the definition of urban strategies fro growth. It also assessed the impact of soft factors in the definition of new economic geographies, showing that it is less relevant that it seems. The main results of the project were collected in two books: Making competitive cities and Place Making and policies for competitive cities (see below).


Brown, J., Redmond D., & Pradel, M. (2013) Capitalising on Position: Policies for Competitive Capital and non-Capital Cities in S. Musterd & Z. Kovacs (eds.) Place-making and policies for competitive cities Wiley-Blackwell: oxford

Crossa, V.; Pareja-Eastaway, M.; Barber, A. (2010) Re-inventing the city. In: Making Competitive Cities Pathways, Actors and Policies Edited by S. Musterd and A. Murie. London: Blackwell

Lange, Bastian, Marc Pradel, and Vassil Garzinov. 2010. “New governance, New Geographical Scales, New Institutional Settings.” Pp. 306–26 in Making Competitive Cities, edited by Sako Musterd and Alan Murie. Oxford: Willey-Blackwell. Retrieved September 26, 2012

Pareja-Eastaway, M. Chapain, C. y Mugnano S (2012) Successes and failures in city branding. In: Musterd, S. and & Z. Kóvacs (eds.) Place-making and policiescompetitive Cities. Wiley-Blackwell: Oxford

Pareja-Eastaway, M.; Bontje, M.; d’Ovidio, M. (2010) Attracting Young and High-Skilled Workers. In: Making Competitive Cities Pathways, Actors and Policies Edited by S.Musterd and A. Murie. Oxford: Willey-Blackwel

Pareja-Eastaway, Montserrat, Joaquín Turmo, Marc Pradel, Lídia García-Ferrando, and Montse Simó. 2007. The city of marvels? multiple endavours towards competitiveness in Barcelona. Amsterdam: Amidst .

Pareja-Eastaway, Montserrat, Joaquín Turmo, Lídia García-Ferrando, Marc Pradel, and Montse Simó. 2008. Main drivers for settlment in the Barcelona Metropolitan Region: The managers’ view. Amsterdam: AMidst.

Pareja-Eastaway, Montserrat, Joaquín Turmo, Lídia García Ferrando, and Marc Pradel. 2009. The Magnetism of Barcelona. Amsterdam: Amidst.

Pareja-Eastaway, Montserrat, and Marc Pradel. 2010. “New economy , new governance approaches ? Fostering creativity and knowledge in the Barcelona.” Creative Industries Journal 3(1):29–46.

Pradel, M., Paazlow, A., & Hélène Martín-Brelot (2013) Policies for Small and Large Cities in S. Musterd & Z. Kovacs (eds.) Place-making and policies for competitive cities Wiley-Blackwell: oxford