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Article Summary

Jessop, Bob 1997. The Entrepreneurial City: Re-imaging localities, redesigning economic governance or restructuring capital, pp 28-41 in Transforming Cities: Contested Governance and New Spatial Divisions ed. by Nick Jewson and Susanne MacGregor. Routledge: London.

Jessop considers the transformation of the contemporary city within the context of globalization. Focusing primarily on British cities, the author analyzes four trends in the drive toward a more entrepreneurial urban political economy: 1) the redefinition of local economies as entrepreneurial units; 2) the link between this redefinition and new forms of governance; 3) the transformation of modern urban economics within global economics; 4) the political economy of globalization within which this transformation is occurring.

Post-war macroeconomic and microeconomic policies designed to facilitate full employment, price stability, economic growth, and the distribution of social welfare are no longer feasible through the national-state. Cities must increasingly use new, entrepreneurial modes of production and governance to secure competitiveness. Likewise, the state must exploit the competitive advantages created by successful entrepreneurial cities, to secure an advantage internationally. This strategy can only be carried out through long-term organizational coordination coupled with effective performance assessment and accountability standards. 

Several general trends are pivotal to the contextualization of the entrepreneurial city: 1) the de-nationalization of statehood, including the abdication of de jure sovereignty to supranational institutions and the devolution of authority to the city/regional level; 2) the transformation from government to governance in the form of partnerships between state agencies and non-governmental organizations; 3) the internationalization of the national state and a subsequent magnification of the transnational implications of domestic behavior.

All of these processes contribute to the rise of the entrepreneurial city. Jessop concludes that the transformation of urban economics toward entrepreneurialism is driven by globalization, resulting in local activities such as new governance methods of public/private networking.