Bern's positioning strategies: Escaping the fate of a secondary capital city?

Kaufmann, David; Warland, Martin Victricius; Mayer, Heike; Sager, Fritz (2016). Bern's positioning strategies: Escaping the fate of a secondary capital city? Cities. The International Journal of Urban Policy and Planning, 53(53), pp. 120-129. Elsevier 10.1016/j.cities.2016.02.005

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Bern is a classic example of a so-called secondary capital city, which is defined as a capital city that is not the primary economic center of its nation. Such capital cities feature a specific political economy characterized by a strong government presence in its regional economy and its local governance arrangements. Bern has been losing importance in the Swiss urban system over the past decades due to a stagnating economy, population decline and missed opportunities for regional cooperation. To re-position itself in the Swiss urban hierarchy, political leaders and policymakers established a non-profit organization called “Capital Region Switzerland” in 2010 arguing that a capital city should not be measured by economic success only, but by its function as a political center where political decisions are negotiated and implemented. This city profile analyses Bern's strategy and discusses its ambitions and limitations in the context of the city's history, socio-economic and political conditions. We conclude that Bern's positioning strategy has so far been a political success, yet that there are severe limitations regarding advancing economic development. As a result, this re-positioning strategy is not able to address the fundamental economic development challenges that Bern faces as a secondary capital city.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)

Division/Institute:

08 Faculty of Science > Institute of Geography > Human Geography > Unit Economic Geography
11 Centers of Competence > Center of Comptetence for Public Management (KPM)
08 Faculty of Science > Institute of Geography > Human Geography
08 Faculty of Science > Institute of Geography
11 Centers of Competence > Center for Regional Economic Development (CRED)

UniBE Contributor:

Kaufmann, David; Warland, Martin Victricius; Mayer, Heike and Sager, Fritz

Subjects:

300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology
300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology > 320 Political science
300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology > 330 Economics
300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology > 350 Public administration & military science
700 Arts > 710 Landscaping & area planning

ISSN:

0264-2751

Publisher:

Elsevier

Language:

English

Submitter:

David Christen

Date Deposited:

11 Mar 2016 09:37

Last Modified:

15 Sep 2017 04:17

Publisher DOI:

10.1016/j.cities.2016.02.005

Uncontrolled Keywords:

Bern; Switzerland; Secondary capital city; Positioning strategy; Economic development

BORIS DOI:

10.7892/boris.79579

URI:

https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/79579

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