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Phoenix cities

Phoenix cities: The fall and rise of great industrial cities

Anne Power
Jörg Plöger
Astrid Winkler
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  • Book Info
    Phoenix cities
    Book Description:

    'Weak market cities' across European and America, or 'core cities' as they were in their heyday, went from being 'industrial giants' dominating their national, and eventually the global, economy, to being 'devastation zones'. In a single generation three quarters of all manufacturing jobs disappeared, leaving dislocated, impoverished communities, run down city centres and a massive population exodus. So how did Europeans react? And how different was their response from America's? This book looks closely at the recovery trajectories of seven European cities from very different regions of the EU. Their dramatic decline, intense recovery efforts and actual progress on the ground underline the significance of public underpinning in times of crisis. Innovative enterprises, new-style city leadership, special neighbourhood programmes and skills development are all explored. The American experience, where cities were largely left 'to their own devices', produced a slower, more uncertain recovery trajectory. This book will provide much that is original and promising to all those wanting to understand the ground-level realities of urban change and progress.

    eISBN: 978-1-84742-685-7
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. List of figures, tables and boxes
    (pp. vii-xvii)
  4. List of acronyms
    (pp. xviii-xviii)
  5. Acknowledgements
    (pp. xix-xx)
  6. Part One: The tale of seven cities

    • ONE Introduction: what are ‘weak market cities’?
      (pp. 3-8)

      Weak market cities are cities that have experienced acute loss of purpose over the last generation, going from urban industrial giants to shadows of their former glory and pre-eminence.¹ Their loss of viability and purpose in the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s has undermined national economies, threatened social stability and exposed the fragility of the earth’s eco-systems.

      Across Europe, for 200 years, from the mid-18th to the mid-20th century, there was unprecedented urban growth and industrial expansion, centred around areas of easily exploitable natural resources such as coal, iron and water. A tradition of craft and trade alongside other historic assets,...

    • TWO Industrial giants: emerging on the back of history
      (pp. 9-26)

      To understand the challenges facing former industrial cities today, we need to grasp the essential threads of their history and role in building their countries’ wealth. Their fall from a great height made their recovery all the more unlikely. The seven cities, Leipzig, Bremen, Sheffield, Belfast, Bilbao, Torino and SaintÉtienne, played an important part in their country’s history even before the industrial revolution. Five of the seven cities occupied strategic crossing points on earlier international trading routes. For example, Torino was historically a major European centre, as a gateway to Italy through the Alps. It became the capital of the...

    • THREE A change of direction: political turmoil and a ferment of new ideas
      (pp. 27-58)

      The seven cities faced an intractable set of problems by the 1980s: declining economies, shrinking populations, loss of investment, decay and demoralisation. It was unclear how new ways out of such acute problems would emerge. The mismatch between what former industrial cities could offer and the requirements of the new economy, made starker by the obvious gaps between old industrial cities like the seven in this study and the blossoming economies of more knowledge and service-based cities, was extreme. Rapid economic changes far beyond the cities and their social impacts on the cities themselves changed the political dynamics of the...

    • FOUR Neighbourhood interventions: can small scale make a difference in big cities?
      (pp. 59-102)

      Over the long period of industrial growth and decline, urban populations were distributed according to their incomes, education, origins and functions in the economy into different parts of the city. Even poorer, working-class areas often had a hierarchy of more skilled and less skilled, more stable and less stable, leading to the ever-greater marginalisation of the poorest areas from city prosperity. Big neighbourhood inequalities have long been highly visible in cities, specifically with regard to income, housing conditions, school performance, crime, graffiti and vandalism. But as deindustrialisation took hold, these gaps widened.⁴⁸

      ‘Out of bounds’ areas harmed the cities’ attempts...

  7. Part Two: Learning from 50 years of boom and bust:: seven European case studies

    • Introduction
      (pp. 105-106)

      Each city has a particular story to tell, with its own place in the history of its country and the development of its wealth. The pattern of industrial collapse is alarmingly similar, but the local political crises it spawned are particular to each setting. For this reason, we decided to include seven case studies to provide flesh and bones to the broad canvas we have so far offered.

      The lived experiences of each city, its local setting and cultures, its changing leaderships and operations, its position in the European urban context, is specific, detailed and revealing. Although each case study...

    • FIVE Leipzig
      (pp. 107-130)

      Leipzig is located in the east German state of Saxony, 150km south west of Germany’s capital, Berlin (see Figures 5.1 and 5.2). With 4.3 million inhabitants, Saxony is the most populous of the newLänder(regions) that were formed after German reunification.

      Leipzig’s traditional role was that of a commercial and trading centre for Saxony and beyond. With 500,000 inhabitants it is the second largest city in East Germany, after Berlin and the thirteenth largest among all Germany’s cities. It originates from a Slavic village founded around 900 AD, and was accorded town status in 1165. Its favourable location at...

    • SIX Bremen
      (pp. 131-148)

      Bremen in north-west Germany is located on the River Weser, which reaches the North Sea some 60km down river (see Figure 6.1). The city of Bremen (population 548,000) and its downriver sister-city of Bremerhaven (population 117,000) form the city-state of Bremen. Under the German federal system, the city-state has regional government powers.³² The city-state of Bremen is governed by a senate with legislative powers bestowed on theirBurgerschaft(parliament). In this chapter we focus mainly on the City of Bremen. Where necessary, we will distinguish between city-state and city level.

      The first settlements in Bremen date back to the 1st...

    • SEVEN Sheffield
      (pp. 149-170)

      Sheffield is located in the South Yorkshire conurbation (see Figures 7.1 and 7.2). In 2001, the city had an estimated resident population of 513,234, with a population density of 1,395 people per km². Sheffield is England’s fourth largest local authority in terms of population.

      The nearby towns of Rotherham, Doncaster and Barnsley surround the core city of Sheffield and contain the coalfields which fuelled Sheffield’s steel industry (Figure 7.3). The wider city-region comprises 11 local authorities, and in 2005 had an estimated population of 1,736,600.⁵⁷

      Sheffield nestles in a natural basin surrounded by seven hills, at the confluence of two...

    • EIGHT Belfast
      (pp. 171-196)

      Northern Ireland is a province of the United Kingdom (Figure 8.1). Together with adjacent counties in the Republic of Ireland it comprises the historic Irish region of Ulster. Nowadays, the province consists of six administrative counties and 26 districts (Figure 8.2). The capital, Belfast, with its 269,000 inhabitants, is the dominant city in terms of population, functions and economy. Its metropolitan area has a population of 645,000, more than a third of the Northern Irish population of 1.7 million.⁹⁹

      Belfast’s name derives from the GaelicBéal Feirste, meaning either ‘mouth of the River Farset’ or ‘approach to the sandbar’, the...

    • NINE Bilbao
      (pp. 197-218)

      The Basque Country (País Vasco) is located on the northern edge of the Iberian Peninsula (Figure 9.1) and is one of Spain’s 17 autonomous regions. Bilbao is the main city (population 350,000) and capital of the province ofBizkaia(in Basque) orVizcaya(in Spanish) (Figure 9.2). The metropolitan area of Bilbao (Bilbao Metropolitana) (population 900,000) includes the City of Bilbao and several surrounding municipalities, making it the largest agglomeration on Spain’s Atlantic coast and the sixth largest metropolitan area in Spain. Bilbao is located on both sides of the River Nervión which discharges into the Bay of Biscay some...

    • TEN Torino
      (pp. 219-242)

      Torino is located in Piedmont, northern Italy, on the plain of the River Po, just south of the western Alps. The municipality (commune) had 900,608 inhabitants in 2006 making it Italy’s fourth largest city. The province surrounding Torino, covering 6,830km² and corresponding roughly to the metropolitan area, consists of 315 municipalities, and had 2,242,775 inhabitants in 2006 (see Figures 10.1 and 10.2).

      Torino boasts a rich history as a military stronghold and trading hub. Its grid network of straight streets in the city centre demonstrates one of its early functions, as a military camp for the Romans in the 1st...

    • ELEVEN Saint-Étienne
      (pp. 243-268)

      Saint-Étienne is located in central eastern France in the Rhône-Alpes region, 60km southwest of Lyon (see Figures 11.1 and 11.2). The municipality (commune) covers an area of 80km and had a population of 180,210 in 1999.²⁴⁹ The broader Saint-Étienne metropolitan area (aire urbaine) comprises 41 municipalities, with 321,703 inhabitants in 1999. It is France’s 16th largest urban region in terms of population.

      There were many geographical obstacles to Saint-Étienne’s development given its setting – a hilly, cut-off valley with bitter weather. However, discovery of rich coal and iron resources and its location near Lyon, France’s second city, proved decisive in...

  8. Part Three: Towards a recovery framework

    • TWELVE Measuring the recovery of weak market cities
      (pp. 271-290)

      From the 1970s onwards the European cities covered by this study have all suffered from multiple problems caused by profound economic restructuring. The seven cities – Belfast, Bilbao, Bremen, Leipzig, Saint-Étienne, Sheffield and Torino – all showed signs of recovery from decline, although the level of recovery varied considerably between them. The impact of industrial decline and its historic trajectory have been described in detail in the case study chapters of this book in Part Two.

      Urban recovery can be defined as progress in overcoming the problems associated with economic restructuring and industrial decline, such as population loss, job losses,...

  9. Part Four: Urban industrial decline and post-industrial recovery initiatives:: what can European cities learn from the US?

    • THIRTEEN How do US weak market cities compare with Europe?
      (pp. 293-310)

      These next three chapters look at the US experience of urban recovery. Urban regeneration in Europe has long been informed by US approaches and more recently, US cities have also started to observe European approaches. The context in which cities on both sides of the Atlantic operate is of course different. Nevertheless, we can enrich the debate about urban regeneration by examining this juxtaposition.

      This part of the book draws mainly on insights gained from research visits to three large old industrial US cities: Pittsburgh, Baltimore and Philadelphia. These three cities are good examples of the struggle of older US...

    • FOURTEEN Will the US cities recover?
      (pp. 311-342)

      The lack of strong federal support for cities in the US from the 1980s onwards has meant that states and cities themselves have had to react directly to their internal crisis. Efforts to revitalise cities have emerged in the US, just as they have in Europe, albeit with weak support from other tiers of government so that the response has mainly been driven by local leaders. Programmes of renewal evolved in US cities over the long period of urban decline, often driven by extreme racial problems and a gradual recognition that suburban sprawl was itself a problem. Partnerships between the...

    • FIFTEEN Lessons for Europe
      (pp. 343-348)

      There are some unique features in the way US cities are run and have evolved that shape many of the particular problems they experience and also their progress. The fiscal autonomy of cities and suburbs with the accompanying power to levy their own taxes allows cities to exercise strong leadership from within, but often leaves struggling cities starved of support. This contrasts strongly with European regions such as the Basque province with its strong devolved power but accompanying responsibility to support cities such as Bilbao. The US model creates serious distributional problems as the greater the urban problems, the higher...

  10. Part Five: Conclusions

    • SIXTEEN What have the European cities taught us? Where does the future lie?
      (pp. 351-374)

      This final part ofPhoenix citieslinks the threads of growth, decline and recovery within ex-industrial cities to bigger trends and patterns that underpin their history, progress and future trajectories. First we look at the main strands of progress of the cities. We then consider the lessons from their industrial collapse, subsequent recovery and current constraints. Lastly we assess the future prospects of the cities.

      Densely populated European industrial cities, with their long urban roots, gradually took on a new lease of life over the late 20th and early 21st centuries, as they worked their way through political crises, economic...

  11. Notes
    (pp. 375-386)
  12. References
    (pp. 387-400)
  13. Index
    (pp. 401-412)
  14. Back Matter
    (pp. 413-413)