The Economy of a Regional Metropolis. Case-Study: Iasi, Romania



The city of Iaşi with a population of over 300,000 people is the biggest European Union city at the border with the former-Soviet space. The article, part of an extended study on territorial development of Iaşi and its peri-urban area, focuses on the role of the city to trigger regional growth and to enhance cross border cooperation. Recent processes at work generating economic cohesion and integration are explored drawing on the catalytic factors of development and the specialization of local economies. The paper discusses also the externalities of urban growth such as the urban sprawl that causes land use conflicts at the rural-urban fringe. It argues that human capital and higher birth rates than the national average are the strengths, and low connectivity and accessibility are the weaknesses for regional growth. The regional polarization of the city is based on the supply of high level services over the entire North-East Region and opportunities to cross border cooperation through the expansion of an agro-alimentary supply-chain are highlighted. Building on the main capabilities and assets of the agglomeration economies of Iaşi, the paper finally identifies some of the mechanisms and structures that foster urban and regional growth.

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