Today, city-regions play a more prominent role in driving national growth. They represent the leading areas for creation of substantial competitive units in the global economic system. Moreover, global city-regions which are engines of economic growth worldwide are internationally networked. To improve competitiveness, most countries are working towards developing city-regions as key growth leaders. The overall purpose of this study is to research the development of Korea's city-regions as growth centres for global competitiveness, encouraging mega-economic regions and contributing to the advancement of the country in the future.
For this study, theories and previous research on city-regions were reviewed first. Prior to analyzing the current status of the city-regions of Korea, related theories such as city-regionalism, network theory and global city-region function were reviewed, presenting a development strategy and policy agenda evidence base.
In the second part, we review city-region development strategies of countries such as England, France, Germany, Japan, and China. England's eight city regions underpin Northern England's economy while France has sixteen communaute urbains and metropole policies. There are also eleven metropolitan regions in Germany, three city-regions in Japan, and ten megalopolis in China. Each country establishes a range of strategies for city-region development for global and national success.
The third part examines the criteria for city-region spatial boundaries and analyzes the current status of each, based on the literature and foreign policy reviews. Functional connectivity, geographical accessibility and urban activity are first comprehensively considered to set up spatial boundaries. Results show that daily socioeconomic activity occurs across administrative boundaries in terms of growth and suburbanization. As these sub-urbanized patterns are sharply increasing at sector such as population, industry, and land use, organizational management using in-depth analysis and monitoring is critically necessary.
The fourth part analyzes city-region competitiveness at the global level. Results show that Korean city-regions lag behind competitors in such sectors as economic power, settlement environment and infrastructure, compared to the indices of OECD and EU members. To meet the requirements of a world class city-region, the government should consider a long-term vision on shifting industrial structures toward high-tech industry and improving the quality of life in areas such as housing, leisure, and the natural environment. The government and its partners should also work to provide clear direction and specific strategies based on the position and competency of each city-region.
The final part sets out key findings and proposes a policy agenda and future challenges to strengthen city-regions to match global standards. In order to foster a global city-region, the key priorities are to improve global infrastructure connectivity for central urban areas concentrating population and economy of city-region. It is also necessary to promote industrial clusters based on new growth industry, to foster environmentally sensitivity and technological competence, and create sustainable communities within the city-region. A collaborative governance system must be established among city-region partners. Institutional framework of city-region level should be provided, particularly for concrete guidelines in city-region planning, and to improve the formal engagement of all local government.
With strategies suggested in this study, Korea's city-regions can develop as globally competitive growth poles. This would expedite the change of national territorial structure from Capital Region concentrated to polycentric structure and promote national competitiveness and balanced development of Korea.