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The ICT city model

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Economic factors

  • Cities are no longer nuclei with relatively self-sufficient populations. Instead, they have become immersed in a globalized world whose reality stretched far beyond municipal limits and even national frontiers.
  • As a result, cities have become more and more exposed to external factors which increasingly condition their viability within the relatively stable context to which they are accustomed.
  • Today, on-going and continual change is the surest way to maintain a degree of stability, though this naturally implies dynamic stability.
  • A city with a rigid structure ages quickly and will soon be left behind by more competitive cities.
  • The North American economist Paul Krugman, winner of the 2008 Nobel Prize for Economics, has had his work recognised for describing the important role that innovation plays in the development of international trade, which – as is well-known – mainly takes place between developed countries.
  • Developing competences and being competitive are based on training, research, technological transfers and, ever increasingly, on innovation. It is therefore significant that the traditional term R & D has now been updated to R &D &i, where the lower case “i” stands for innovation, which is an integral part of today's production process.

The innovating city

  • A city must offer its residents the opportunity to realise their full potential and to do this, it must offer them a city model based on progress and a competitive business network.
  • A city must therefore be innovative if it is to achieve a significant position within the network of cities of which it forms part. Today, the success of any city depends on it being an international reference point in one field or another.
  • For a city to be an international reference, it must become known as a centre for excellence within a specialized field of production. This is not, however, incompatible with promoting a series of other activities.
  • A city must therefore develop its own area of specialization and it must do this through the innovation, research, excellence and competitiveness of its workers and businesses.
  • This is particularly true in the case of medium-sized cities that cannot take advantage of the economies of scale available to the great urban conurbations. Size is therefore is less important that innovation.
  • Promoting innovation is therefore much more important in medium-sized cities, such as Lleida, than it is in large metropolitan areas like Barcelona. These larger centres have tended to generate the basis for their own specialization at some time in the past as well as training centres for developing the qualified human capital required to bring about their transformation.

The geographical peculiarities of the municipality of Lleida

Lleida is the capital of the province of the same name and also of the comarca (local district) of Segria. The city has a population of 131,731 and its area of influence includes a total population of over 350,000 people.

Lleida is the most important population centre and economic area in inland Catalonia. Its economy is mainly based on the food industry, agriculture and services.

The municipality of Lleida extends across a total area of 211.71 km2. A significant percentage of its population resides outside the city itself and is scattered across a neighbouring rural area, living in “torres” (detached houses in the country), on farms and other agricultural exploitations, and in hamlets and other minor population nuclei.

This demographic distribution not only influences the structure of the area’s agricultural and livestock farming sector, but also has an important influence on the idiosyncrasies and social fabric of these same areas, and on their character.

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