Which are the most attractive European cities, where are they located and what are the causes or factors of their attractiveness? Christian Vandermotten, who has worked for many years on these questions at the IGEAT (Institut de gestion de l'environnement et d'aménagement du territoire), offers various elements of a response based on the international comparison studies carried out by that institution.
Apart from comparisons of GDP per inhabitant, he bases himself on two indices: the functional index and the internationalization index, which make it possible to appreciate the concrete assets possessed by a city or urban area (connectivity, the presence of company headquarters, knowledge economy, tourism, heritage etc.). This makes it possible to draw up a classification of the most internationalized and most functional cities, in which some large metropolitan districts (London, Paris, Rome, Madrid, Amsterdam, Brussels, Munich etc.) come out top, together with a number of Central or Eastern European capitals (Prague, Budapest, Warsaw etc.), though two of the capitals that "missed out" on the benefits of the opening-up to Eastern Europe (Berlin and Vienna) are not among their number and a certain number of other losers are also absent from the list, these being mainly cities and conurbations with longstanding industrial traditions (Manchester, Liverpool, Lille, the Ruhr etc.). The author does, however, stress that the newfound prosperity of the great European metropolises should not lead us to forget the social challenges that still have to be faced (integration of immigrant populations, governance, mobility etc.). And he concludes with remarks on the various elements that make for potential urban success in the economic, social, heritage, environmental and other fields.