Fundamental changes in the economy, technology, demography and politics are reshaping the environment for towns and cities in Europe. These changes have induced competition between towns and cities at regional, national and sometimes international scales. Increasingly, cities and towns behave in a logic of competition in a highly dynamic and complex environment (Bramezza, 1996). In such a competitive environment, the policies of local governments need to be more market- oriented with an eye to chances and threats, bearing in mind the city’ s strengths and weaknesses. Cities and towns are waking up to the fact that an entrepreneurial and anticipatory policy is called for to cope with urban and regional competition. In the past two decades, a growing number of European cities and towns have acknowledged that marketing could be a powerful instrument in such a new style of urban management. Cities aspire to become and remain attractive places for (potent ial) residents, businesses and visitors. In this process, cities `invent’ their own marketing strategies, discovering that the marketing of a city or region is not as straightforward as many people think. Our contribution considers one of the main challenges in this respect: the need for organising capacity. What lessons can be drawn up to now?
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