Leaves in the wind? Local policies of small and medium-sized towns in metropolitan regions

Kaufmann, David; Meili, Rahel (2019). Leaves in the wind? Local policies of small and medium-sized towns in metropolitan regions European Planning Studies, 27(1), pp. 21-41. Taylor & Francis 10.1080/09654313.2018.1535576

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Small and medium-sized towns (SMSTs) contribute to the economic performance of whole metropolitan regions. However, the variety of factors that influence the economic development of SMSTs is understudied and the impact and relevance of their local policies are especially unclear. This article studies local policies of SMSTs within the metropolitan region of Zurich (Switzerland) and the impact of local policies on the economic specialization of these towns. Switzerland serves as an interesting context in which to study SMSTs, particularly those in metropolitan regions, due to their constant growth and the high local autonomy enjoyed by Swiss local governments. Using a multiple case study design that relies on a pair-wise comparison, we find that the economic specialization of SMSTs can mainly be explained by factors that are exogenous to local policy-making such as the town’s location and its connectivity. Land-use strategies are the only local policies that can influence the economic specialization of SMSTs. Therefore, SMSTs are well advised to invest in professionalized land-use departments and to coordinate their land-use strategies with neighbouring jurisdictions.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


Business School


Kaufmann, David and
Meili, Rahel0000-0002-1185-2781




Taylor & Francis




Rahel Meili

Date Deposited:

29 Mar 2022 14:36

Last Modified:

29 Mar 2022 21:46

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