The grounded city: from competitivity to the foundational economy

Ewald Engelen, Julie Froud, Sukhdev Johal, Angelo Salento, Karel Williams

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

524 Downloads (Pure)


This article develops the concept of the ‘grounded city’ to argue that the development of cities can be analysed through specific accelerators and stabilisers. The city is grounded through its relation with a hinterland, which provides resources and revenues and thus governs city development. In modern cities, property development is an increasingly important accelerator, which shapes what is built and where. At the same time, the foundational economy—which meets the everyday needs of citizens for housing, utilities, food and mobility—is a stabiliser. It suggests a focus on controllable internal accelerators and stabilisers to improve the quality of foundational provision, rather than a view of cities competing for resources to pursue success through agglomeration.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)407–423
JournalCambridge Journal of Regions, Economy and Society
Issue number3
Early online date30 Aug 2017
Publication statusPublished - 30 Aug 2017


  • foundational economy
  • grounded city
  • hinterland
  • city development


Dive into the research topics of 'The grounded city: from competitivity to the foundational economy'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this