European Investment Bank assigned Metropolitan Research Institute with the preparation of a study on the urban development of Győr, a thriving economic hub in Western Hungary – at the same time, a “secondary city” in the vicinity of three dynamic metropolises, which has to compete for workforce and other resources. The study, elaborated by senior experts Iván Tosics and Éva Gerőházi, also takesi nto account EIB’s role in the city’s outcomes.
Located between three European capital cities, Vienna, Bratislava, and Budapest, Győr has to work hard to attract investment and jobs. The Hungarian city has set itself up to attract innovative companies, creating new urban values such as education-based innovation, a high-quality urban environment and a lively cultural sphere. Yet the three capital cities attract most of the development potential in the area, making it difficult for smaller cities such as Győr to attract the headquarters of international companies or to develop large-scale new urban areas.
Győr’s response has been to focus on “smart specialisation” in line with its broader innovation-based development concept. The city’s industrial heritage helped attract investment, especially a major AUDI plant, which has become a definitive player in the local urban economy. Yet this runs the risk of resulting in a monofunctional local economic development direction, and make the city vulnerable to economic cycles. To prevent this, the municipality has long been focusing on diversifying the local economy, relying among others on EU funding (for which national co-financing was advanced in the form of an EIB loan). A flagship pole in these diversification effort is the cooperation between Széchenyi István University, the public sector, and market actors. This is manifested in the Center for University-Industry Cooperation, permitting the implementation of the future Technopolis vision. In addition, EU funding supported the improvement of urban environment and alleviating spatial segregation in Győr.
The study authored by Tosics and Gerőházi is available in English, German, French, and Hungarian on EIB’s website.