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The European Commission through DG Regional Policy released a report on the European Urban Audit, a study carried out every three years on comparable information on urban areas. The study is coordinated by Eurostat and member states’ national statistical offices and identifies the so-called knowledge hubs across Europe. Knowledge hubs are different from other cities because of their size (they have an average population of 1.3 million in the core city) and are impressive economic performers. They are key players in the global economy, positioned above the national urban hierarchy and in the forefront of international industry, business and financial services.
Around 450 variables were collected and a total of 258 European cities were analysed. The cities identified as knowledge hubs are: Amsterdam; Barcelona; Cologne; Copenhagen; Dublin; Dusseldorf; Edinburgh; Frankfurt; Hamburg; Helsinki; London; Lyon; Munich; Milan and Stockholm. London and Edinburgh lead all 258 cities (from an education stand point), with 42.4 percent of their residents educated to a higher degree level. The criteria for choosing these 15 cities were: size, economic structure, economic performance and drivers of competitiveness. The indicators used are: social and economic aspects, civic involvement, training and education, environment, travel and transport, information society, culture and recreation.
In terms of higher education, the study concluded that higher education qualifications are much more frequently held by inhabitants of cities than elsewhere. Richard Florida in his book The Rise of the Creative Class asserts that metropolitan regions with high concentrations of high-tech workers, artists, musicians, gay men, and a group he describes as "high bohemians", correlate with a higher level of economic development. The book led to some controversy about the city and economic development. The current report is very sober and uses a veritable plethora of indicators. It can be found in the link below and we recommend it to anybody who wants to understand the development of modern Europe.