During previous decades regions are becoming more important objects of planning, not only to strengthen the region but also to support the individual cities within the region. However, the regions’ significance and focus in planning differ from case to case. In a global context, major metropolitan regions (e.g. London, Shanghai, New York, Singapore, and Dubai) are competing with each other in creating favourable conditions for business and industries. On the other hand, regional development is often discussed at the European and national level, as part of a strategy to counteract the impacts of depopulation, unemployment and the lack of services in rural areas.
Competitive regions consist normally of one or more cities, which with collaborative efforts are able to offer an attractive environment for living and economic activities. Through the integration of culture, education and retail, and by effective transportation networks, these regions cater diversified services for their residents and generate synergies which can attract new investments to the region. However, being successful at the regional level also requires achievements at the local level to create living conditions that allow sustainable socio-ecological development.