Small and medium-sized towns (SMTs) have received little attention from both scholars and practitioners in urban and regional development. This research project aims to analyze the economic and political role of SMTs in Switzerland.

Lay summary

Scholars and practitioners have mostly neglected the role of SMTs in the context of spatial development. Yet, recent research demonstrates that for the EU15-nations, small and medium-sized towns have shown higher economic growth rates than the largest cities particularly since 2001 (Dijkstra, Garcilazo, & McCann, 2013). As a result, SMTs may become more important in the future. Consequently, it is necessary to gain more knowledge and information about the characteristics and economic contributions of this type of city. Thus, the main goal of this project is to shed light on socioeconomic aspects, specific roles and functions of SMTs in Switzerland as well as on the success of strategies Swiss SMTs employ to strengthen their position. The project examines the development potential of small and medium-sized towns (SMTs) in Switzerland from an economic geography and political science perspective.

The project integrates economic geography and political science perspectives of SMTs in order to contribute to the emerging scientific and political debates on the role and function of small and medium-sized towns. By outlining the development potential of SMTs in Switzerland and evaluating their locational strategies, current policies can be adapted.