The Dutch city of Delft is proving that collaboration between the local council, universities and businesses can help small cities keep one step ahead, as Jennifer Tankard explains. Delft has a population of just under 100,000 and lies in the shadow of the Netherlands administrative centre, The Hague, and Rotterdam, one of the largest ports in the world. The city could easily become a dormitory town, relying on its history, its famous blue pottery, its links to Vermeer and its scenic canals to generate jobs in tourism while skilled workers commute out for employment. Instead, it has decided to build on other local strengths to remain economically sustainable and competitive. Its skills – in particular its extensive experience of developing and maintaining flood defences – has led it to set out an ambitious strategy of making Delft a centre of excellence for knowledge and innovation. As part of this strategy … (To read the full article, subscribe below)

Jennifer Tankard is director of advocacy and research at the Community Development Foundation and director of the Community Investment Coalition