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The international comparators project was a major study of 8 cities around the world that have turned themselves around from decline to success story. Each has been resilient in the face of waning industry, utilising policy instruments and collaborative initiative to bounce back. Researchers Susanne Frick Ian Taylor and Paula Prenzel worked with Professors Paul Collier, Philip McCann, Colin Mayer and Vincent Goodstadt to produce 3 case study reports covering 8 cities in 6 countries these case studies offer examples of policy innovation for regional development that are instructive to the UK in its efforts to correct spatial inequality and other countries looking to weather post-industrial decline.

In these individual case study reports, the Western European cities of Lille in France and Bilbao in Spain are separately examined as examples of economic resilience. These case studies look at cluster development, skills formation, funding and governance among the attributable factors for success.