41st Congress of the European Regional Science Association: "European Regional Development Issues in the New Millennium and their Impact on Economic Policy", 29 August - 1 September 2001, Zagreb, Croatia
In this paper, it is argued that large cities can benefit from higher levels of ICT (information and communication technology) adoption among the population. An analytical framework is developed, that enables the analysis, assessment and comparison of urban ICT adoption stimulation policies. In the empirical part, the frame is applied to four types of ICT adoption policies that are pursued in different European cities: The Hague, Eindhoven, Helsinki, and Manchester. It is concluded that adoption policies can be justified for a number of reasons, and may contribute to urban development in several respects. However, in many cases, policies lack effectiveness, because crucial factors that determine ICT adoption are not taken into account. Also, in too many cases, public policies interfere with market initiatives. On the basis of the case studies, the conclusion is drawn that the most effective policies are not only problem driven but also opportunity-based and integrative. That includes infrastructure provision, content development and resource building among low-adoptive groups.