Places—regions, cities, towns and local communities—can get “left behind” economically and socially for a whole variety of reasons. Shifts in international competition, loss of exports, changes in domestic consumer demand, major technological developments or substantial changes in economic policy may all undermine or render obsolete certain of a place’s industries, firms and local labour skills. In the United States, for example, while inequalities in per capita incomes at both the state level and between metropolitan areas had been narrowing between the 1950s and 1970s, they began to widen from the 1980s onwards. In Europe, too, the 1980s marked a turning point between convergence and divergence.4This geographical differentiation reveals a sharpening pattern of spatial inequality. In the United States, the increasing disparity in cumulative growth across the urban system has attracted considerable discussion.