The November/December 2014 issue of the journal, Regions & Cities of Europe, published by the Committee of the Regions, examines the decentralization of power to the regions.
This report examines current trends in the northern construction market, how it compares to the UK and the South East, and its prospects for the future.
The Centre for Cities and the Deputy Prime Minister’s Office hosted the Northern Futures Summit, marking the end of a period of public consultation to gather ideas on how best to stimulate economic growth in the north of England. The event brought together over 300 delegates and a broad range of speakers, from local and national politicians and policy-makers, to local students, business representatives and leading academics. Above the line-up of speakers, however, it was the deliberative and inclusive format of the event that really made the day unique. The proposers of the most bold and innovative initiatives put forward during the consultation process were invited to deliver their pitches to a series of panels, which then debated and discussed each idea on its merits. All delegates were then able to vote for their favourite suggestions, with results shown in real-time in the room. A video of the event is available online.
The All Party Urban Development Group (APUDG) has published a report which argues that the next government should further extend devolutionary powers to the UK’s cities and regions to promote growth and close the UK’s north-south divide. Consideration should be given to simplifying the planning process within enterprise zones through the introduction of measures similar to Simplified Planning Zones.
The Centre for Cities has published a paper which sets out a detailed approach to devolution to city regions and city-county areas in England to enable them to drive local and national economic growth.
This publication looks in detail at the current evidence on regional differences within the UK economy, and discusses policy proposals which might contribute to a more balanced pattern of economic growth.
Over the past year, the City Growth Commission has played an important role in raising awareness of the important and undervalued role the UK’s cities can and should play in national economic growth. This report further advances the case for affording greater levels of funding, autonomy and flexibility to enable all cities to respond to their unique challenges and realise their true potential.
The role of universities in the regional creative economies of the UK: Hidden protagonists and the challenge of knowledge transfer
Since the 1970s policies have been developed across Europe to evolve this institutional landscape. Since the late 1990s, regional and urban development strategies have also sought to harness the growth potential of the cultural and creative industries to regional and urban economic development. However, whilst the regional and urban planning literature has examined the growth-promoting potential of universities very closely, their possible role in relation to regional and urban creative economic development has received less attention. This paper aims to begin addressing this gap by interrogating the relationship between universities and the regional creative economy using, as a starting point, a model of analysis suggested by the Triple-Helix theoretical framework. The paper finds that whilst universities possess often long and hidden associations with regional and urban creative activities—as hidden protagonists—there are important institutional and professional challenges in the possibility of their developing an explicit and sustainable role as new actors in the regional and urban creative economies. The paper identifies the nature of these challenges with a view to developing a clearer understanding of the system, policy and institutional realities that underpin the often complex dynamics of knowledge creation−practice relationships found in arts and humanities disciplines. This article can be found in the latest issue of European Planning Studies (Vol.22, Issue 12, 2014)
Uneven spatial development has long been a characteristic feature of the economic and social fabric of the UK. The north–south divide has become something of a hegemonic narrative in the UK and this has served to mask an ‘archipelago’ of variegated spatial development in housing and locality conditions at sub-national and sub-regional scales. This paper explores the changing nature of sub-regional housing and locality conditions across the UK and evidence is found of significant spatial variation in the way that places responded to the effects of the most recent economic recession. It is available in the latest issue of Regional Studies (Vol.48 Issue 11, 2014).
This report from the Centre for Cities finds that in order to support agglomeration in our largest cities, the Department for Transport should look to improve transport links within the largest cities outside London to reduce the costs of commuting into their city centres. Public transport is much less well developed in all of these cities, and given the shifting geography of jobs, this should be seen as a priority by both local and national government.