Monday 18 January 2010

UK Cities: From recession to recovery

Centre for Cities has published its Cities Outlook 2010. As in previous years, the report provides plenty of interesting facts and figures and there is much to agree with:
  • Recession has reinforced disparities between places
  • Places with lots of skilled workers have been least hard hit and will bounce back quickest

More open to debate are the assertions that:

  • Giving cities greater flexibility will allow them to respond to local conditions (probably true) and drive growth (highly debatable)
  • The next government needs to fix the basics - like improving schools (probably true) and public transport (debatable) - so they can attract new business and jobs (highly debatable)

Sorry to be skeptical, but I remain unconvinced that devolution plus fixing the basics will be sufficient to reverse long term decline. We need to face that reality if we are to develop urban policy which stops failing people who happen to live in "failing places".

BTW - a minor niggle, but this picture does not show regional growth rate differences are widening: