Monday 6 June 2011

(Super) City Rankings

I was away at the end of last week so I missed the HSBC report on super cities that will lead the UK manufacturing resurgence: Bristol and Glasgow, Newcastle, London, Leeds, Brighton and Liverpool.

I don't think these kind of rankings are very useful for policy. I may be cynical, but I think the rule when constructing these things is to pick a few places that are safe(ish) bets (London and Bristol on the basis of current performance, Leeds and Brighton on the basis of trends) then a couple of random(ish) ones to generate interest (Liverpool and Newcastle).

I assume a process like this lead to McKinsey Global Institute predicting Edinburgh, Durham and Belfast as having higher GDP per capita than New York and London by 2025 (see table 1 in the executive summary).

As for policy, unless large inflexible investments have to be made, then I think it is far better to remain spatially and sectorially neutral.