A report said that the next fifteen years were critical for climate change, but structural and technological change, opportunities for greater economic efficiency, and the availability of investment capital meant that countries at all levels of income now had the opportunity to build lasting economic growth at the same time as reducing climate change risks. The report highlighted three particular areas for action (cities, land use, and energy) and proposed a ten-point global action plan.
Source: The Global Commission on the Economy and Climate, Better Growth Better Climate: The new climate economy report – the synthesis report, New Climate Economy
A think-tank report examined the lives of London's modest earners (defined as those earning below average levels, but above the level at which they became entitled to benefits). It said that around one in five households in the city fell into this category, often working in essential jobs but increasingly finding it difficult to remain, owing to the cost of living. The report drew on examples from other countries, and concluded that there was a need to improve living conditions for this group through increasing incomes, reducing the cost of living for households earning between £20,000 and £43,000 (in areas such as housing costs, transport, and childcare), and creating social improvement districts to co-ordinate efforts. A second report provided findings from quantitative analysis that had informed the main report.
Source: Charles Leadbeater, Brell Wilson, and Margarethe Theseira, Hollow Promise: How London fails people on modest incomes and what should be done about it, Centre for London
Source: Margarethe Theseira, Changing Income and Spending Behaviours of London Households, Centre for London
A paper examined the comparative economic performance of the United Kingdom's main cities over thirty years, and how growth paths differed across cities.
Source: Ron Martin, Ben Gardiner, and Peter Tyler, The Evolving Economic Performance of UK Cities: City growth patterns 1981-2011, Foresight, Government Office for Science
A report examined the role of cities in the delivery of European Union cohesion policy. The report outlined the historic urban agenda in policy development, and the enhanced role of cities in the 2014-2020 cohesion policy, presenting a range of case studies that included the city of Leeds, in the north of England.
Source: Christine Hamza, Alexandra Frangenheim, David Charles, and Stephen Miller, The Role of Cities in Cohesion Policy 2014-2020, European Parliament
A report said that globalization and technological change was affecting the nature of jobs available in United Kingdom cities, although there were differences between cities and those in the north were particularly at risk of the growth of low-paid jobs. It called on cities to ensure that they used an appropriate mix of supply side and demand side interventions to respond to the needs of the local labour market, called on the national government to give cities more flexibility over funding, and called for the Low Pay Commission to work with cities where they had a strong case for a city-region wide minimum wage.
Source: Naomi Clayton, Maire Williams, and Anthony Howell, Unequal Opportunity: How jobs are changing in cities, Centre for Cities
A special issue of a journal examined the governance of city regions.
Source: Urban Studies, Volume 51 Issue 11
Links: Table of contents
Notes: Articles included:
Iain Deas, 'The search for territorial fixes in subnational governance: city-regions and the disputed emergence of post-political consensus in Manchester, England'
John Harrison, 'Rethinking city-regionalism as the production of new non-state spatial strategies: the case of Peel Holdings Atlantic Gateway Strategy'
Simon Pemberton and Janice Morphet, 'The rescaling of economic governance: insights into the transitional territories of England'
Mike Coombes, 'From city-region concept to boundaries for governance: the English case'
A paper described the degree of urbanization (DEGURBA) classification, which distinguished three types of areas (densely populated, intermediate, and thinly populated areas), based on the population grid. The paper discussed the benefits of the approach, and described the method and how it was developed.
Source: Lewis Dijkstra and Hugo Poelman, A Harmonised Definition of Cities and Rural Areas: The new degree of urbanisation, European Commission
An article examined the causal relationship between the multi-dimensional concepts of urbanization and socio-economic status in the European Union. The relationship between urbanization and status was positive, meaning that urban areas contained the residences of the elite, such as rich people, those with high levels of educational attainment, and people with high-calibre jobs. No evidence was found that individuals lost socio-economic status as they aged, or that status was higher in capital city regions. The relationship between urbanization and status was relatively stronger for the old working-age cohort and for the non-capital city regions.
Source: Vassilis Tselios, 'Urbanization and socioeconomic status in the European regions: the role of population ageing and capital city regions', European Planning Studies, Volume 22 Issue 9
An article examined a recent 'regeneration' project based in Craigmillar, on the edge of Edinburgh (a city in Scotland), suggesting that the stigmatization of place became part of the rationale for 'regeneration' through gentrification, and that the role of the state in creating the stigma it sought to remove highlighted a major contradiction in urban policy.
Source: Hamish Kallin and Tom Slater, 'Activating territorial stigma: gentrifying marginality on Edinburgh's periphery', Environment and Planning A, Volume 46 Number 6
The government began consultation on proposals to create a new urban development corporation to develop plans for a new garden city at Ebbsfleet, Kent, as announced in the 2014 Budget. The consultation asked for views on matters including the creation of the Ebbsfleet Development Corporation, the area in which it would operate, its planning powers, and the composition of its board. The consultation would close on 6 October 2014.
Source: Ebbsfleet Development Corporation, Department for Communities and Local Government
A series of reports outlined findings from the Foresight Future of Cities project, which looked at the opportunities and challenges facing cities over the next 50 years. The reports covered: what life in cities had been like in the past, and what it could be like in 2065; trends in the size of cities and their age structures at the national, regional and city level, and how useful past trends were for predicting the future of cities; existing urban form and infrastructure in the United Kingdom, and possible future options for the development of existing places and new developments; and the origins, definitions, and uses of the phrase 'future cities', and related terms, how different communities had interpreted 'future cities', and how the discourse around cities could affect how they were designed and built. Comments on the reports were invited, through the project's blog. The project was ongoing.
Source: John Urry, Thomas Birtchnell, Javier Caletrio, and Serena Pollastri, Living in the City, Government Office for Science
Source: Tony Champion, People in Cities: The numbers, Government Office for Science
Source: Katie Williams, Urban Form and Infrastructure: A morphological review, Government Office for Science
Source: Emily Moir, Tim Moonen, and Greg Clark, What Are Future Cities? Origins, meanings and uses, Government Office for Science
An article examined policy strategies in response to urban shrinkage in Europe. Four strategies were identified: (1) trivializing shrinkage; (2) countering shrinkage; (3) accepting shrinkage; and (4) utilizing shrinkage. The article said that accepting shrinkage by improving the quality of life for the city's existing residents was the most suitable and sustainable strategy.
Source: Gert-Jan Hospers, 'Policy responses to urban shrinkage: from growth thinking to civic engagement', European Planning Studies, Volume 22 Issue 7
A report examined the role of cities in addressing poverty and social exclusion. It discussed whether and how it was possible to develop policies and strategies to address such issues, while promoting cities' creativity and economic dynamism and adhering to the principles of 'good urban governance'.
Source: The Inclusive City: Approaches to combat urban poverty and social exclusion in Europe, European Urban Knowledge Network
A report said that individual cities needed the freedom to operate as whole systems, rather than relying upon national government's centralized decisions on infrastructure investment, but also to be able to work together, enabling pan-regional investment. The report made recommendations, including for the prioritization of better connectivity between northern cities, and for a review of competition in the high-speed broadband market.
Source: Connected Cities: The link to growth, RSA City Growth Commission
A new book examined the challenges faced by cities in sustaining their economic position, and how this could be balanced with social progress and environmental improvements. Drawing on evidence from eight European cities, including Manchester in the north of England, the book examined the development of policy at European Union and city level over time, and how the cities saw the link between urban/spatial development policies and sustainable competitiveness.
Source: Leo van den Berg, Jan van der Meer, and Luis Carvalho (eds), Cities as Engines of Sustainable Competitiveness: European urban policy in practice, Ashgate Publications
A think-tank paper examined the development of smart cities through the use of new technologies and data to improve service delivery and address various economic, social and environmental challenges. It said that, although some cities were developing 'smart' plans and projects, the overall implementation of smart technologies was slow, mainly because of a lack of consensus on meaning and method, and because of financial, technical, and institutional barriers within the smart technologies market. The paper explored the reasons behind the slow progress, and considered the challenges to overcome.
Source: Smart Cities, Centre for Cities
A think-tank report considered ways to improve the transport systems in United Kingdom cities. It outlined a range of challenges and recommendations, including for cities: to have greater control over bus services; to have longer term certainty regarding central government funding; to be able to raise money locally to fund local transport improvements; to develop a more co-ordinated approach to funding and management of different modes of transport across city regions, overseen by an Integrated Transport Authority; and for city regions to be given powers similar to Transport for London.
Source: Zach Wilcox, Nada Nohrova, and Elliot Bidgood, Delivering Change: Making transport work for cities, Centre for Cities
An article examined the work of Town Teams – a bottom-up, usually community-led approach to place management in towns in England. The article outlined insights from the projects to date.
Source: Chris Hurst and Martin Blackwell, 'Town Teams, Portas Pilots and the future of the high street', Journal of Urban Regeneration and Renewal, Volume 7 Number 3
An article examined the link between the creative industries and wage and employment growth in United Kingdom travel-to-work areas from 2003 to 2008. It said that the data indicated that creative industries drove both types of growth in other sectors, yet when only urban areas were considered, wages increased but not employment. It concluded that the creative industries may squeeze out declining industries from urban areas.
Source: Neil Lee, 'The creative industries and urban economic growth in the UK', Environment and Planning A, Volume 46 Number 2
The coalition government presented its 2014 Budget statement. National income growth forecasts had been revised upwards from 2.4 per cent to 2.7 per cent in 2014 and from 2.2 per cent to 2.3 per cent in 2015, with forecasts of 2.6 per cent in 2016, 2.6 per cent in 2017 and 2.5 per cent in 2018. The public sector net debt had been revised downwards, to peak at 78.7 per cent of national income in 2015-16 before falling year on year to 2018-19. The main Budget measures included:
Government departments required to find year on year efficiency savings, with cuts of £119 billion in 2015-16;
Welfare cap set at £119.5 billion for 2015-16 with year on year increases to 2018-19 (to be included in the Charter for Budget Responsibility);
Expansion of the Troubled Families programme in 2014-15;
Increase in childcare costs cap to £10,000 per annum per child, against which up to 20 per cent of costs could be claimed by parents, or 85 per cent if parents paid income tax and were on universal credit (this had been previously announced, but was confirmed in the Budget);
ï¿½ Additional early years premium funding for schools (this had been previously announced, but was confirmed in the Budget);
Increase in personal tax allowance to £10,500 from 2015 and increase in National Minimum Wage to £6.50 in October 2014;
ï¿½ New ISA provisions, with an increase in the annual limit to £15,000; new government savings bonds for over 65s; increased limits for Premium Savings Bonds; proposed removal of the requirement for defined contribution pension funds to be converted to annuities; and changes to taxation of pensions (a consultation paper on pensions was published alongside the Budget);
Doubling of the annual investment allowance for companies, changes to export funding, and additional funding for apprenticeships;
Energy-related measures, including: changes to the carbon price support cap; support for carbon capture and storage, oil, and gas initiatives; and compensation for energy costs for energy intensive industries;
Infrastructure measures, including: funding for repairs to flood defences and roads; government guarantee for the Mersey Gateway Bridge; funding via a gain share mechanism for Greater Cambridge transport and infrastructure proposals; and grants for cathedral repairs; and
ï¿½ Housing measures, including: extension of the Help to Buy equity loan scheme to March 2020; loans for smaller developers and a repayable funding scheme for self-build; loan funding for regeneration of large housing estates; and a new garden city at Ebbsfleet, Kent (this had been previously announced, but was confirmed in the Budget).
Source: Budget 2014, HC 1104, HM Treasury, TSO
Links related to Budget: Report | Fiscal outlook | Overview of taxation measures | Speech | Pensions consultation | HMT press release 1 | HM Treasury press release 2 | DCLG press release | Northern Ireland Office press release | Scotland Office press release | Wales Office press release | Welsh Government press release | 4Children press release | Age UK press release | Action for Children press release | Barnardos press release | BCC press release | Childrens Society press release | CPAG press release | CPAG Scotland press release | CIH press release | Fawcett Society press release | Gingerbread press release | IEA press release | IFS analysis | LGA press release 1 | LGA press release 2 | LGA press release 3 | Oxfam press release | Plaid Cymru press release | PwC press release | RCGP press release | Unite press release | BBC report 1 | BBC report 2 | Guardian report 1 | Guardian report 2 | Guardian report 3 | Inside Housing report | Inside Housing report 2 | New Statesman report | Telegraph report
Links related to childcare and pupil premium announcements: Government consultation response | Written ministerial statement | Barnardos press release | Citizens Advice press release | CBI press release | Gingerbread press release | IFS comment | JRF press release | NCT press release | BBC report | Guardian report | New Statesman report | Telegraph report
A report examined the evidence on the connections between cities, economic growth, and poverty in the United Kingdom. It said that economic growth did not always result in a reduction in poverty levels, particularly in the short term, but poverty reduction brought a range of economic and financial benefits. The report said that the quality and quantity of new employment opportunities was critical to poverty reduction, but the impact depended on issues such as the sector in which the jobs arose, the characteristics of the population, and a range of local factors such as transport links. It noted the importance both to growth and to poverty reduction of creating jobs across a range of levels and skills, and said that cities needed to be clearer about who would benefit from local initiatives for growth.
Source: Neil Lee, Paul Sissons, Ceri Hughes, Anne Green, Gaby Atfield, Duncan Adam, and Andres Rodriguez-Pose, Cities, Growth and Poverty: A review of the evidence, Joseph Rowntree Foundation
A collection of essays discussed ideas for the development of the Thames estuary to the east of London, setting out a series of recommendations that included the improvement of transport links, the creation of new Thames crossings, and the development of a new town at Ebbsfleet, as well as consideration of other new town sites.
Source: Andrew Adonis, Ben Rogers, and Sam Sims (eds.), Go East: Unlocking the potential of the Thames estuary, Centre for London
An article examined the differentiated impacts of the post-2008 economic downturn on cities and public services, drawing on findings from a study of the impact on two English core cities: Bristol in the south west; and Liverpool in the north west.
Source: Richard Meegan, Patricia Kennett, Gerwyn Jones, and Jacqui Croft, 'Global economic crisis, austerity and neoliberal urban governance in England', Cambridge Journal of Regions, Economy and Society, Volume 7 Issue 1
A report examined the United Kingdom legislation on new towns and considered the changes needed to make it fit for purpose. It said that new towns would allow for cost-effective and sustainable growth in the housing supply and, while the legislation still in force could be used, it was was in need of modernization to: create transparent legal objectives for Development Corporations; require participation by the public in the design and delivery of the New Town; ensure partnership working with established local authorities; and ensure the timely handover of the New Town's assets, to be held in perpetuity for the benefit of the community.
Source: New Towns Act 2015?, Town and Country Planning Association
A report examined how cities in the United Kingdom and elsewhere addressed environmental challenges alongside their strategies for economic growth. It highlighted the importance of leadership, knowledge, and networks and outlined a range of interventions that could be made at the city level, including support for business, regulation, finance, providing incentives, and changing procurement.
Source: Ed Clarke, Zach Wilcox, and Nada Nohrova, Delivering Change: How cities go low carbon while supporting economic growth, Centre for Cities
A new book examined urban systems and sustainable regional development. The book, compiled in memory of Leo van den Berg, included chapters on cities across Europe and America, on themes covering: urban competitiveness; economic perspectives of metropolitan regions; and sustainable urban and regional development.
Source: Meine Pieter van Dijk, Jan van der Meer, and Jan van der Borg (eds.), From Urban Systems to Sustainable Competitive Metropolitan Regions: Essays in honour of Leo van den Berg, EUR/IHS/Euricur