A brighter future for our towns and cities
In May 2015, 'A brighter future for our towns and cities, A report from the Commission for Underperforming Towns and Cities' was published by the Institute of Economic Development (IED). It was the result of a collaboration with the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI), the Association of Town and City Management (ATCM) and the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS).
The aim of the Commission was to draw together diverse ideas for interventions to improve the sustainable economic performance of larger towns and smaller cities. The report is based on a series of roundtable discussions with practitioners working in regeneration and economic development.
In the foreword, the report’s author, Keith Burge, Chair of the Institute of Economic Development between 2010 and 2014 said, “This is the first time that leading professional bodies working in economic development and regeneration have offered collective views from people who work in and care about underperforming towns and cities. We came together for two reasons: firstly we believe that these places should be supported to realise their potential and not abandoned; and secondly because no-one else is doing this.”
The report suggests that some of our cities are failing to realise their economic potential and that there are a number of practical steps that local authorities, Local Enterprise Partnerships and government could take to improve performance.
The report provides 16 recommendations, including:
- Strategic development plans for underperforming places.
- Bold and innovative development proposals.
- Clear devolution where appropriate.
- Making economic development a statutory function.
- Exploring transport and ICT infrastructure projects.
- Overhauling business rates.
- Tackling poor leadership head on.
- Supporting higher education.
- Empowering and resourcing Local Enterprise Partnerships to manage positive change.
Trudi Elliott, RTPI Chief Executive, said: “It is essential that we do not abandon our underperforming towns and cities, and in collaboration with other professional bodies, we have outlined practical measures for boosting local economies. We call on the new government to encourage positive regeneration outcomes through investment in local planning, the incentivisation of cooperation between local authorities, and better coordination of policies for housing, infrastructure and service delivery.” Ref RTPI collaborates on report to revive underperforming towns, 14 May 2015.
Shanaaz Carroll, Interim ATCM CEO said: “In 2013, an article in The Economist suggested that Britain’s consistently underperforming towns and cities did not merit any further interventions, with residents relocated to more successful areas. We fundamentally disagree with this approach and realised the strong need to combine our organisations and their huge wealth of knowledge to deliver a report that is easy to understand and will provide the basis for towns and cities to ensure they are achieving their full economic and social potential.” Ref IED, A brighter future for our towns and cities - new report launched.
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