A priority for all cities is offering quality, affordable housing which is well connected to jobs, shops and services. However, the housing and transport challenges that different places face vary significantly across the UK. Here, we have collected examples of how cities in the UK and abroad are driving economic growth and prosperity by tackling their distinctive housing and transport needs.
These case studies reflect how cities have sought to make improvements to the different challenges and present their self-reported outcomes. These are intended to help cities to approach their own similar policy challenges. To find out more about the specific impact on local economic growth for similar programmes and interventions, the What Works Centre for Local Economic Growth offers a number of rigorous policy evaluations, and policy design guides in areas Area-Based Initiatives, Public Realm, Transport and Estate Renewal.
City centres play a fundamental role in the economies of UK cities. Businesses gain from the proximity, or agglomeration, that city centres offer through sharing infrastructure, the ability to recruit from a larger labour pool and the ability to share ideas and information, known as ‘knowledge spillovers’. Cities can boost the attractiveness of their city centre in many ways, such as relocating employment to the centre, attracting firms through incentives, and providing good transport and infrastructure. See case studies.
There is now broad consensus that the UK needs to build more homes. But the need for new homes is far more acute in some places than in others, and housing in Britain’s most economically successful cities tends to be the least affordable. Our case studies show how cities are addressing these challenges by increasing the density of existing communities, evaluating land on its merits rather than its existing designation, and working with neighbourhood authorities. See case studies.
Effective transport is vital for the economy. Good transport connections have direct benefits to people, businesses, the environment, and the economy overall. They can support innovation, help people access jobs, shape greener and healthier places, and attract new firms. Our case studies show how having more control over transport can help cities make the most of their infrastructure by reducing uncertainty and short timescale of funding, improving the bus system, and ensuring integration of transport, economic development and infrastructure. See case studies.
UK cities need to provide public services more efficiently while at the same time supporting sustainable and long term economic growth. The best way to do so is by becoming ‘smart’. This generally means using new technologies and data to improve service delivery and address various economic, social and environmental challenges. Cities can deliver a smart agenda by integrating economic development and public services delivery, focusing on projects that are practical, achievable and financially viable and consulting with citizens and businesses on their needs. See case studies.
A low carbon economy can offer financial as well as environmental returns to cities. Despite lacking a clear mandate and operating in difficult financial and policy contexts, UK cities are taking action to support economic growth while reducing their carbon emissions. This can be done in many different ways: by pursuing jobs growth in low carbon sectors, working with businesses to reduce energy demand and consumption, providing finance and incentives, and promoting regulations. See case studies.