Lessons from the US on Mayors

Alexandra Jones speaks to Dr Benjamin Barber and Mayor Jorge Elorza about the theory and practice of mayoral government.

Podcast published on 8 September 2016

With new mayors of major English city regions on the horizon, Alexandra Jones finds out about how the institution works in the US and what lessons can be drawn and applied in the UK. In the first part she speaks to Dr Benjamin Barber, author of If Mayors Ruled The World and convener of the Global Parliament of Mayors (which has its inaugural meeting in the Hague this weekend). The conversation touches on the need for a change of attitude on the part of central government towards cities, how the mayoral institution encourages pragmatism, and what Bernie Sanders was like as Mayor of Burlington in Vermont.

In the second part, Alexandra speaks to Jorge Elorza, Mayor of Providence in Rhode Island, about how he’s trying to reinvent the city’s post-industrial economy and the kinds of qualities successful mayors have. The conversation touches on how to reform the way local government can raise revenue, why he is uninterested in ideological debate, and the need for mayors to have strong executive powers and be bold in their approach to tacking the challenges faced by their cities.

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