British Cities are often described as lacking the crucial powers required to achieve self-determination and to break free from path dependent cycles of decline or under-achievement. They are fiscally weak, ‘under-boundaried’, and they lack executive leadership to drive change. So they say. The prognosis is that our cities should be more like the German cities, US cities, or, of course, Swiss Cities, Singapore, Melbourne, Vancouver, and almost any Scandanavian City you can name.
But this cannot be the whole story.
What are British Cities good at? Is there a way to reflect what UK cities do well to find the core of competence and effectiveness that is sound, so that this can be built and developed? Is what British cities are good at useful for the rest of the world? Where and why?
Greg Clark is Senior Fellow, ULI Europe, Middle East, Africa, and India, a not for profit institute dedicated to the responsible and sustainable use of urban land with 50,000 members world-wide.