What regional inequalities do different parts of the UK face? And which policies should the Government implement to bridge these divides and level up the country?

Over the next few weeks City Minutes will explore these questions in a mini-series on how to level up the UK.

In the first episode, host Andrew Carter speaks with Centre for Cities’ Senior Analyst and skills expert Elena Magrini to discuss the education-related challenges that people in different cities and towns face, and the policy interventions needed to support them.

Find all of our work on how to level up the UK here.

Hosting an iconic sporting event such as the Olympic or Commonwealth Games can help to put a city on the international stage, but do they have a positive long-term economic effect?

For this episode of City Minutes, Senior Analyst Anthony Breach joins Chief Executive Andrew Carter to debate whether big sporting events can make a long-term difference to cities' economies and discuss what policymakers should consider to ensure that these events deliver real long-term economic improvements.

Covid-19 has made the job of levelling up, the agenda elevated by the current Government to address the deep geographical inequalities present within the UK, much harder.

The levelling up narrative is made up of many strands and is a concept that has been seen by some as complex, undefined and ambiguous, prompting the question what does the future hold for the agenda over the next twelve months and beyond?

For this episode of City Talks, Andrew Carter is joined by Will Jennings, Professor of Political Science and Public Policy at the University of Southampton and co-founder of Centre for Towns, who speaks about the realignment of British politics; the political value of levelling up; the five contradictions it imposes; and wider conversations surrounding the agenda within the framework of his latest work.

“The Politics of Levelling Up” is co-authored by Will Jennings, Laurence McKay and Gerry Stoker and published in The Political Quarterly.

This episode is part of the Centre for Cities City Talks podcast series. Please rate, review and share the episode if you enjoyed it.

Last week eight metro mayors were elected to govern England's largest city regions. While the Conservatives cemented their position in parts of the former Red Wall, Labour made gains elsewhere, including in Southern England.

What do these results mean for people living in cities, and how will the Government respond to several new Labour metro mayors? To discuss these questions Andrew Carter is joined by Centre for Cities' Senior Analyst Anthony Breach.

On 6 May, around 20 million people in England will be voting to elect a metro mayor to lead on making important decisions at the local level in their city region. While the position of Mayor of London has existed since 2000, this year, Greater Manchester voters will be electing their metro mayor for the second time round and it will be the first election of its kind taking place in West Yorkshire.

What’s the current state of play in these three places? Which candidates are making waves? What challenges will they face post-election?

For this episode of City Talks, Andrew Carter is joined by Francesca Gains, Professor of Public Policy and Academic Co-Director of Policy@Manchester at the University of Manchester, Rob Parsons, Political Editor of The Yorkshire Post and Richard Brown, Interim Director at Centre for London, to get a sense of the state of play in Greater Manchester, West Yorkshire and London.

As the UK’s Covid-19 vaccination programme progresses policy makers should be planning how to repair the economic damage done by the pandemic and build back better.

Centre for Cities’ latest research, in partnership with HSBC UK, examines how and where jobs were created following the last Financial Crisis to inform thinking about what is likely to happen post-Covid-19.

It found that the jobs crisis is bigger than realised and the economy will need to create almost ten million new private sector jobs just to reverse the damage done in the past year.

To discuss the paper in more detail, Andrew Carter is joined by Centre for Cities’ Senior Analyst Kathrin Enenkel and Researcher Tom Sells.

America’s Legacy Cities, which include the likes of Akron, Cleveland and Detroit, grew fast and large in the first half of the 20th Century, then underwent social and economic decline post World War II. These industrial cities share a common history, not dissimilar to the industrial cities of the North of England.

For this episode of City Talks, Chief Executive Andrew Carter is joined by Jason Segedy, Director of Planning and Urban Development for the City of Akron, Ohio and the Economic Innovation Group’s (EIG) first Legacy Cities Fellow, and Kenan Fikri, Director of Research and Policy Development at the EIG.

Together, they discuss the origins and aims of the Legacy Cities Programme, providing insight into the shared histories of America’s industrial heartland, as well as debating policy responses to the challenges and opportunities that these cities currently face.

The Economic Innovation Group’s Legacy Cities Series is a collection of research and commentary on America’s older industrial cities.

Kenan is the co-author of the Economic Innovation Group’s briefing Uplifting America’s Left Behind Places: A Roadmap for a More Equitable Economy.

Jason also writes a personal blog: Notes from the Underground.

This episode is part of the Centre for Cities City Talks series. Please rate, review and share the episode if you enjoyed it.

Coined in Paris, the idea of the 15 minute city is that people can access all the services and amenities they need in their daily lives within a 15 minute journey by foot or by bike. It’s a concept that has grown in popularity over the last 12 months in light of the Covid-19 pandemic and shifts towards remote working.

Will Covid-19 make the 15 minute city a reality?

For this episode of City Minutes, Director of Policy and Research Paul Swinney joins Andrew Carter to unpack the merits and challenges posed by the idea of the 15-minute city, which he also discusses in his latest blog.

For several years’ governments have promised an Industrial Strategy to address the UK’s sluggish productivity, address regional inequality and prepare the UK economy for its post-Brexit future. However, no government has yet provided a comprehensive proposal on how this would transform the economy and create a more prosperous country.

To discuss the role of the Government in economic planning, how it develops industrial strategy, and the challenges that it faces Andrew Carter is joined by Giles Wilkes, Senior Fellow at the Institute for Government, Specialist Partner at Flint Global and former Special Advisor to Theresa May and Vince Cable.

Giles is the author of the Institute for Government’s new paper How to design a successful industrial strategy


The Prime Minister has promised to ‘level up’ the national economy – that was a big challenge even before the pandemic, but how has Covid changed that task?

After the most challenging of years, Cities Outlook 2021 assesses the scale of the impact of the Covid pandemic on urban life, on the Government’s promise to level up the economy, and the prospects for the future.

Andrew Carter is joined by Senior Analyst Elena Magrini to discuss the different challenges that cities and towns up and down the country face, and what places should do to address the short term challenge of Covid and the longer-term task of levelling up.

Centre for Cities
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