A basic assumption about cities is that they look the way they do because of intentional design decisions made by people or bodies, such as planners and architects. But what if the appearance of cities had less to do with design and more to do with social, cultural, financial and political processes – as well as the way ordinary citizens interact with them?

To debate this question, Andrew Carter is joined by Richard Williams, Professor of Contemporary Visual Culture at the University of Edinburgh and the author of Why Cities Look the Way They Do, which is the subject of this episode of City Talks.

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

Why did cities start to develop around 6,000 years ago? How have they evolved? And why do so many of us choose to live in them?

To answer these questions, Andrew Carter is joined by Monica L Smith, Professor of Anthropology at the University of California, Los Angeles and author of Cities: the First 6,000 Years, which is the subject of this episode.

Some of Professor Smith’s most striking arguments in this podcast include the following:

  • - Other than the accelerated rate of population growth (cities are now doubling in size every 10 or 20 years as opposed to every century), modern cities have a great deal in common with their ancient counterparts.
  • - Many of the drawcards of cities in modern times – such as educational and economic opportunities, social mobility and culture – are the same things that attracted people to cities when they first appeared 6,000 years ago.
  • - The tendency towards hyper-consumption and the accumulation of ‘stuff’ in cities is not modern in origin – every excavated city is full of discarded items. This is down to the producer-consumer dynamic found in cities, which increases the rate of both innovation and consumption.
  • - What makes cities sustainable and resilient, and what makes them keep growing in size, is their ability to draw on a vast hinterland of resources, which means they’re not dependent on any one source to provide city residents with the things they need.

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

In 2017, the Opportunity Zones incentive was established in the USA in order to spur private investment in low-income, ‘left-behind’ areas across the nation. By allowing investors to re-invest their unrealized capital gains into dedicated Opportunity Funds, the incentive aims to connect communities with the capital they need in order to thrive.

Given the significant interest already shown by investors, it is possible that this new tax incentive could attract substantial private capital, which, when paired with thoughtful planning and aligned local leadership, has the potential to engender inclusive, sustained growth in struggling areas.

But how exactly does the incentive work? And could the UK think about setting up its own version?

To explore these questions, Andrew Carter is joined by Bruce Katz, who is the director of the Nowak Metro Finance lab at Drexel University, former director and co-founder of the Metropolitan Policy Programme at Brookings Institution, author of The New Localism with Jeremy Nowak as well as The Metropolitan Revolution with Jennifer Bradley.

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

We cannot predict the future of cities because they are inherently unpredictable, complex organic systems. However, it is possible to invent the future of cities. This is the core argument made by Michael Batty, Bartlett Professor of Planning at University College London, in his latest book, Inventing Future Cities.

In this episode of City Talks, Professor Batty joins Andrew Carter to discuss how urban invention and reinvention can be brought about in the unpredictable twenty-first century, with a focus on the interplay between data, technology and urban form. 

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

Over the last decade, political parties opposed to EU integration have almost doubled their votes. But where in Europe do people feel the highest levels of discontent about the European Union? What are the place-based factors driving this discontent? And how can policy help address these concerns?

To examine these questions, Andrew Carter is joined by Lewis Dijkstra, who is Head of the Economic Analysis Sector in the Directorate-General for Regional and Urban Policy of the European Commission. He is a co-author, along with colleagues Hugo Poelman and Andrés Rodríguez-Pose, of a paper titled The geography of EU discontent. This paper provides the first comprehensive overview of the anti-EU vote across all 28 member states of the European Union, and is supported by a detailed geographical breakdown. To accompany the paper, an interactive map allows for a detailed visual exploration of the research findings.

This talk reflects the views only of the speakers. The European Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.

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

The full audio of the launch event for Cities Outlook 2019. The event, which was chaired by Andrew Carter, heard from a lively panel consisting of Councillor Nick Forbes, leader of Newcastle City Council, Abi Brown, deputy leader of Stoke-on-Trent City Council and Professor Tony Travers from the London School of Economics. Paul Swinney, from the Centre for Cities, also gave an overview of the facts and findings presented in the report.

This year’s edition of Cities Outlook, the definitive guide to the economic performance of the UK’s 63 biggest cities, provides a timely analysis of the impact a decade of austerity has had on cities across the country. Ahead of this year’s Spending Review, the report offers the Government key recommendations after austerity, focusing on supporting urban economic growth for the benefit of the wider national economy.

Please rate, review and share the podcast if you enjoyed it.

Can differences in the personality traits of citizens explain variations in economic outcomes between cities – beyond the standard wisdom offered by economic geography?

Psychology and economics have historically been considered poles apart, but a belief that fresh insights into phenomena like economic growth can lie in the cross-disciplinary territory between these two fields, has brought them closer together.

For this episode of City Talks, Andrew Carter is joined by Harry Garretsen,  Professor  of International Economics and Business at the University of Groningen and Janka Stoker, Professor of Leadership and Organisational Change at the same university. Along with colleagues, they are the authors of a brilliant and fascinating paper entitled The Relevance of Personality Traits for Economic Geography:  Making Space for Psychological Factors. This paper, which forms a starting point for the podcast discussion, looks at geographically clustered personality traits such as neuroticism and conscientiousness in a sample of 63 different UK cities, and maps these characteristics onto the economic performance of these places.

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

A flurry of assessments of various Brexit deals has been released over the last week or so, each looking at the different impacts that leaving the EU will have on the economy. Only the Government study — EU Exit: Long-term economic analysis —  looked at the geography of the different deals, however, and how they might affect different areas. This in itself reveals something about how we think of the economy.

For this episode of City Talks, Andrew Carter is joined by Centre for Cities colleagues Paul Swinney and Naomi Clayton to discuss Brexit and its potential or likely impact on cities across the UK.

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

The subject of this episode is the future of local government in UK cities, or to put it another way — is your council about to go bust? Should you be worried? And what should be done about it?

To debate these questions, Andrew Carter is joined by Professor Tony Travers from the London School of Economics and Emily Andrews and Martin Wheatley from the Institute for Government.

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

In this episode of City Talks, Andrew Carter is joined by Amy Goldstein, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist at The Washington Post and author of the widely-acclaimed book Janesville: An American Story. Published in 2017, the book charts what happens to an industrial town in the American heartland when its biggest factory closes and offers important lessons about the impact of economic disruption on communities.

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


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