In this episode of City Talks, Andrew Carter is joined by Neil O’Brien, who is MP for Harborough, Oadby and Wigston in Leicestershire, and former special advisor to Prime Minister Theresa May as well as to the erstwhile chancellor George Osborne. He is also the author of many reports, the latest one being Firing on all cylinders: Building a strong economy from the bottom up, which was published by Onward, the advisory board of which he is a member.

This report, which forms the basis of this episode, examines the actions that need to be taken to make all parts of the country and all groups in society share in the benefits of the growing economy – in short, a ‘trickle-up’ plan. It also proposes an approach to spurring growth which is pro-business, but in a way which aims to help the neediest places help themselves to move forward.

The discussion looks at what has and hasn’t worked historically in terms of stimulating growth, particularly in places outside London, as well as rebalancing the economy.

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

More than 90% of the world's population is exposed to air pollutant concentrations exceeding World Health Organisation guideline levels, while globally four-and-a-half million people died prematurely from particle and ozone pollution in 2015.  While air pollution is a problem in both rural and urban areas, particular types of pollutants tend to be more concentrated in cities. And as more and more of the population shifts to living in cities, an ever greater proportion of people are living closer to pollution sources.

Why don’t we understand air pollution better? And how have we allowed it to build to the crisis we have today?

To answer these questions, Andrew Carter is joined by Gary Fuller who is Senior Lecturer in Air Pollution Measurement at Kings College London, a leader of the London Air Quality Network and the author of a brilliant, if somewhat scary, book entitled The Invisible Killer: The Rising Global Threat of Air Pollution - and How We Can Fight Back

Dr. Fuller challenges common misconceptions around what creates air pollution and how it's measured and argues that to change the future of our planet and collective global health, both city-level and national government action are essential.

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 David Blanchflower, a well-known British-American economist, a former member of the Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee (his time there coinciding with the Great Recession) and economics professor at Dartmouth College, New Hampshire. His new book, entitled Not Working: Where Have All the Good Jobs Gone?, is the subject of this podcast.

Policymakers, central banks and some economists around the world assume that the current low unemployment figures are proof that the labour market is doing well. However, in this discussion, Professor Blanchflower points out that, despite the rosy employment indicators, many workers are in fact under-employed or have simply given up trying to find a well-paying job. He notes that wage growth has not returned to pre-recession levels and links the unchecked rise of right-wing populism in both Europe and America to the fact that many people have not been able to get the quality of jobs that their fathers and grandfathers did before them.

‘Good jobs’ is a very live issue in Britain in particular, where low-quality employment has risen but real earnings haven’t climbed, and, as Professor Blanchflower highlights, are in fact 6% lower than they were in 2008.

Among potential policy solutions, he demonstrates that raising the minimum wage (another topical issue in Britain) has positive effects on both employment and productivity.

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

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.


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