Bus deregulation promised to give passengers more choice and lower fares but thirty years on it has failed. At a time when more people should be switching from cars to public transport to tackle congestion and air pollution, bus numbers are decreasing in almost every city in the UK outside London. 

Simon Jeffrey, policy officer at the Centre for Cities joins Chief Executive Andrew Carter to set out how metro mayors should begin the process of bringing local bus networks under their control via franchising in order to support economic growth, reduce congestion and improve air quality in cities. 

Background reading: 

Disadvantaged places combine low levels of economic activity with high proportions of vulnerable people that have complex needs to support. The last decade of cuts to local authority budgets has made it harder for councils to effectively support these places with less funding.

It is against this backdrop that the What Works Centres embarked on a project to focus on how the better use of evidence-based policy might help. 

To discuss the issue and findings from the report, Andrew Carter is joined by Meg Kaufman — Project Manager at the What Works Centre for Local Economic Growth, Henry Overman — Director of the What Works Centre for Local Economic Growth, Mike Hawking — Policy and Partnerships Manager at the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, and Eleanor Stringer — Head of Strategy and Policy at the Youth Futures Foundation.

Britain’s jobs miracle has been widely discussed. Most commentators agree that, despite Britain’s economic uncertainty, the labour market remains robust. But go below these national headlines and explore the labour market in different cities across the country and a more complicated picture emerges.

In under ten minutes, Chief Executive Andrew Carter speaks to Analyst Elena Magrini about latest research by the Centre for Cities and the OECD into economic inactivity.

Background reading: 

Since the financial crisis, Britain’s urban areas have seen a self-employment boom. But too many people working for themselves lack access to training — raising concerns about their long-term security and many cities’ future economic strength.

In just ten minutes, Analyst Elena Magrini explains how changes in the labour market and the gig economy are playing out differently across the country and finds that there are a few industries driving self-employment in cities.

Background reading: Self-employment in cities 

Britain's Brexit challenges have pushed important domestic policy debates off the political agenda. Devolution to England's cities stalled as politicians became increasingly detracted by withdrawing Britain from the EU.

At this year's Labour and Conservative party conferences Andrew Carter caught up with senior politicians and figures from the business community to discuss how they want to kick start the devolution agenda in the months ahead.

He spoke to:

  • Jim McMahon MP, Shadow Devolution Minister, about empowering councils, dealing with austerity and Labour's devolution policy.
  • Cllr Abi Brown, Conservative Leader of Stoke on Trent Council, about the city's economic progress, working with the Government and what she wants to see from Boris Johnson on devolution.
  • Chris Fletcher, Director at the Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce, about the impact of Brexit on Manchester, what having a metro mayor has meant for the city region and what the business community wants from candidates in the next mayoral election.  

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

In 2016 Donald Trump became US President despite winning almost 3 million fewer votes than Hillary Clinton.

In this episode of City Talks we talk to award-winning academic Jonathan Rodden, Professor of Political Science at Stanford University and author of the book Why Cities Lose.

He explores the origins of America’s urban-rural political divide and explains how economic geography shapes elections – both in the USA and beyond.

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


Many British high streets face a bleak future as policymakers are failing to identify a clear economic focus to city centre regeneration strategies. But contrary to popular belief, our research has shown that not all city centres are failing.

While cities such as Newport and Wigan struggle, others thrive.  

To discuss why this is, Andrew Carter is joined by Dr Julie Grail – Founder of The BIDs Business and Senior Fellow of the Institute of Place Management; Chris Brown – Founder and Executive Chair of Igloo, and Rebecca McDonald – Analyst at the Centre for Cities

The panel discusses why retail became such a dominant feature of the high street and compares the role of online retail today with the out-of-town shopping centres of the past.

They look at examples from high streets across the UK, and the latest research by the Centre for Cities into the health of high streets, to develop a sustainable future for the British high street. 

In this episode of City Talks, Andrew Carter is joined by Otto Saumarez Smith, Assistant Professor in Architectural History at the University of Warwick, to discuss his book Boom Cities: Architect Planners and the Politics of Radical Urban Renewal in 1960s Britain.

Otto discusses the rapid rise and fall of modernist urban planning in 1960s Britain and charts the transformation of many historic city centres.

He explains the philosophical, political and cultural post-war debates that underpinned these transformations and how they shaped Britain’s cities for years to come.

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

What shape will the UK’s economy, constitution and politics take once the Brexit storm clears? Listen to a recap of our July 2019 City Horizons event, where the Resolution Trust's Gavin Kelly and the University of Bath's Nick Pearce, discussed their major new book, Britain Beyond Brexit.

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

Thirty years ago Liverpool was a city teetering on the brink. Years of economic decline were breaking of the former imperial city’s social and political fabric. The scale of the challenge facing Liverpool was so great that many commentators predicted that it would never recover.

They were wrong.   

To discuss Liverpool’s remarkable social and economic recovery, Andrew Carter is joined by Professor Michael Parkinson, Associate Pro Vice Chancellor for Civic Engagement University of Liverpool and author of Liverpool Beyond the Brink: The Remaking of a Post Imperial City.

Professor Parkinson charts the journey that Liverpool has made since its mid-1980s nadir, explains the measures taken to pull it back from the brink and offers his thoughts on what lessons Liverpool’s regeneration has for other cities.

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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