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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.

Twenty years ago, London became the first city in the UK to establish a directly elected mayor, marking the beginning of two decades of local government transformation. Since then the three Mayors of London have shaped the capital, and set a precedent for the creation of similar positions in other English cities.

To discuss the office of Mayor of London – its origins, powers, limitations and future – Andrew Carter is joined by Professor Tony Travers, Visiting Professor in LSE Department of Government, Director of LSE London and co-author of London's Mayor at 20: Governing a Global City in the 21st Century.

The pandemic has hit the UK's biggest cities hardest. In Newcastle's centre, overall footfall is currently at 43 per cent of what it was before Covid. This recovered to only 80 per cent when restrictions were relaxed over the summer — mainly because those who could do so continued to work from home.

This week, Andrew Carter is joined by Pat Ritchie, Chief Executive of Newcastle City Council, Chair of Core Cities Chief Executives Group and Chair of the Government Property Agency.

Pat and Andrew discuss the biggest challenges for Newcastle, including how the city has been impacted by Covid-19 and what the council is doing to respond. They also explore how the future for Newcastle might look in the context of city devolution, levelling up, and building back better. Finally, Pat responds to the Government's announcement on the planning algorithm and reflects on how councils and central government have been working together on Covid.

Covid-19 restrictions have pushed concern about air quality down the political agenda. Many councils that had been planning to introduce measures to reduce air pollution levels in their cities have postponed or cancelled them.

Despite this, after an initial drop in air pollution this year it has since been rising again. As a result, NO2 levels have now hit or exceeded pre-pandemic levels in around 80% of places studied according to new research by Centre for Cities and the Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air.

To discuss this issue in more detail, Andrew Carter is joined by the authors of the new research Centre for Cities’ Valentine Quinio and the Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air’s Hubert Thieriot.

For thousands of years people have been drawn to cities for trade, learning, religion, power and entertainment. From Ancient Uruk and Rome through to modern megacities such as New York and Shanghai, cities have shaped the way people interact and driven human progress forward.

To discuss in more detail how cities have shaped history, bestselling writer and author of a new book Metropolis: A History of the City, Humankind's Greatest Invention, Ben Wilson, joins Andrew Carter for this episode of City Talks.

He argues that with over half the world's population now living in cities, and cosmopolitanism under attack from nationalist sentiment, it has never been more important to understand cities and the role they have played in making us who we are.


At the end of next month, the UK will leave the Brexit transition period and, if a trade deal with the EU is not agreed, will begin trading with the EU on World Trade Organisation terms.

The EU currently is the largest export market for every single city and large town in Britain and so trading under these terms would be damaging to local economies, particularly those in Northern England that are more reliant on trade with the bloc.

For this episode of City Minutes Researcher Tom Sells joins Andrew Carter to discuss his new analysis of the export profiles and key trading partners of Britain’s cities, and what the future could hold for their economies as we exit the transition period.

Business rates are one of the most important taxes for local government, yet our current system has come under huge scrutiny in recent years. The tax has been blamed for the struggles of retailers, the death of the high street and for exacerbating the country’s economic divides.

How should the business rates system be reformed?

For this episode of City Minutes Andrew Carter is joined by Centre for Cities' Senior Analyst Kathrin Enenkel and Researcher Tom Sells to discuss their new work setting out the problems with the current system and how they should be fixed.

Centre for Cities
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