Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Growing Good Cities

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This month Think Tanks Demos and PwC published a report, Good Growth For Cities, which measured the success of cities throughout Britain in terms of economic wellbeing. A list of 10 factors considered important for growth was drawn up after consultation with politicians, businesses and the public. Top of the list were jobs, health and housing. At the bottom were the environment, a sense of a future, and transport.

Not surprisingly the highest ranking cities were in the South with the lowest in the North East.

The recommendations the report makes for improving the ‘good growth’ of cities is a common sense one of looking to local resources and strengths. It suggests the power to make decisions should be devolved from central government and loosened from local politicians. The ideal would be to have an inspiring leader with a clear vision on how the city could be rebranded and competitively positioned to create economic success by engaging with key local stakeholders and businesses. Your city would then be transformed into a ‘smart city’.  

The language the report is written in is that of the business world. Can a city be treated as a business? 

Meanwhile another Think Tank, the Institute for Public Policy Research, has reported on the economic woes of the North. A future conference will discuss such questions as what a successful Northern economy would look like, where will economic growth come from, and how will this be financed. Again decentralisation is given as an answer. Improved transport is also suggested, in particular turning Manchester in the UK’s second international hub airport.

The economic growth of a city and improvement of its citizen’s wellbeing is a difficult problem to solve. Clearly there are still masses of opportunities in waste reuse and recycling that are currently underexploited in Greater Manchester. EMERGE is working to expand this crucial job market by collecting from more from businesses and schools and contributing to the process of manufacturing secondary materials into future products (all the more reason to ‘buy recycled’!). Through our FareShare work, we are also expanding opportunities for food awareness through growing food locally, encouraging healthy eating and ‘love food hate waste’.  

How would you grow and sustain the health of a city? And can you help EMERGE with our mission? Please check us out and contact us via www.emergemanchester.co.uk

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