The Centre for Cities, an independent urban policy research unit, based at the Institute for Public Policy Research, has launched three projects to look at the way cities function. The projects will engage with the people, businesses and leaders of cities and towns, through stakeholder meetings, focus groups and surveys. They will explore the economics of growth and change in urban areas across the UK.The City People project will focus on Dundee, Liverpool and Manchester. It will ask what is driving city centre living in UK city centres. Who lives there, why and how long will they stay? What is the social and economic impact of city-centre living? Is there a catalyst effect on the city as a whole? It will report in December 2005.
City Markets will look at the changing business profile in deprived areas of small cities and large towns, and why certain businesses choose to locate there. It will also examine the Government’s record of promoting enterprise in deprived urban areas. This project will influence the future shape of the Government’s Local Enterprise Growth Initiative. It will report by May 2006 and include case studies from Derby, Doncaster and Sunderland.
City Leadership will examine the existing economic development arrangements in Barnsley, Birmingham and Liverpool and make the case for greater financial devolution to the city level. It will ask what functions should be run at what level? What are the implications of greater financial devolution to cities? How do we make city governance economically effective, and accountable to local needs? And would elected city mayors help achieve better economic outcomes? It will report in March 2006.