Published online by Cambridge University Press: 20 January 2022
The British government believes that cities are central to the competitiveness of our economy and we have introduced many policies designed to improve their performance. Yet the concept remains elusive and its determinants are poorly understood.
We know that cities compete. We also know that how well they fare matters for the overall health of the economy. A recent Treasury paper on productivity in the UK has highlighted the strong links that exist between the economic performance of cities and their regions (HM Treasury, 2001, ‘Productivity in the UK: 3 – The regional dimension’, November). We know, too, that the policies implemented by different tiers of government play a significant part in shaping competitiveness. But it is often difficult to judge which policies make a difference and in what ways.
It is, therefore, a great pleasure for me to introduce this volume in which established and younger researchers put forward new ideas on how to assess and encourage the competitiveness of cities. The research provides a wealth of new ideas on how to promote more competitive cities and identifies many innovative ideas for policy makers.
The book draws extensively on a major investment made by the Economic and Social Research Council in its Cities Programme during the past five years. My Department was very happy to support that Programme. I am glad to see its many ideas now emerging. I look forward to a lively debate about the ideas and proposals that the Programme – and this book in particular – have generated.