Urban and Regional Governance
Urban and regional areas are facing pressures for transformation on two fronts. Cities and regions must translate, adopt and invent new ways of building knowledge economies and tackle the challenges associated with climate change and sustainability.
Yet questions relating to the governance of the English regions remain open. The gap between the rich and poor regions has widened and disparities continue between cities at the top and bottom of socio-economic league tables.
Addressing these challenges therefore requires greater attention be given to effective policy-making between national and sub-national actors and within cities and regions.
Our work in this area has focused on the effective formulation of sub-national policy and the gap between frameworks for and in action; that is, between policy conception and formulation and subsequent delivery and implementation.
A review of central policy-making processes in relation to Elected Regional Assemblies and placements in Whitehall have revealed a series of ad hoc mechanisms for including sub-national views in the formulation of policy.
Information and intelligence is often generated from emblematic or exemplar localities, which often tend to be spatially closer to Whitehall. Government departments have different ways of seeing cities as either active, visible or invisible.
SURF’s work has been critical in understanding the hierarchies in the positions and capacities of different places. We have examined how new central-regional relationship can act to enshrine, rather than disrupt, existing hierarchies or inequalities. Novel responses can lead to the formation of new hierarchies, as certain cities are capable of mobilising resources to guarantee their own ecological security or knowledge-based futures.
To move from the translation of national priorities to the transformation of urban futures, flexible forms of governance and multi-sector partnerships are critical, along with an understanding of the roles of active intermediaries in producing effective outcomes. Learning from elsewhere through the identification of context-sensitive lessons, rather than the imposition of different ‘models’, is a particular theme.
More systematic efforts are needed to incorporate different local knowledges into the design and implementation of policy for sub-national socio-economic development. The role of sub-national agencies themselves is also at stake here to move from information to intelligence in the joint formulation of effective policies.
- Strategic Role of Government Offices
- From Information to Intelligence
- Innovative Urban Environments
- Realising the Potential of Science Cities
- Framework for City-Regions
- Elected Regional Assemblies
Click here to see all Active Projects.
- ‘Unmaking’ England? Policy and Infrastructure in the Production of New State Spaces, SURF and CSRC, 15th – 16th January 2009
- Unmaking England Policy Panel Debate, SURF Centre, 15th January 2009
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- Elected Regional Assemblies: Lessons for Better Policy Making (2009): Book Chapter.
- Views from the Centre: Strategic Implications for Government Office North West (2008): Research Report.
- City Futures: Views from the Centre (2003): Journal Article.
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