Mayor's Series - London & The Cities

Mayor's Series - London & The Cities

Autumn Festival of Ideas 2014


Please note: This event took place in Oct 2014

Cities are critical for economies and countries. They are where most people live and work, learn and play. But have we got it badly wrong in the UK? Is London an over-dominant capital city with a runaway economy?

With a relatively successful economy, Bristol contributes more to the Government through taxation than it gets back in grants or funding for public services. If Bristol was financially self-sufficient, could it become an independent, self-governing city-state - setting its own taxes and spending money on local priorities rather than national ones?

Cities like Bristol also rely on London. What potential is there of greater devolution to cities - even regional parliaments - following the Scottish independence vote and the plans announced by both the coalition government and the Labour Party? Can cities be made free of central government? What would an ideal relationship with London mean? What can we learn from Manchester and Liverpool and the Great Northern Powerhouse? This series will explore how this relationship works and how things could be made better. It looks at recent government initiatives, what works and what does not; examines arts and media as a case study; and assesses the potential for local economies.

London and The Cities

There's much debate about the imbalance between London and the cities and much talk about rebalancing the economy. How real is this imbalance? What does Bristol lose in this relationship? Join this debate with Henry Overman, Professor of Economic Geography, LSE; Alexandra Jones, Director, Centre for Cities; Tony Travers, Director, LSE London and George Ferguson, Mayor of Bristol.

Speaker biographies:

Henry Overman is Professor of Economic Geography in the Department of Geography and Environment at the London School of Economics, and director of the What Works Centre for Local Economic Growth. He was formerly director of the Spatial Economics Research Centre.

Alexandra Jones has been Chief Executive of the Centre for Cities since summer 2010. Prior to this, she led Ideopolis - the Cities team at The Work Foundation. She has over 10 years of experience working with national and local policymakers and with business to develop strategies to respond to a rapidly changing economy. Alexandra has managed projects with a range of public and private sector clients on issues including the knowledge economy, public service reform, management and human capital. Previously, Alexandra worked as a private secretary for the Permanent Secretary at the former Department for Education and Skills and as a researcher at the Institute for Public Policy Research.

Tony Travers is Director of LSE London, a research centre at the London School of Economics. He is also a Visiting Professor in the LSE's Government Department. His key research interests include local and regional government and public service reform. He is currently an advisor to the House of Commons Children, Schools and Families Select Committee and the Communities and Local Government Select Committee. He has published a number of books on cities and government, including Failure in British Government, The Politics of the Poll Tax (with David Butler and Andrew Adonis), Paying for Health, Education and Housing: How does the Centre Pull the Purse Strings (with Howard Glennerster and John Hills) and The Politics of London: Governing the Ungovernable City.

George Ferguson, past President of the Royal Institute of British Architects, was co-founder of Ferguson Mann Architects in 1979 and founded the national UK-wide network of practices, Acanthus, in 1986. He has a wide variety of experience in architectural, master-planning and regeneration projects, including his own mould-breaking Tobacco Factory mixed-use project and nationally acclaimed theatre. A co-founder of the Academy of Urbanism, he writes, broadcasts and lectures extensively on the environment, planning and architectural matters at home and abroad. He declared his intention to stand as an independent candidate in the Bristol mayoral election prior to the city-wide referendum held on 3 May 2012. He subsequently became the first independent mayor to lead a major city in Britain and was officially sworn in on 19 November 2012.

Please note this event is now SOLD OUT.

There are four events in this series, all are free but booking is required. The other events are Freeing Cities (Wed 15 Oct, 19:30), Art and Media in London and the Cities (Thu 13 Nov, 18:00) and Interview with Sir Peter Bazalgette (Thu 13 Nov, 20:00).

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