Devolution and the Future of Cities

Devolution and the Future of Cities

Festival of the Future City


Please note: This event took place in Nov 2015

There’s little doubt that there’s a new mood about devolving powers to cities and regions. Where will this go next? Mike Emmerich (Metrodynamics), who worked on the Northern Powerhouse initiative and is now advising Birmingham; George Ferguson, Mayor of Bristol; Alexandra Jones (Director Centre for Cities), who has led the campaign for cities and devolution for many years; and Mark Tewdwr-Jones (Professor of Town Planning, Newcastle University) who led the Newcastle City Futures 2065 report, discuss the issues.

Chaired by Heather Stewart, Economics Editor, Observer.

In association with Centre for Cities

Speaker biographies:

Mike Emmerich is co-founder of Metro Dynamics, a new consultancy building on the global emergence of cities as drivers of growth. He was previously Chief Executive of New Economy Manchester and negotiated the Manchester devolution deal with government. Before this, he was Director of the Institute for Political and Economic Governance at the University of Manchester, and Dean of External Relations in the Faculty of Humanities. He served as Principal Consultant and then Deputy Director at the Centre for Local Economic Strategies (1991 to 1996). After a period as a management consultant at Ernst & Young in 1997, he became a Policy Adviser with HM Treasury before becoming Senior Policy Adviser in the Prime Minister's Policy Unit.

George Ferguson, Mayor of Bristol, was co-founder of Ferguson Mann Architects in 1979 and founded Acanthus, the UK-wide network of practices, in 1986. He has a wide variety of experience in architectural, master planning and regeneration projects, including schemes such as the Bristol Millennium project and the Tobacco Factory mixed use project. He is a co-founder of the Academy of Urbanism. He has been awarded honorary degrees from the Universities of Bristol and of the West of England, and was RIBA President between 2003-2005, where he was noted for championing the causes of education, the environment and urbanism. He was appointed a CBE in the 2010 New Years Honours for services to architecture and to the community in the South West. In November 2012, he became the first elected mayor of Bristol.

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. She 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, she 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.

Mark Tewdwr-Jones is Professor of Town Planning and a member of the Global Urban Research Unit at Newcastle University. He was previously Government Advisor on planning, land use and housing issues. He currently serves as Vice Chairman and Trustee of the Regional Studies Association. He became an Academician of the Academy of Social Sciences in 2011 and was appointed a Fellow of the Royal Town Planning Institute in 2013. He is Visiting Professor of Geography and Planning at University College Dublin and Adjunct Professor of Urban Planning and Design at the University of New South Wales. He is currently Director of Newcastle City Futures, an exhibition and big city conversation on Newcastle past, present and future, and of Newcastle Foresight.

Heather Stewart is the Observer's Economics Editor. She joined the Guardian as a junior reporter in 2001 after a year as a researcher in HM Treasury, and has since covered UK and international economics. Since September 2011, she has been the journalists' representative on the Scott Trust, the independent body that owns the Guardian and Observer. She also sits on the advisory board of the Bretton Woods Project, a think-tank monitoring the activities of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank.

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