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City Deals: nine reasons this imported model of urban development demands due diligence

Paul Burton writes in The Conversation (2.4.16) about a current UK model of city/urban development which seems to have gained favour here among some members of various levels of government. The author cautions about the pitfalls of a wholesale introduction of this approach.

'The new assistant minister for cities and digital transformation, Angus Taylor, spoke last week of his enthusiasm for a “new vehicle” for creating partnerships between all three levels of government to drive the sustainable growth of our cities. This “tried and tested” vehicle is based on the UK government’s City Deals model, which has been running in England since 2012.

'In a nutshell, this model encourages city councils or groupings of councils to work together more effectively in identifying local economic development opportunities. They then strike a deal with the central government to secure the funding necessary to realise these opportunities.

'Part of the UK government’s so-called “localism agenda”, this approach was designed to give more power and freedom to localities so they could do what they thought best to achieve growth in their area.

'… we know that to overcome these problems we need a much greater degree of policy stability and long-term, bipartisan commitment. What we do not need is to jump on yet another urban policy bandwagon from overseas – one that is already being tinkered with in its country of origin.'


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