'Creating good city economies in the UK' is a report co-produced by New Start, NEF and CLES, which challenges the traditional approach to economic regeneration.
Mainstream media do not focus on how deprived the UK is in some places, and we too often forget how close this deprivation is to us. Using the concept of "doughnut of deprivation", New Start easily manages to make us realise that traditional regeneration relies on mainstream economics, producing arguments such as 'HS2 will reduce poverty', which are too simplistic and more importantly wrong.
Over the past two years at Renaisi, I had the chance to work on projects where regeneration was not only town centres, big employers, and infrastructure investment. Big Lottery-funded programmes such as Big Local or Power to Change do put local people at the heart of regeneration, and are far more likely to create good places with just a million pounds than heavy investment that is unresponsive to local needs.
I now realise that I may have taken "good regeneration" for granted and I am definitely going to read this report.
This dominant [agglomeration] model favours city centre economies, skilled workers and high-end jobs. It starts with the physical – buildings and infrastructure – rather than the needs of people. It encourages people to move or commute to areas of opportunity rather than creating jobs close to the neighbourhoods in which they live. It creates pollution and gentrification and incentivises big business at a time when the majority of UK businesses employ fewer than 10 people, and self-employment and micro-businesses are in the ascendancy. In its focus on economic growth and building scale, it leaves behind the low skilled and those living on the peripheries of cities.