Good city economies are being created in the UK now, says Rachel Laurence, principal director of communities and localities at the New Economics Foundation and Clare Goff, editor of New Start
The way we organise our economy underpins every aspect of how we live our lives and how our communities function.
Going into this project – Activating Local Alternative Economies, with funding from Friends Provident Foundation – we were excited to explore what new ideas are being tested and demonstrated in cities around the UK as to ways in which the economy could work better to create liveable places, sustainable equitable prosperity, connected communities and all the other desirable aspects of a well-functioning economic system.
Currently these aspects are absent from mainstream approaches to economic development.
What we found was not so much a rich source of innovative thinking outside the mainstream, as a deep understanding of how the mainstream is failing to deliver the outcomes we want for our cities and communities, and how it could be re-thought for the better.
The practical projects we heard about, and the discussions we held through this project, are, we believe, much more powerful than simply small-scale examples of ‘another way’.
What jumped out at us throughout this year was repeated evidence that the system can be designed differently; that there is a huge will to do it differently and, most importantly, huge willingness to change it – after the financial crash of 2008, the impacts of austerity policies, the seismic shift in the past thirty years in the global economic picture and a long history of regional imbalance in economic development in the UK.
Re-thinking the economic system and how it works for us is no longer a question of exciting ‘nice-to-have’ alternatives to a functioning mainstream. It is a question of urgently building a new, mainstream, practical economic system that actually functions well enough to provide good lives sustainably and equitably.
That is what this Creating Good City Economies in the UK explores – the challenges and the opportunities of re- thinking this system; the practical know-how and creative genius already at our fingertips across the UK that should give us a flying start.
- Read ‘Creating Good City Economies in the UK’ here.
Clare Goff, editor of New Start
Rachel Laurence, principal director of communities and localities at the New Economics Foundation
For more information visit the project page on this site.