Latest posts

Urban economics

Britain’s localist revolution

George Osborne, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, delivered nothing short of a revolution to the way that Britain is governed. A radical devolution of power and money from central government in London to the cities of the UK has begun. [...]

Good ideas take time

Good ideas are more powerful than political posturing. I presume David Cameron would not call his Chancellor’s views insane now. [...]

Location, Location, Location

I am not from Auckland, nor can I claim to be an expert on port operations, but I cannot help but wonder whether instead of talking about an extension of the port we should be talking about an entirely different question: Is the Port of Auckland really in the right spot? [...]

Australia’s metropolises at the crossroads

Australia’s big cities are now less different (or more similar) to their neighbours in the Asia-Pacific. Not only are they becoming more ethnically Asian but Asia’s cities have become wealthier, more productive, and more Western. [...]

Aristotle in Dunedin

Aristotle was right. A great city does not need a big population. It can even be as small as Dunedin’s. But every great city needs a population that is passionate about itself, ambitious for its future, and optimistic about its outlook. [...]

What makes great cities?

Perhaps it's time to admit humbly that the best cities usually just happen without anyone making them happen. Cities are organic, evolving and spontaneous institutions; the result of human action and less of human design. Maybe it is this that really makes them great, too. [...]

Planning and the economy: a complex relationship

What sounds like a paradoxical experience may not be so much of a paradox after all. House prices, quality of life and economic growth are very much interlinked in Britain's recent history, and it is not always easy to disentangle the three. However, if we want to understand why they are connected, it is necessary to subject them to an economic analysis, and that means analysing the way Britain's built environment has been planned. [...]

Is the Green Belt sacred?

The ‘green belt' description has elevated imagination over reality in Britain's planning system. To the public, the areas it refers to seem to be much needed reserves of nature in an overcrowded, concrete Britain. They are, or at least they are believed to be, the last remnants of what was once England's green and pleasant land. To say anything against the concept of the green belt thus seems to smack of treachery. But we need some hard-headed thought about why and how we protect land from the development we need. [...]

Parting shot

Britain is one of the most expensive countries on the planet and London its rip-off capital. Filling your car, eating out, staying at a hotel or just doing the weekly shopping are all more costly undertakings than in other industrialised countries around the globe – even without taking house prices into account. [...]

Urban regeneration isn’t working (but it can be better)

Dr Oliver Marc Hartwich is Chief Economist at Policy Exchange although he's about to emigrate for a new think tank appointment in Australia. In this Platform he explains the argument of the urban regeneration paper that he edited and that caused such a storm earlier this week. [...]