Building back better and building beautiful have to be grounded in ‘genius loci’ – the spirit and harmony of the places and localities in which we are creating well-designed homes and delivering the vital infrastructure to renew or create strong communities. Beyond homes themselves, the discretionary decisions made in local policy around the public realm cast long shadows in determining the character of places, potentially for generations.
Our placemaking workstream seeks to examine the role of housing and infrastructure in promoting opportunity and prosperity, the role of investment in leading renewal and the role of planning in creating successful and sustainable communities.
In Q4 2020 there was a 13.7% high street vacancy rate and a 17.3% shopping centre vacancy rate. The early months of 2021 saw a 68.3% year-on-year decline in high street footfall and a 4.9% decline in retail sales volume. In January 2021, the proportion of money spent online was 35.2%, the highest on record. […]
Local authorities derive their legitimacy through their interaction with citizens and an organised and active civil society. Furthermore, good, positive, and effective interactions can be used to assess the needs of citizens that, in turn, inform technical or policy solutions that deliver better and more responsive public services and create an improved public realm and […]
Public procurement and outsourcing have great potential when managed well, with the volume of public sector spend across the country creating many opportunitites to advance strategic economic goals. Unfortunately, for decades, successive governments have been unable to tap systematically into this potential. Now, free of the EU rulebook, with reforms on the way and a newfound […]
There is perhaps no greater issue driving division in British politics than the serious gap between aspirations for home ownership and the malign effects of constrained supply. This situation, in which we don’t build or supply enough affordable homes in places where people not only just wish, but need to live, is the unhappy reality […]
As far back as the twelfth century, we have evidence that local authorities have engaged in commercial activity effectively – benefitting residents, improving public services and generating much-needed revenue independent of central government. Jo Chamberlain’s fabled ‘gas and water’ municipalism in the 19th century showed how commercial interventions of the muscular variety could engender transformative […]
The Plan for Growth, released in March 2021, is the UK government’s new plan setting out its view on how to recover from the pandemic through ‘building back better’ and ‘levelling up’ across the UK. It sets out government objectives to ‘support economic growth through investment in infrastructure, skills, and innovation’. And serves as a […]
A range of national bodies worked together to enhance councils’ understanding of how they can diagnose and reduce the risk of failure in corporate governance, and what success factors can point the way to greater strength in this area. Research was led by the Centre for Public Scrutiny assisted by Localis, and funded by a consortium of […]
In previous years, when it came to criminal activity there was very little support available for businesses. The common view the business community was often that the police treated this as a victimless crime – so it wasn’t, in consequence, seen as a priority. In seeking to change this situation and address the underlying causes, […]
From the crises in elderly care and youth crime to the desperate challenge of building enough homes across the country, the need to properly fund, so as to properly deliver valued local services and infrastructure has never been clearer to the public. In this environment, the case for giving our local authorities greater powers to […]
The Public Services (Social Value) Act 2012 was first presented to Parliament a decade ago, enshrining in law the duty of public sector commissioning to pay regard to economic, social and environmental wellbeing when making procurement decisions. In this time, the incorporation of a social value element into the assessment of public sector contracts has […]