Cities in the spotlight

Mark Allan, CEO of Landsec, says ‘we are at a crossroads’ as the property company delivers new research on UK cities. 

The report, "Shaping Successful Future Citiess", suggests urban spaces have the potential to thrive, despite challenging circumstances, if meaningful policy reform is taken. Without this, some urban spaces could be 'unlivable' in as little as ten years.

In response, Landsec has sets out ‘Six Principles of Urbanisation’ and calls for urgent policy reform.

The research has been carried out with consultant, The Future Laboratory, it explained.

Mark Allan, CEO, Landsec said: ‘We are at a crossroads when it comes to the future of our cities. For the good of our nation’s competitiveness and the opportunities it will provide our communities, we need to focus on the future of our cities today.'

'Put simply, we need to act now – starting with urgently needed policy reform - to achieve a more prosperous and positive future for all. To deliver more jobs, more homes and more growth, we must bring people, business and cities together.'

‘As an investor, developer and a shaper of places, our own success is intrinsically linked to creating cities that drive good, clean growth and unite communities - to help them thrive for the long-term. This research is guiding us in how we approach the challenges that face us and our industry. My hope is that it will help others and encourage further debate and dialogue.’

The company said a ‘dystopian future’ was the worst-case scenario in which a city became unlivable. Dystopian would be one where urban planning and construction had taken ‘no heed of their environmental impact or climate change’, and a lack of action on social inequality resulted in deepening divisions.

Among other scenarios is “Collective and vitalising”. This is a ‘Possible Future’ where the city is focused on safety, equitability and health.

The best case scenario is “Green and flourishing”. The ‘Prosperous Future' provides a stark contrast to the first scenario. It is a city which acknowledges that in order for people to flourish, the environment around them must be protected to flourish as well, expplained the property company.

Landsec said it had identified several tangible ways in which national and local government could help ensure successful future urban spaces. ‘These include mandating sustainable development goals and net zero commitments now - to create the right development environment; increasing the use of public-private partnerships; greater and more effective devolution - as local authorities’ ability to be the custodians and catalysts cities need them to be is currently limited by a lack of funding and of powers. ‘

‘Wholesale planning reform to create a framework that encourages sustainable development and removes barriers to progress is also key, so too is an overhaul of the current business rates system to incentivise the creation of new jobs and shape thriving places. The Government should honour its commitment to replacing the existing business rates system with a simpler, more transparent and more equitable system.'


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