Collision Course? Sustainable cities and self-driving cars

Will autonomous vehicles help or hinder making our cities more sustainable? See my new blog with Charlene Rohr at The Conversation.


Leadership in global cities

Sydney and Toronto are growing both in population and economic activity, and are increasingly thinking about themselves as global cities. Not in the ‘top six’ of London, Paris, New York, Tokyo, Hong Kong, Singapore but just outside this group. Interesting (to me at least!) that similar discussions on the metropolitan futures of each are taking place in each city next week. The Munk School of Global Affairs are hosting this event on Toronto as an ‘accidental metropolis’ – “Toronto is evolving with a style and character unique in the world, widely recognized for its livability. Now its economic power and its critical and largely successful function as a crucible of immigrant settlement is becoming more and more evident. Remarkably, the emergence of Canada’s cities on the world stage, and Toronto’s rise to the top dozen in global status, has been largely accidental. How did this happen?” The following day,  on the other side of the world, Arup and Western Sydney University have a discussion on ‘Leadership in the Metropolitan Century’. As both events demonstrate, governance and leadership are a crucial part of the global cities debate.

My new role

I am very pleased to announce that later this month I shall take up a new role as Professor of Public Policy and Director of Analysis at the King’s College London Policy Institute.

You can read more about my appointment here, and about the work of the Policy Institute here.

Ideas aren’t running out, but they are getting more expensive to find — Recent Articles

The rate of productivity growth in advanced economies has been falling. Optimists hope for a fourth industrial revolution, while pessimists lament that most potential productivity growth has already occurred. This column argues that data on the research effort across all industries shows the costs of extracting ideas have increased sharply over time. This suggests that…

via Ideas aren’t running out, but they are getting more expensive to find — Recent Articles

London in the mind

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away…there was no Mayor of London, Greater London Authority or City Hall.  Bankside Power Station was just about to be re-born as the Tate Modern. The year was 2000, and I was teaching and researching at the London School of Economics. Together with my colleague Tony Travers, I became involved in an exhibition in the Oxo Tower, called “Our London, Our Vote” . The purpose of the exhibition was to help explain to Londoners what the role would be of the new Mayor and London Assembly, to be elected that May. As part of the exhibition, I put together some quotations about London for one of the display panels – quotations not from politicians and public officials but from writers, artists, poets.

Here they are below:

London “is an idea, almost a metaphysical entity in the minds of those who contemplate it”  A.N.Wilson

“We do well perceive in our princely wisdom that our City of London is become the greatest, or next the greatest City of the Christian World.”  King James I, 1615.

“When I was a child in Trinidad, the wharves were lined with cargo boats coming from and heading to the London docks. The clothes we wore, much of the food we ate, all the luxuries of life we associated with London”   Darcus Howe, journalist.

“Rain grey town/known for its sound/In places/small faces/abound”  The Byrds, Eight Miles High

“Unreal city/Under the brown fog of a winter dawn/A crowd flowed over London Bridge, so many/I had not thought death had undone so many” T.S.Eliot, The Waste Land

“It is odd how one imagines that just because the sun is shining in London, it is shining everywhere else”  Hanif Kureishi

“Hell is a city much like London/A populous and smoky city”  Shelley

“If I had to sum up for you what London seems to me, it’s a community of unpaid extras in the most expensive theme park on the planet”   Malcolm McLaren