Building space for the knowledge and creative economy

Next Monday I shall be in Munich (for the first time) speaking on two panels at the EXPO REAL event, which has been running since 1998 as a high-calibre event for the urban development and investment sector (  In 2012 38,000 people attended from 71 countries.

 The first panel is on “the Future of European Financial Centres: what is next for economy and real estate?” and the second is titled: “Building space for the Knowledge and Creative economy: what are the needs?”. The two topics are closely linked of course. In London, we expect continuing steady growth in both people and jobs over the next decades. Over the past 15 years or so, much of the growth in jobs has come from sectors such as financial services and public administration. While these will continue to be important parts of the London economy, growth in jobs will need to come from elsewhere in the future.


As the Mayor said in his 2020 Vision: “The London economy is infinitely diverse and resilient. We export bicycles from Chiswick, TV antennas from Wandsworth, cake from Waltham Forest, smoked salmon from Tower Hamlets…London has one of the world’s most powerful and innovative biosciences and health sectors…Ten years ago most politicians would not have predicted that London would become the European capital tech – with about 40,000 jobs now dependant on that sector.”


Diversity – of sectors, firm sizes, talent, human capital, experience – is key to the economic success of cities. So it is not a question of TMT ‘replacing’ finance and business services as the engine of growth of the London economy. Both are needed; and future growth and jobs will come from cross-over sectors. We are already aware of some of these, such as  fin-tech and med-tech, while others are yet to be invented and hyphenated. Cities bring together people, ideas and investment. 


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