The metropolitan circles concept has not been explicitly applied as policy in the UK, though a case is made that the development of London and the South East of England bears some similarities. The paper reviews the development of that region, but also of two other regions with the potential for more integrated, infrastructure-led economic development. These are Greater Manchester and its potential connections to other cities in the North of England; and then Central Scotland (Glasgow/Edinburgh).
The concept of agglomeration economies is used to interpret the dynamics behind the growth of major urban centres. The idea of polycentric development is also introduced as a component of European Union thinking which could shape public policy making. For each of the three regions. The role of public policy is analysed, at different spatial scales, to explore how economic geography and policy choices shape tendencies towards metropolitan growth.
The analysis is conducted within an overarching framework which suggests that spatial policy making is the outcome of a set of mutual relationships between ideology, constraints and evidence. The findings are that agglomeration is a factor everywhere, but that public policy responses have varied between the three regions, though in each case macro-economic policy of the UK government has been a key factor.
About the Speaker:
Prof. Cliff Hague is Emeritus Professor of Planning and Spatial Development at Heriot-Watt University and works internationally as a freelance researcher and author. He is a co-author of Leading Change: Delivering the New Urban Agenda Through urban and Territorial Planning, (2018), which can be downloaded from the UN-Habitat website. He has worked on several European Union projects, particularly in the Baltic Sea Region since 2004. Other recent work has been with British Expertise International in Angola on Smart Cities, and with UN-Habitat on a National Spatial Plan for Palestine.
He is Chairman of the Cockburn Association, the Edinburgh Civic Trust. From 2011-14 he was Chairman of the Built Environment Forum Scotland, the intermediary body between the Scottish Government and the built environment professions and civil society. He is a Past President of the Royal Town Planning Institute (1996) and of the Commonwealth Association of Planners (2000-06). He is a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences, and in 2016 was awarded an OBE for services to planning.
He has worked extensively in the ESPON programme (European Observatory Network for Territorial Cohesion and Development (2001-14). For the ESPON Co-ordination Unit in Luxembourg he co-authored the three Synthesis Reports of the 2008-2013 programme, and also the two Scientific Reports.
He co-authored Urban Challenges: Scoping the State of the Commonwealth’s Cities (2010), Regional and Local Economic Development (2011) and Making Planning Work: A Guide to Approaches and Skills (2006). He is one of the essayists in B.Hasselberger (ed.), 2017, Encounters in Planning Thought: 16 essays by key thinkers in spatial planning. He is a Fellow of the UK’s Academy of Social Sciences.
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