Gathering evidence to shape the cities of the future

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What policies do we need to ensure the long term sustainability and prosperity of UK cities?

On Tuesday 25th March the UK’s Chief Scientist, Sir Mark Walport, convened a meeting at the Oxford Martin School where he drew upon academic, private and public sector expertise for the government’s Foresight Future of Cities project. The meeting was one of a series taking place across the country aimed at gathering detailed insights into the nature of cities, looking both at how they have evolved and how they are adapting to current and future challenges.

Around the table were Professors Steve Rayner (a member of the project’s lead experts group) and Michael Keith, co-directors of the Oxford Programme on the Future of Cities, Professor John Muellbauer of the Institute for New Economic Thinking, Professor Sarah Harper, co-director of the Oxford Institute for Population Ageing, Professor David Banister, Professor of Transport Studies, and representatives from the University of Reading, Oxford City Council, the Oxfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership and Science Vale UK, amongst others.

The group looked at a wide range of questions around Oxford as an urban environment, including shifting demands on services such as healthcare and education, the ingredients of a strong economy, and different models of urban governance.

The evidence gathered by Sir Mark and the project team will be used to consider the future of UK cities, taking 2040 and 2065 as ‘staging posts’ and exploring possible policies for both central and local government with regard to city living, urban economies, planning and infrastructure.