Productive Places

 The UK’s productivity puzzle continues to challenge policy makers and businesses across the country, and yet it has a major impact on the quality of life we all enjoy. We believe that the way we plan and design our cities and communities can play a greater role in making the places we live and work more productive.


The local dimension

Building on the Industrial Strategy at a national level, we think that the local dimension to improving UK productivity requires a greater focus on the role of the built environment. Our approach helps to make productivity a more tangible part of the planning and design process at this local level. 

Placemaking through a productivity lens

We’ve considered how places designed and delivered with space, health, accessibility, resilience and engagement (our SHARE approach) in mind can be more productive, driving inclusive growth and better economic and social outcomes across a city or for a specific project.

The value of using a productivity-based approach to placemaking helps to avoid poorly planned developments which may otherwise ‘design in’ unproductive outcomes such as over-reliance on the car, worsened congestion and physical inactivity – all negatively impacting productivity. 

Local opportunities

In fact, a productivity lens can help to attract investment, avoid isolated communities, save time lost to commuting and prepare for future changes in climate, technology and demographics. Read the full report to find out more, and get in touch if you’d like to join the conversation.

Download Productive Places

Ian Liddell
Managing Director, Planning & Advisory
United Kingdom
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Through a combination of strategic projects and the accumulation of “marginal gains”, we should seek every opportunity to increase local productivity as a means to boost economic prosperity and quality of life
Ian Liddell Managing Director, Planning and Advisory

Key data

If UK-wide productivity matched that of the south east, our economy would be bigger by
10%
This is equivalent to four extra city economies the size of Birmingham and would grow our economy by
£203bn
cities represent a great opportunity. the percentage of high-skilled jobs on just 8% of land is
72%

Related content

Read our press release

WSP calls for greater productivity focus in planning and design to tackle UK productivity puzzle. 

Read more

Read our insight

Ian Liddell: The role of the built environment in driving local productivity and economic prosperity. 

Read more