Praise should be given where it is due. We should be positive that the UK now has an Industrial Strategy, which is providing an effective framework to activate key productivity levers at a national level. Thanks to it, more opportunities are starting to materialise especially around innovations in technology, mobility and clean growth.
However, it seems that two things could be added in our drive for productivity – the first is a real focus on the local dimension of the productivity puzzle, and the other is a recognition of the contribution of our built environment to achieving it. Indeed, adopted national and local planning guidance do not currently focus on the opportunities for productivity to be maximised through urban design.
Encouragingly, the draft Local Industrial Strategies recently published by the Greater Manchester and West Midlands Combined Authorities do acknowledge the role of the built environment in boosting local productivity. We must now ensure all local authorities are given the means and empowerment to take a similar approach and I hope this paper will contribute to this agenda.