Productive cities achieve higher living standards and reduced inequality in a rapidly urbanising world. When cities prioritise shared prosperity and economic opportunity, the result is greater productivity and deeper social cohesion.

Achieving this boost in productivity is a complex and multi-dimensional challenge, involving access to work, development of new local economic centres, future-proofing against climate change and attracting investment in a highly competitive global environment.

Our ethos is to create space for urban leaders, clients and collaborators to respond to major societal challenges. We help urban planners and economic specialists engage with trends at a strategic, analytical and technical level, unpicking complex datasets to synthesise insights that are actionable for urban leaders.

Staying ahead of trends

Cities reflect the changing ways we live and work. In many countries the post-pandemic staying power of working from home and the retail transition from ‘bricks to clicks’ are challenging the purpose of urban centres. Many towns and cities will need to consider retrofits to reduce carbon emissions, while any new urban centres need to be masterplanned with net zero operation defined from the start. For some city regions, developing clusters of expertise in everything from renewable energy to space exploration, semi-conductors to science will propel their productivity and attract talent, providing future-proofed jobs for residents.

We use the planning and design process to explore what the data can tell us about a city’s productive challenges. Only then can we address the inequalities and other factors that are holding back regional and organisational productivity gains. The solution is often to break down barriers, for example connecting disadvantaged communities to education and employment opportunities through affordable public transport links.

Our process brings together politicians, funders, CEOs and community leaders to agree collective long-term action. The solutions are varied, whether it requires finding new purposes for existing districts, creating education and technology clusters, attracting green finance, or developing local skills to meet new economic potential. And of course it’s vital to retain what makes a place unique while setting them on a path to reinvention.

How do we tackle this issue?

Get in touch with us

If you'd like to speak to one of our cities experts about any of the issues raised on this page, or a potential collaboration, then please get in touch.

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