SPE news and events 2012

News from the Centre for Sustainable Planning and Environments.

October 2012

Exploring the role and function of smaller towns

Small towns are often overlooked in work on the 'urban' system.  In this recently awarded project an SPE team of Professor Rob Atkinson and Dr Ian Smith will be working with partners from four European universities to raise the profile of smaller towns and identify the key characteristics of these places. Smaller towns with a resident population of between 5,000 and 50,000 inhabitants are a particular feature of European settlement patterns. 

The project sits within the European Observatory for Territorial Development and Cohesion (ESPON) 2013 research programme and is led by the Catholic University of Leuven (Belgium).  As part of this project, Dr Ian Smith contributed to the successful UK ESPON Contact Point workshop in Cardiff on 24 September 2012 which highlighted ESPON research with particular relevance to Wales.

View on-going research reports on the small towns project

Inter-regional migration and the importance of regional attractiveness in Europe

Although an increasingly delicate political issue, inter-regional movement either in the form of migration or in the form of visiting is a vital aspect of contemporary European economies and societies.  The seminar timed to coincide with meetings by the Committee of the Regions, will outline the types of inter-regional mobility issues faced by European regions from the out-migration of a swathe of Eastern Europe, to the super-heated inward movement of migrants and tourists, to south-west Europe, as well as setting out potential policy responses to the flows experienced in particular regions. 

Coping with these flows of people is not just ’problematic’ for those regions that have ‘lost’ people in the period prior to the economic crisis of 2008 but may also contribute to regional fragility for super-heated attractor regions when policy-makers are not mindful of encouraging integration within the destination region.  Equally different groups of ‘movers’ are looking for different things in the places that they are heading to.

SPE researchers Professor Rob Atkinson and Dr Ian Smith will be part of the international research team presenting key findings on the recently completed ATTREG (Attractiveness of European Regions and Cities
for Residents and Visitors) project to key stakeholders in Brussels on October 10 2012.  The ATTREG project is a 3 year project funded by the European Observatory for Territorial Development and Cohesion (ESPON).  The SPE team worked with researchers from seven other countries in a project led by the University of 'Rovera i Virgili' in Tarragona, Spain.

View the final project report

Sustainable economic development and the statutory planning system in England

The SPE team members Dr Ian Smith and Dr Stephen Hall will be presenting findings from a two year project with the University of Tours (the CITERES research team) that has explored the ways in which economic and environmental sustainability priorities are dealt with in the local statutory planning systems in England and France. 

The work funded by the French Inter-ministerial Committee on research related to the built environment (PUCA) has explored how local plans claim to be building sustainable places through planning for employment-related development (such as factories, offices or business parks) and how these projects take environmental issues into consideration through the planning application process.  Dr Smith and Dr Hall will be presenting these findings to the 'PUCA' committee in Paris on October 15 2012.

ESPON Map of the Month for October 2012

Work carried out by an SPE team of Dr Ian Smith and Professor Rob Atkinson has been made map of the month for October 2012.  This was carried out within the 'Attractiveness of European Regions and Cities
for Residents and Visitors' (ATTREG) project funded by the European Observatory for Territorial Development and Cohesion (ESPON). ESPON funded a piece of work involving nine European universities and research units on the theme of inter-regional movement across Europe. 

View the map of the month

September 2012

New research project on the Directly Elected Mayor for Bristol

In November 2012, the citizens of Bristol will, for the first time, have a direct say in who is to lead the city. They will vote for the individual they wish to see become the Directly Elected Mayor (DEM) of Bristol, and the new Mayor will take over immediately after the election. It follows that, in a very short period of time, the governance of Bristol will be changed dramatically. 

Researchers in the Centre for Sustainable Planning and Environments, working closely with colleagues at the School for Policy Studies, University of Bristol, have won a research grant to study the impact of the mayoral model of leadership. Led by Professor Robin Hambleton, The Bristol Civic Leadership Prospects Project will address important questions relating to the future governance of the city. The findings of this evaluation will be of interest to central government and others interested in improving the effectiveness of local governance.

July 2012

Robin Hambleton gives BBC radio interview on Bristol City Deal

On 5 July 2012 the Coalition Government announced details of the extra powers it is granting to eight English cities. Known as ‘City Deals’ the announcements can be viewed as attempt by the government to refresh its localism agenda. Robin Hambleton was invited to discuss the Bristol City Deal on Radio Bristol on the morning of the announcement. He welcomed the City Deal, noting that it should bring significant investment to the city region.

The plan aims to create an additional 60,000 jobs in the next twenty years and promises radical improvements in public transport – through the construction of the Greater Bristol Metro and a Bus Rapid Transit network. He noted, however, that the plans do not go far enough in devolving financial powers to local authorities and, as a consequence, the City Deal does not do enough to strengthen local democracy.

June 2012

New research report on local leadership launched at LGA Conference

On 28 June 2012 Robin Hambleton and Joanna Howard launched their new report on Public Sector Innovation and Local Leadership in the UK and The Netherlands at the Local Government Association (LGA) Annual Conference in Birmingham.

Published by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, this report examines approaches to place-based leadership in three cities: Bristol and Swindon in England, and Enschede in the Netherlands.

The Guardian published a short article about the research – ‘How to achieve place-based leadership and social inclusion’ - on their Local Government Network Blog.

The full report is available for free download from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation website.

See archive news stories from 2011.

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