Good growth for cities: Our report on economic wellbeing in UK urban areas

November 2013

The national economy is picking up yet there is some way to go yet before the recovery is secure.  Cities have a critical role in achieving long term growth and reducing the structural deficit. But how should they define their economic success? 

We know from our ongoing research with think tank Demos that the public wants growth that’s financially, socially and environmentally sustainable.  Good Growthis not just about GDP or GVA, but broader measures of economic wellbeing.

Our latest Good Growth for Cities Index measures the performance of the UK’s largest cities against a basket of ten categories defined by the public - and business - as key to economic wellbeing.

Jobs, health, income and skills are deemed most important – they’re fundamental to living standards.  Housing, transport, sector balance, income distribution, work-life balance and the environment are also considered important.

This table shows the highest and lowest ranking cities in our index.

This table shows the highest and lowest ranking cities in our index

Employment is a critical factor where cities rose or fell in the 2013 index, highlighting the importance of innovation to drive productivity and new job creation.  Better skills are also important so people can take up opportunities available - and better infrastructure - with which to connect and house people to where jobs are located.

So how can cities unlock their full economic potential? And do they have sufficient control over the key levers of skills, infrastructure and innovation?

Further content