The past 12 months has seen a dramatic change in our relationship with cities. Working from home, shopping online, home schooling and the Government’s instruction to “stay local” has meant that our city centres have gone from thriving metropolises to ghost towns. Many firms are considering their office space needs and national retailers are reducing their presence on the high street. Is this the time to rethink our cities?
Speaking in the 1960s, President John F. Kennedy said, “we will neglect our cities to our peril, for in neglecting them we neglect the nation”. But has covid-19 proved too big a challenge for our cities, highlighting their essentially Victorian premise which is now out of step with modern life meaning their future is indeed in peril?
Conversely, the technology revolution could provide the opportunity to develop new capabilities and re-think our cities and the way we live and work. Could Paris’s 15-minute city concept (where everything residents need can be reached within 15 minutes by foot, bike or public transport) become a reality? Will the trend towards urban growth continue, or will the pandemic and its aftermath continue to push people away?
Andrew Carter, Chief Executive of Centre for Cities, discusses the city’s future and how technology and the impact of the pandemic may or may not change metropolitan life.
Broadcast Journalist and Host of Sunday Politics
Samantha Simmonds has been a journalist and broadcaster for more than 20 years – she is currently presenting on BBC World News where she covers international events of the day. She also presents Sunday Politics and has her own podcast, ‘It’s a Grown-Up Life’. She presented on Sky News for more than a decade anchoring coverage of some of the biggest stories of recent years. These included the murder of British MP Jo Cox, the EU referendum live from Gibraltar, several general elections and the terror attacks in Tunisia and Brussels. Samantha’s highlights while at Sky include presenting on location at Buckingham Palace for the Queens’s 90th Birthday, at the Olympic Park for the London 2012 opening ceremony, and presenting from outside Buckingham Palace during the royal wedding.
Chief Executive, Centre for Cities
Andrew Carter became Chief Executive of the Centre for Cities in April 2017. Before that he was the Deputy Chief Executive and Director of Policy and Research with overall responsibility for the Centre’s research and policy programme. Andrew has over 20 years of experience working on urban economic policy issues for public and private development agencies, consultants and research institutes. He has also spent time in the US as part of the Churchill Foundation’s Fellowship Programme, reviewing urban economic development policy and practice in American cities including New York, Washington DC, Boston and Chicago. He is a regular media contributor, and chairs and speaks at conferences across the UK and Europe on a wide range of urban and economic issues.
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