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The Common Futures Network, of which Urban Dynamics Lab Co-Investigator Professor Michael Batty is a member, calls for a ‘new agenda for action to tackle divisions in society’.

The QUANT toolkit, a large-scale simulation tool developed by Prof Michael Batty and Richard Milton, was employed for scenario testing for the Common Futures network. QUANT, a collaboration between the Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis and the Future Cities Catapult simulates the impact of changes in population, employment, and travel costs associated with movements on the transport network in UK Cities.

The Common Futures Network calls for a new national framework for England to achieve the vision of uniting the country with a more balanced economic growth across all cities and regions, and to help shape England’s post-Brexit economy. This message comes in a new report by the Common Futures Network, an independent forum of economists, planners, housing experts, engineers and development interests.

The report sets out a prospectus for action to prepare a national framework, laying down priorities for development and that our regions are empowered and supported to fulfil their potential and none are given preferential treatment.

Whilst the devolved administrations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have developed national frameworks, the report highlights that there is no equivalent for England. In light of last year’s Brexit vote, which showed a nation starkly divided by geography and social class, there is now a greater need than ever for a co-ordinated national economic strategy.

The report highlights that such a framework is needed to bring together the industrial strategy, as well as policies on infrastructure, environment, housing and devolution. Action is particularly urgent for the “marginalised” regions of the Midlands and Northern England, many of which voted heavily for Leave in last year’s referendum. With areas such as Cornwall, Cumbria and the Tees Valley set to lose out with the end of EU regional development funding, new thinking is needed to bring jobs and prosperity to struggling towns and cities. Similar challenges arise from the need to rethink policies for rural areas with the withdrawal from the EU Common Agricultural Policy.

Key recommendations in the report include:

A new regional development fund to replace EU structural funds A new urban programme, to revive struggling towns and cities

  • New arrangements for the management of the megaregion of London and the southeast
  • A comprehensive and complementary rural programme, to revive England’s countryside communities
  • A national strategy to identify new development areas to accommodate a population increase of 9 million by 2040
  • A new comprehensive devolution deal for all England’s regions, in addition to its cities and city-regions

To read the report in full, and for more information on the Common Futures Network, go to http://commonfuturesnetwork.org.

More about the Urban Dynamics Lab.

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