Can imaginative mayors form progressive governing coalitions that can tackle growing inequality in cities and other social ills? This is the central question addressed in a new series of articles published by the free online journal Metropolitics. In his contribution to this series ‘Inclusive Place-Based Leadership: Lesson-Drawing from Urban Governance Innovations in Bristol, UK’ Robin Hambleton outlines a way of conceptualising progressive place-based leadership, and reports on the steps now being taken by Bristol’s Mayor Marvin Rees, and other civic leaders in the city, to test this model in practice.
The Civic University Commission, launched by the University Partnerships Programme (UPP) in March 2018, is an important effort to lift the quality of debate about the changing role of British universities in modern society. In this Alternatives Paper, published in the online journal People, Place and Policy in September 2018, Robin Hambleton suggests that, while many British universities now see themselves as ‘civic universities’, few can claim to be world leading in this regard. The article examines the changing role of universities in cities and offers a number of suggestions on how universities can become much more active local leaders.
David Sweeting has edited a wide-ranging, international book on directly elected mayors. Published by Policy Press in March 2017, under the title Directly elected mayors in urban governance: Impact and practice, this book draws on examples from Europe, the USA and Australasia to examine the impacts, practices and the lively debates about mayoral leadership in different cities and countries. The book advances international understanding of mayoral governance and contains several chapters discussing mayoral leadership in Bristol. To find out more click here.
Can universities be more active in contributing to civic leadership in the areas where they are located? The Bristol Civic Leadership Project believes that they can, and Robin Hambleton wrote a short article for Times Higher Education on this topic. Published on 3 November 2016, ‘Pulling their weight‘ suggests that the new initiative by UK universities to encourage them to become more engaged with their local communities, known as Leading Places, can learn from the experiences of American public universities.
Robin Hambleton comments on lessons from Bristol for other cities in England. First published on the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) website on 31 March 2015 he suggests that the centralisation of power in Whitehall is holding cities back.
We have produced a policy report on mayoral governance in Bristol. You can read the report, which includes analysis of data from before and after the introduction of mayoral governance in the city, here.
The report was launched at the Institute for Government on Friday 13th March 2015. You can see the presentations by the mayors of Bristol and Leicester at the event here.
In a new, international book Robin Hambleton examines the role of civic leadership in fostering the creation of inclusive cities. The analysis presented in Leading the Inclusive City suggests that place-based leadership can make an important difference to the quality of life in a city, notwithstanding the pressures of global forces. Innovation Story 2 in the book, which draws on the Bristol Civic Leadership Project research, provides insights on the impact of the mayoral model of governance in Bristol. More information:
Far from being a positive example of decentralisation, Robin Hambleton argues that George Osborne’s proposals for ‘devo Manc’ are the latest example of ‘centralisation on steroids’.
You can read the argument in full on the LSE British Politics and Policy blog.
Significant insights that are emerging from the Bristol Civic Leadership Project are contained in a short ‘Policy Briefing’, published via Policy Bristol.
The Briefing, written by David Sweeting (University of Bristol) and Robin Hambleton (University of the West of England, Bristol), shows a dramatic increase in the public visibility of civic leadership in the city. This increase in visibility, however, is not accompanied by similar increases in public perceptions of trust in the council, nor views about representation in decision-making in the city.
You can download the briefing here: BCLP Policy Briefing October 2014
This week David joined Alex for the first of his Policy Unpacked podcasts. The discussion focused on elected mayors. You can listen to the discussion here.