This book aims to understand the predicaments of ‘left behind places’ and the scale of the policy challenge of ‘levelling up’ their economic prosperity. Drawing out lessons of wider international significance, it examines how places (cities, towns and localities) have grown apart over recent decades amidst deindustrialisation, post-industrial transition and the disruptive shocks of the global financial crisis and COVID-19 pandemic. Using the UK case to illustrate its arguments, the analysis identifies the different types of ‘left behind places’ and their distinctive economic experiences. The key features of urban and regional institutions and policies are reviewed to understand more about why, despite some successes, geographical inequalities remain an entrenched feature of the UK, blighting the life chances and quality of life of its citizens, and national economic progress as a whole. The weaknesses of past policies are highlighted, and the case is made for a new, mission-oriented policy model, because only a radical shift in economic thinking, governance and management is likely to achieve the ‘levelling up’ that is now a prominent refrain in the political lexicon.
This is a timely and highly significant contribution to the current policy
debate on ‘levelling up’ in the UK. The authors draw upon their long-standing
expertise and understanding to provide a rich and insightful contemporary
analysis of the problem of the UK’s ‘left behind places’. Drawing on robust and
detailed evidence, they present a powerful argument that nothing less than
a transformative shift in policy approach and resource commitment will be
required if the ‘levelling up’ ambition is to be achieved. Whilst this analysis is
focused on the UK, the approach provided and the lessons to be learned have
wider relevance for all countries seeking to reduce spatial divides and develop
greater place-sensitivity in national policy-making.
Gillian Bristow, Professor of Economic Geography, School of Geography and
Planning, Cardiff University, UK
This is a highly recommended book that clearly documents why some places
(cities, towns and localities) in the UK have been left behind economically,
making a convincing case for the role of place-based policies using novel
evidence and analysis and identifying clear radical policy recommendations for
the UK and valuable lessons elsewhere.
Jose Enrique Garcilazo, Head of Regional and Rural Policy Unit, Centre for
Entrepreneurship SMEs, Regions and Cities, OECD
This is a very timely book, dealing with an issue which is becoming urgent in
many countries, i.e. how to help many places currently struggling economically
and socially. Based on solid theory and carefully researched, the book provides
the reader with clear evidence and draws useful and fundamental policy
recommendations, which go beyond the UK context and could have a wider
application in other parts of the world.
Alessandra Faggian, Professor of Applied Economics, Gran Sasso Science
Institute, L’Aquila, Italy
"Since the 1980s, income and employment inequalities between the United Kingdom’s North (including such formerly industrial cities as Manchester and Glasgow) and the South (i.e., including Greater London) have been increasing. The COVID-19 pandemic only served to highlight these inequalities. Although some degree of spatial inequality is inevitable, it does not detract from the importance of minimizing its scale. The book provides valuable guidance on how to reduce these variations in what they call "levelling up left behind places."[…] This 135-page book is easy to read and helps in understanding the predicament of left-behind places and the challenges in leveling them up for economic prosperity." — David Varady (2022) Levelling Up Left Behind Places: The Scale and Nature of the Economic and Policy Challenge, Journal of the American Planning Association, DOI: 10.1080/01944363.2022.2099178