Glasgow prosperity hangs on joining spatial planning and transport, claims keynote speaker

JOINING up spatial planning and transport has been identified as integral to turning Glasgow into a metropolitan powerhouse, according to a former Under-Secretary of State for Science and Innovation at Westminster.

Lord David Sainsbury – founder of Centre for Cities, author of Windows of Opportunity: How Nations Create Wealth and Under-Secrtetary between 1998 and 2006 – was today speaking at a conference, Building a Greater Glasgow.

Among various suggestions, including the appointment of a metropolitan mayor, he said, here: “Let me suggest three very basic policy changes which the government could make and implement relatively easily, and which could have a very significant impact on levelling up.

“They are, firstly, promoting local economic growth by joining up transport and spatial planning at a city level. Joining up transport and spatial planning at a city level can make commuting cheaper and quicker, which in turn generates two major benefits.

“First it widens labour markets and, secondly, an efficient transport system enables employment and businesses to cluster densely where they have the best access to knowledge, such as in city centres.

“To achieve such an improvement in city transport, the government must move statutory spatial planning authority up from local authorities to metro mayors, and some transport planning responsibilities down from central government to metro mayors.”

The other two suggestions included education (particularly FE Colleges) and the Strength in Places Fund.

Lord Sainsbury was joined among the keynote speakers by former Prime Minister (and founder of the conference organisers, Our Scottish Future), Gordon Brown (read his speech, here), and director-general of the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), Tony Danker (read his speech, here).

Pictured: Princes Square, Buchanan Street, Picture credit: Place Design Scotland

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