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Patterns of urban growth and decline are profoundly uneven across regions in the UK, and across developed and less developed urban systems. The general aim of this programme is to illustrate the features characterising these patterns and gain insight into the forces driving changes in city development.

One key issue is the identification of triggers for urban 'decline', resilience and recovery in Britain in recent decades. Shocks to employment, such as big plant closures, and to amenities and housing represent starting points for determining 'key events' that could be early warning systems for areas in danger of decline. Using administrative and large scale survey micro-data, we are constructing a clearer picture of the ways in which cities can prosper and be more resilient to negative shocks.

We also look at long-term trends in the industrial composition of England. Drawing on historical parish-level employment data, we aim to identify the processes driving the structural transformation of the UK economy, and help predict the sectoral evolution of areas as transport investment, access to finance, technology and dependence on natural resources evolve.

With the aim of examining the processes by which infrastructure expenditure influences spatial patterns of development, we are also focussing on the impact on local economic development of OFCOM's ambitious plan to roll out superfast broadband across Britain.

The rapid urbanisation in emerging economies provides a laboratory for the study of urban processes in a shorter time frame. Involving international collaborators in Peking University and exceptionally large amounts of administrative, survey and historical data for China, we explore the employment and income effects of transport evolution, the role of political connection in access to capital markets and the spatial impact of regeneration policies for declining industrial cities. Furthermore, using historical US data, we comparatively analyse the role of transport infrastructure and industrial change in structural transformation across developed and developing economies.

Related Publications

Airports, Market Access and Local Economic Performance: Evidence from China
Stephen Gibbons and Wenjie Wu
February 2017 | Paper No' SERCDP0211

The Economic Effects of Density: A Synthesis
Gabriel M. Ahlfeldt and Elisabetta Pietrostefani
January 2017 | Paper No' SERCDP0210

Highways, Market Access and Urban Growth in China
Nathaniel Baum-Snow, Loren Brandt, J. Vernon Henderson, Matthew A. Turner and Qinghua Zhang
June 2016 | Paper No' SERCDP0200

Subways and Urban Growth: Evidence from Earth
Marco Gonzalez-Navarro and Matthew A. Turner
April 2016 | Paper No' SERCDO0195

Why Does Birthplace Matter So Much? Sorting, Learning and Geography
Clément Bosquet and Henry G. Overman
January 2016 | Paper No' SERCDP0190

ICT and Education: Evidence from Student Home Addresses
Benjamin Faber, Rosa Sanchis-Guarner and Felix Weinhardt
October 2015 | Paper No' SERCDP0186

Offshoring and the Geography of Jobs in Great Britain
Luisa Gagliardi, Simona Iammarino and Andrés Rodríguez-Pose
October 2015 | Paper No' SERCD0185

Quantitative Easing of an International Financial Centre: How Central London Came So Well Out of the Post-2007 Crisis
Ian Gordon
September 2015 | Paper No' SERCDP0193