Tag Archives: cities

Devolution to English cities is not sustainable without greater transparency and legitimacy in decision making

Sarah Ayres
Sarah Ayres

by Sarah Ayres, Chair, Political Studies Research Commission, Examine the role of ‘informal governance’ on devolution to England’s cities

That is the conclusion of the Political Studies Association’s Research Commission to examine the role of ‘informal governance’ on devolution to England’s cities. The Commission is chaired by Dr Sarah Ayres (University of Bristol), Board Member of the Regional Studies Association and Co-editor of Policy & Politics and has involved the following Commissioners – Paul Buddery (Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce), Dr Jo Casebourne (Institute for Government), Tessa Coombes (University of Bristol), Ed Cox (Institute for Public Policy Research) and Mark Sandford (House of Commons Library).

The Commission is launching its report at a round table event at the Institute for Government on 3rd March 2016. The report offers some reflections on the process of decision making around the devolution deals to date. It draws on the shared learning and experiences of key actors involved to identify elements that have worked well and also potential areas for improvement. It concludes that the devolution agenda offers a real opportunity to empower local areas, boost economic productivity and improve public services. Yet, there is a danger that the initiative will falter in the absence of greater clarity around process and enhanced local ownership of decision making. Continue reading Devolution to English cities is not sustainable without greater transparency and legitimacy in decision making

The struggle for urban democracy – award winner!

Mark Purcell’s article ‘The right to the city: the struggle for democracy in the urban public realm’ has been awarded the Ken Young Prize for Best Article Published in Policy & Politics in 2013.  

Mark Purcell
Mark Purcell

In a lucid and compelling contribution to Policy & Politics, Mark Purcell confronts the progressive liberal line of those who warn of the dangers of austerity and urge the (re)instatement of a welfare state. He argues that while a conventional liberal-democratic state may be more desirable than a neo-liberal state, they both fall far short of what we can and ought to imagine democratic society to be. Drawing on the work of French intellectual Lefebvre, Purcell outlines for citizens a state of ‘autogestion’ – a process and struggle where citizens both individually and collectively take control. They take control not to cede power to oligarchical state institutions or powerful state actors, but instead to co-ordinate in leaderless, non-hierarchical groups analogous to rhizomes – ‘centreless assemblages in which any point or individual can connect to any other’. Continue reading The struggle for urban democracy – award winner!

What difference does having a Directly Elected Mayor make?

David Sweeting

by David Sweeting, Associate Editor, Policy & Politics

Originally posted in November 2013 on the Democratic Audit blog.

Directly Elected Mayors are back in the news – Lord Adonis is pushing the idea of a ‘metro-mayor’ for ‘Greater Birmingham. In this post, David Sweeting reflects on the introduction of a Directly Elected Mayor in Bristol.

It is well over a year since the first directly elected mayor of Bristol took office. While Bristol is not the only place in the country to have such a mayor, it was the only one of ten cities that said yes to a mayor in referendums held in May 2012. Despite various inducements from central government in the form of looking favourably at city deals, and also the prospect of a mayors’ cabinet with the PM himself, Bristolians were the only citizens in the country at that time to go for the option of replacing a traditional council leader with what many see as an American style figure at the head of city government. So, as the idea of Directly Elected Mayors moves back up the agenda, it seems appropriate to ask, what difference does having an elected mayor make? Continue reading What difference does having a Directly Elected Mayor make?