Glen Noble is Senior Portfolio Manager at the ESRC for Urban Transformations and project team member for the RCUK-IUK Urban Living Partnership.
Everywhere you look cities are on the agenda. Politically and economically we have major debates about the ‘Northern Powerhouse’, the smart city, devolution and new infrastructure projects. Indeed, there are so many new initiatives that it can be a hard time just keeping up with them all. It is my role to do just that and in the past 18 months the ESRC has committed to spending more than £13 million in new urban social research. This has included new calls in partnership with Brazil, China and South Africa and our own national call for Urban Transformations research. We also participate in the Joint Programming Initiative for Urban Europe and recently launched a new website for urban social science.
But time and again we hear that the real challenge is the need to bring together expertise and find ways to work outside of the ordinary silos of urban systems and government departments. To solve the problems our cities face we need to bring different groups of experts together to work with municipal government, local communities and businesses. It is only then that we will be able to develop solutions that meet the needs of urban citizens within the practical constraints of contemporary business and local government funding. Continue reading