In a global economy the importance of place is growing, and city-regions are the drivers of change. 

Local policy solutions are needed for national policy agendas, because every city-region is a unique combination of people, skills, infrastructure and firms, with a distinctive set of potential growth paths. Research, knowledge and expertise, developed through local public-private partnerships is required to intelligently shape future growth. Growth that is underpinned by an industrial strategy to drive up productivity, innovation and competitiveness. But growth that also ensures equal access to opportunities and future prosperity for all citizens.

Working with policymakers and industry, City REDI is innovating how we approach these challenges. Our Advisory Board helps us focus on strategies, policies and programmes which drive a step change in making places and people thrive. Through collaboration with regional stakeholders we are creating new tools and techniques to understand impact and improvement, for effective real-world policies.

City REDI is having an impact locally, nationally and internationally, to enhance the success of city-regions and the future of inclusive economies so that people can prosper and thrive.

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Evidence-based city-region policy making

City REDI is meeting the need for inter-disciplinary research into the economy of city-regions by building a distinctive international research platform which informs government policies and corporate practices. It has a key focus on creating new tools and techniques to understand impact and improvement, which are key to designing good policy and actions. 

An example of this is a recent project focussing on the Business and Professional Services sector in the West Midlands. This research involved conducting economic reviews, interviews with key companies, advising the West Midlands Combined Authority and producing and implementing a regional business support model and toolkit for evidence based policy making.

Professor Simon Collinson

Professor Simon Collinson

Deputy Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Regional Economic Engagement and Director of City-REDI

“There are signs that the Birmingham city-region is becoming more creative, innovative and attractive as a location for R&D investment, leading firms and talented people. This momentum provides an excellent base for our city-region to weather Brexit uncertainties and benefit from the new opportunities presented by rapid global change. To build on this momentum we need strong partnerships between local organisations and a coherent regional industrial strategy underpinned by intelligent analysis to support informed decision-making.”

Improving the life chances of all

As part of the West Midlands Combined Authority’s Inclusive Growth Unit, City REDI is dedicating resource to improving the life chances of all in the region, as well as lifting the competitiveness and performance of the city-region economy. 

With sub-national economies across the UK facing significant uncertainty, and the conditions of global distribution of economic activity transforming, there is a need to develop knowledge of complex city-regions so that inclusive economic growth can be achieved. 

Understanding a post-Brexit world

City REDI is working to bring clarity to a future that remains unpredictable for the UK, investigating the economic implications of Brexit. Professor Raquel Ortega-Argilés leads on a project examining in detail the likely economic implications of Brexit on the UK’s sectors, regions and cities.

The findings from recent research suggests that the UK’s cities and regions which voted for Brexit are also the most economically dependent on EU markets for their prosperity and viability. This is a result of their differing sectoral and trade composition. Different impacts are likely to differ between sectors and these relationships also differ across the UK, EU countries and their regions. Some sectors, regions and cities will be more sensitive and susceptible to any changes in UK-EU trade relations which may arise from Brexit than others and their long-run competiveness positions will be less robust and more vulnerable than others.

A systems approach to urban living

As the largest city outside London, with one of the most diverse and youthful populations anywhere in the UK, the city of Birmingham and the Greater Birmingham area have the potential to set a new agenda for 21st century urban living. Professor John Bryson leads on the Urban Living Birmingham Project which is contributing towards the transformation of Birmingham into a city that is a regional asset and a global beacon for urban service innovation. Through this project, a novel urban diagnostics methodology for understanding city-systems has been developed.

Professor Bryson also collaborates on the ASAP East Africa project, which takes a systems approach to tackling air pollution in three cities across East Africa.


City REDI

Economic Impacts of Brexit

The Urban Living Birmingham Project

West Midlands Productivity and Skills Commission Report

Find out more

City REDI blog ➤
City REDI Advisory Board ➤
Business and Professional Services Sector Specific Analysis ➤
Economic Impact of Brexit website ➤
WMCA Dynamic Economic Impact Model ➤
Urban Living Blog ➤
Learn about our other Birmingham Heroes ➤