Posts Tagged: economic development

Gambling on casinos for regeneration; why Atlantic City is out of luck

The Taj Mahal blocking the town from the water and rumoured to be in financial trouble.

The Taj Mahal blocking the town from the water and rumoured to be in financial trouble.

While in Philadelphia recently for the annual conference of the American Collegiate Schools of Planning I was able to make a trip to Atlantic City, New Jersey, a place famous for its use of casinos as a driver for urban regeneration. As well as walking the famous boardwalk on a rather drab end of October afternoon, I was fortunate enough to be able to talk directly with key planners and people in the casino industry and so gain insights into what is happening. The story has some important messages for planners and policy-makers involved in regeneration work. Read more on Gambling on casinos for regeneration; why Atlantic City is out of luck…

Urban post-2015 UN sustainable development goal update

CIMG0330The ‘urban’ goal remains in the list that the UN general assembly is considering this week. As long as it gets through, then adoption next year should be a formality, unless some country really wants to make an issue about it. As not much information is available about this, and it is an issue that is very relevant for planners and other built environment professionals, I am posting here the current list of 17 proposed goals and also the targets being developed for Goal 11, the ‘urban’ goal. Many thaks to Christine Platt and the Commonwealth Association of Planners for this update and all their hard work to get the goal this far. Read more on Urban post-2015 UN sustainable development goal update…

Migration, Gender and Development in Europe



How has the economic crisis impacted on migration patterns across Europe? This question is addressed in a new four-page ESPON Evidence Brief. The theme was also a central feature of the ESPON seminar in Vilnius on 4-5 December. Migration has been a priority concern of the Lithuanian EU Presidency. This is not surprising, given the scale on which this small country has been haemorrhaging people in recent years. It is estimated that a sixth of the population has been lost over the last 20 years. However, as we in the UK know,  migration has become a hot political topic in many countries. For example there are concerns in countries around the Mediterranean about their “front line” position in relation to illegal immigration from Africa and the Middle East.

Read more on Migration, Gender and Development in Europe…

Climate change and its impacts on a small island state: Tuvalu

Tuvalu from the air (photo courtesy of Dr.Julia Edwards)

This blog provides a front line report from Tuvalu, a small island state in the Pacific. Tuvalu is going through urbanization on a scale it has never experienced before, and is also struggling to adapt to the impacts of climate change. This remote and tiny place, so far removed from the global cities which are shaping its future, provides a laboratory specimen of the fate of a small island state in today’s world. Read more on Climate change and its impacts on a small island state: Tuvalu…

The State of China’s Cities – something that concerns us all

Cliff Hague in Pingyao, a historic city now part of a much larger and growing agglomeration

I have referred to Chinese urbanisation several times in these blogs, but make no apologies for returning to the topic. What is happening in China should be of interest to planners, urbanists, environmentalists and economic development professionals everywhere. In part this is because of the sheer scale of the changes – a rural to urban shift on steroids! Since the economic reforms began in 1978, China’s urban residents have increased by over 500 million. We now have an English version of China’s own State of the Chinese Cities 2012-13 report. It claims that “China has entered a new path of sustainable urbanization with its characteristics such as integration and coordination of urban and rural areas, interactive development between industries and cities, saving and intensive use of natural resources, ecological and liveable environment, and harmonious development.” Read more on The State of China’s Cities – something that concerns us all…

Ring out the old, ring in the new – a global review of 2012

I would like to award the prize for the best contribution to environmental sustainability for 2012 to Hurricane Sandy. Sandy single-handedly managed to convert more American citizens to the threats posed by climate change than any number of scientists, scientific publications or politicians. By dumping extreme weather on the US eastern seaboard, massively disrupting transport and business, and above all by providing great TV pictures, it made a strong case in many different ways. Read more on Ring out the old, ring in the new – a global review of 2012…

Development and planning in Cyprus

Outstanding mosaics in Paphos

Last week in Cyprus, I was able to get some insights into the development challenges facing this part of Europe. In a snapshot, Mediterranean islands like Cyprus were early cradles of urbanisation and often have a rich archaeological legacy. They were poor agricultural areas until mass tourism began in the 1970s. The boom saw the spread of urban uses along the coasts and around the villages, often undermining of the quality of the places that people were attracted to. Now these places face austerity and threats from climate change. Read more on Development and planning in Cyprus…

Building resilient cities

Natural disasters like this earthquake in China are one reason for the growing interest in building resilient cities. (Photo by Dr.Zhang Bing).

I should have been in Abuja this week to speak at the Nigerian Institute of Town Planners conference on “Building Resilient Cities”. Due to lack of time to get a visa, I could not make it. However, I did write a paper and this blog is a summary of it. It reviews current thinking about the idea of resilient cities. This is a theme I have explored in previous blogs on this site.
Read more on Building resilient cities…

New housing floorspace will be the area of the Netherlands by 2025

Rapid urban growth and new business opportunities: Kuala Lumpur

The next generation is going to witness a staggering amount of new urban development as the world’s economic centre of gravity shifts towards Asia. Cities in both developed and rapidly urbanising countries need professional planning if they are to prosper. Companies serving consumer markets should grasp the significance of the growing urban middle class and its diversity. Urban analysis is increasingly necessary for business success. These are the main messages from a dramatic new report from the McKinsey Global Institute (MGI). Read more on New housing floorspace will be the area of the Netherlands by 2025…

Smart specialisation as a development strategy in Denmark

Old Town of Aalborg

Aalborg has a small but charming Old Town, and being Danish there are plenty of bicycles.

What kind of strategies can help regions to strengthen their performance in knowledge and innovation? This was the theme of the ESPON Open Seminar that I took part in last week in Aalborg. What emerged was a strong consensus on the importance of getting stakeholders to feel a sense of ownership of a flexible regional strategy, which in turn was part and parcel of building trust. This region of North Denmark shows how strategic spatial planning has been used to create jobs and growth. Read more on Smart specialisation as a development strategy in Denmark…