Connecting Places

Transformative infrastructure and Levelling Up​

Dr Nicholoas Falk argues that we need to change direction in Urban Planning. It examines several European cities which have integrated transport and development and asks where finance could be obtained for similar “Smarter Urbanisation” projects in the UK, especially in the context of Levelling Up.

Shaping better and healthier cities

The National Audit Office’s report assessing the government’s performance on building new homes concludes that local authorities should not take the blame when so much is outside their control. That report rightly recommends looking at the way infrastructure is financed, as this is not only critical to overcoming local objections but exceeds the cost of constructing each new house. At a time when local authorities seem to have so little power, Dr Nicholas Falk looks at how cities can shape their future.

This article first appeared in Here & Now, the journal of the Academy of Urbanism, in Spring 2019.

Swift Rail and Growing Cities

The UK could learn from Germany and its own experience in London’s Docklands when it comes to rail transport links, argue Dr Nicholas Falk and Reg Harman.This article first appeared in The International Light Rail Magazine in January 2016.

Swift Rail presentation to light rail conference

In this presentation Dr Nicholas Falk sets the context for Swift Rail and explains what it is a how it could work in the UK, with potential benefits and challenges.

Swift Rail and funding local rail transit through smarter growth

Many medium-size cities suffer from severe traffic congestion and poor accessibility, limiting their potential to improve their economy, environment, and social equity. These problems could be addressed by creating high-quality transit linking such cities with suburban and other catchment areas through use of existing rail lines and abandoned former railway alignments. This concept, termed ‘Swift Rail’, would call for an innovative approach to local railway and transport development. Reg Harman and Dr Nicholas Falk consider the options.

Financing Metroisation

Dr Nicholas Falk discusses how fairer sharing of the uplift in land values resulting from transport infrastructure improvements, can be used to fund the projects themselves.

Winning the Battle on the High Streets

Dr Nicholas Falk argues that if the UK wants a sustainable and prosperous future we need a radical change of course to address the combined adverse impacts on the centres of heart of our towns and cities of obesity of our citizens, climate change and Covid-19.

Planning Rapid Transit for Urban Recovery

Dr Nicholoas Falk argues that calls for greater equality or levelling up can never be met without long-overdue changes in the way that we plan and deliver local infrastructure projects. This article appeared in the March–April 2022 edition of Town & Country Planning.

Rapid Transit and Urban Recovery

On 19 May 2021, The Academy of Urbanism ran an online seminar aimed at drawing lessons from how rapid transit systems, such as trams and metros, can aid urban recovery in the light of declines in public transport usage and the need to cut congestion and meet carbon reduction targets. You can access more documentation and watch recordings of the presentations here.

Oxford Metro

This report proposes an integrated transport system for the English City of Oxford that could reduce dependence on the private car and encourage active travel and better forms of public transport to serve a city-region with twice the current population. Such an integrated system could support implementation of the Local Industrial Strategy and increased productivity whilst meeting challenges of congestion, pollution and inclusivity. The report also includes recommendations on innovative financing which will be essential as national resources will be extremely stretched.ontract from a major Chinese housing developer, following on from visits to exemplary projects in England, reviewed the meaning and application of ‘smart growth’ principles to urban development. A presentation was given in Hangzhou, and the reports draw on case studies of seven cities that are in the forefront of the digital economy.

Smarter Urbanisation and Rapid Growth

Cities need to change direction fast, if we are to satisfy our needs and retain our social values. As the world tips towards the East, and to ‘mega cities’ of more than 10 million inhabitants, countries such as the UK need to offer better models for how to manage growth. As capital has been growing at twice the rate of income for many decades, according to economists such as Thomas Piketty, the worst side effects are being felt by the young and the poor, who feel squeezed out. But we all complain of congestion, pollution and stress, despite the promised benefits of the Digital Revolution. What is to be done?

The URBED Trust is a not for profit company with charitable aims set up to promote research into the future of urban areas, and to disseminate best practice. Registered England & Wales, company number 01826806.

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