Policy and governance

Cities are a complex and dynamic interaction between people, systems and resources. The extent to which we choose to make our cities ‘liveable’ forms the basis of an ever-evolving set of policy decisions, coupled with appropriate governance systems to make sure that those policies are being adhered to and are achieving their intended aim.

We need to fully understand not only the best use of policy in the implementation of well-engineered design solutions, but the extent to which policy itself will need to be re-engineered if it is to be fit for purpose in the context of future city liveability. Many of the structures and accepted norms within policy-making are based on an outdated understanding of cities and the way they work.

Within the sphere of policy-making and city governance, each decision made will be the result of a unique mix of imperatives (including timescales and deadlines), motivations, values, targets and stakeholders. It would be naïve to assume that it is possible to draw all the policies affecting a city into one coherent integrated policy set. A more pragmatic approach is to tease out the underlying values, trajectories and drivers for policy decisions, and use the common ground between them to create a holistic framework on which each policy can be hung, demonstrating synthesis whilst allowing for difference and flexibility.

It is therefore less important to ensure that all activities are aligned in terms of timescale, milestones, boundaries and parameters and more useful to ensure that the majority of activities are contributing to an overarching long-term vision. The quality of this vision – and in particular, the values underlying it – is the primary tool in joined-up policy-making.

Along with such clear motivations for re-engineering the machinery of policy-making, it is necessary too to reflect on how individual cities can re-animate their own decision-making machines. With the pre-requisite of a strong and long-term underlying vision, it is obvious that principles, values and beliefs are of crucial importance. These will be intrinsic to a community and are in part a reflection of the character of that community. In more diverse cities, there may be more difference than common ground, so working together will require strong leadership and a high level of investment in communication.

Research Theme Team

Brian Collins Brian Collins
Co-investigator UCL
No picture available Ellie Cosgrave
Researcher UCL
Katie Barnes Katie Barnes
Researcher UCL
No picture available Andrew Chilvers
Researcher UCL
No picture available Nicole Badstuber
PhD Student UCL
No picture available Paul Honeybone
PhD student Policy and Governance

Expert Panellists

No picture available Jim Clifford
Baker Tilly Corporate Finance LLP
No picture available Lizzie Crowley
The Work Foundation
Susan Juned Susan Juned
Greenwatt Sustainable Solutions
No picture available Karen Leach
Localise West Midlands

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Professor Brian Collins at INCOSE 2013

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Professor Brian Collins takes a look at the work of the Liveable Cities project; what do we need to consider when engineering our cities of the future?   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a4LTutpeamI&feature=youtu.be