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Meeting the implementation challenge

Alan Wilson

Professor Alan Wilson, UCL Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis

The Chancellor aims to support growth through, among others things, supporting business and reform of the planning system. The measures are very welcome but also remind me of the old adage: a good strategy is 5% of the job, implementation is 95%.

He did well in identifying potential growth sectors – advanced manufacturing, life sciences, creative industries, business services and green energy. He identified some means of support – particularly for the university sector through TICs – Technology and Innovation Centres.

Then there are two kinds of support that impact on the planning system – first, the re-invention of enterprise zones, one to be in London, the location to be in the gift of the Mayor, most likely to be in the Royal Docks. And a broader relative deregulation of the planning system by requiring it to support growth and jobs and with a ‘presumption in favour of sustainable development’.

So the strategy looks good. How do we meet the implementation challenge? The TICs are the latest in a long line of attempts to connect universities more closely with the kinds of sectors the Chancellor wants to support. Between us, we have to make it happen. We have to be more successful than we have been in the past and this means some serious innovative thinking about how to develop enterprise cultures within universities – and indeed for some sectors of industry to be more aware of what universities can in principle offer. This means achieving critical mass and the TICs need to be funded on a scale to achieve this.

An innovative response is also needed from the planners. The system is weak at the moment, responsive rather than pro-active, and a cultural change is need to achieve new objectives. We need to engage with the 95%-implementation challenge.

Alan Wilson is Professor of Urban and Regional Systems in the UCL Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis.  He can be contacted here.

Page last modified on 24 mar 11 16:43