The Bartlett School of Planning


Paul Hildreth

Research subject

Thesis title: Understanding the Contribution of Governance Institutions Towards Shaping Economic Geography of Place: a Local and National Perspective

Joint Primary supervisor: Mike Raco
Joint Primary supervisor: Nick Phelps
Starting date: October 2011
Projected completion date: December 2017

An examination of the contribution that governance institutions might make to the realisation of economic and social potential of sub-national places. This study will not just address the role of sub-national governance institutions in their geographical context. It will also consider the role of national government in its interaction with sub-national places and implications for multi-governance arrangements between the national and the local. Given claims that ‘the place-based approach is the new paradigm of regional policy’, modern place-based approaches will be important to the framework for study. Contrasts will be made with other institutional perspectives. The study will be given practical context through a detailed institutional case study focused around the Mersey Dee Alliance economic area crossing the national boundaries of England and Wales.


Paul is a UK and international advisor on cities, regions and local economies. He has a record of achievement in national policy work and in local economic development, governance and community leadership, from working in and with local, regional and national governments. His distinctive contribution is expertise in working across policy practice and academia.

He is Chair of the Policy Committee and Board Member of the Regional Studies Association, Associate Director of Mickledore regional development consultancy and Non-Executive Director of Cambridge Econometrics.  In 2014, he contributed to the Research Evaluation Framework of UK Universities (REF 2014) as a member of the Architecture, Build Environment and Planning Sub-Panel.

He has been an expert advisor to international (e.g. Council of Europe and OECD) and UK national organisations (e.g. Centre for Cities, Work Foundation, Department for Communities and Local Government, CABE), Visiting Policy Fellow at SURF at Salford University and Associate for the Centre for London.  He has published on regional policy, place-shaping, governance and localism, city-regions, medium-sized cities and sub-national economic policy.

He is undertaking a PhD part-time at the Bartlett School of Planning, UCL.

Publications and other work


Bailey, D., Hildreth, P. and de Propris, L. (2016) Beyond ‘Localism’? Place-Based Industrial and Regional Policy and the ‘Missing Space’ in England. In D. Bailey and L. Budd (Eds.), Devolution and the UK Economy, London: Rowman & Littlefield, 159-188.

Hildreth, P. (2016) The Evolving Roles and Relationships of Governments in Local Economic and Sustainable Development: The Case of the UK (and Particularly England). In E. Schoburgh, J. Martin, and S. Gatchair (Eds.), Developmental Local Governance - A Critical Discourse in 'Alternative Development, London: Palgrave MacMillan, 51-73.

Bailey, D., Hildreth, P. and de Propris, L. (2015) Mind the Gap! What Might a Place-Based Industrial and Regional Policy Look Like? In D. Bailey, K. Cowling and P. Tomlinson (Eds.) New Perspectives on Industrial Policy for a Modern Britain, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 287-308.

Hildreth, P. and Bailey, D. (2014) Place-based Economic Development Strategy in England: Filling the Missing Space, Local Economy, 29(4-5): 363-377.

Hildreth, P. (2014) Commitment to the City: Responding to the Cape Town Commitment on Cities, Lausanne Global Analysis, 3(2): 16-20. Available at: http://www.lausanne.org/docs/LGA/Lausanne-Global-Analysis-2014-03.pdf.

Hildreth, P. and Bailey, D. (2013) The Economics Behind the Move to ‘Localism’ in England, Cambridge Journal of Regions, Economic and Society, 6(2): 233-249.

Hildreth, P. (2013) Comparative Urban Futures: Spatial Networks for Sustainable Urban Development, MISTRA Urban Futures. Available at: http://ontheplatform.org.uk/article/comparative-urban-futures-spatial-ne....

Hildreth, P. and Bailey. D. (2013) ‘Place-Based’ Economic Development Strategy – What does this mean for English Local Growth? in Ward, M and Hardy S (eds.), What Next for Local Enterprise Partnerships, London: The Smith Institute and Regional Studies Association, 96-103. Available at: https://smithinstitutethinktank.files.wordpress.com/2014/11/where-next-for-local-enterprise-partnerships.pdf.

Bolton, T. and Hildreth, P. (2013) Mid-Sized Cities, London: Centre for Cities.  Available at: http://www.centreforcities.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/13-06-18-Mid-Sized-Cities.pdf

Hildreth, P. and Bailey, D. (2012) What Are the Economics Behind the Move to Local Economic Partnerships? in Ward, M and Hardy S (eds.), Changing Gear – is Localism the New Regionalism, London: The Smith Institute and Regional Studies Association, 25-34, available at: https://smithinstitutethinktank.files.wordpress.com/2014/11/changing-gear.pdf 

Hildreth, P. (2011) What is Localism, and What Implications Do Different Models Have for Managing the Local Economy?  Local Economy, 26(8): 702-714.

Hildreth, P. A. (2009) Understanding ‘New Regional Policy’: What is Behind the Government’s Sub-National Economic and Regeneration Policy for England? Journal of Urban Regeneration and Renewal, 2(4): 318-336.

Hildreth, P. A. (2009) City Relationships: Economic Linkages in Northern City Regions – Liverpool City Region, The Northern Way (Work Foundation, SURF and Centre for Cities). Available at: http://www.centreforcities.org/publication/city-relationships-economic-l...

Jones, A., Clayton, N., Hildreth P. and Levy, L (2009) City Relationships: Economic Linkages in Northern City Regions, The Northern Way (Work Foundation, SURF and Centre for Cities). Available at: http://www.centreforcities.org/publication/city-relationships-economic-l...

Lucci, Paula and Hildreth, Paul (2008) City Links: Integration and Isolation Centre for Cities. Available at http://www.centreforcities.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/08-03-18-City-Links-NS.pdf  

Hildreth, P. A. (2007) The Dynamics of ‘Place-Shaping’: The Changing Rationale for Urban Regeneration, Journal of Urban Regeneration and Renewal, 1(3):  227-239.

Hildreth, P. A. (2007), Understanding Medium-Sized Cities, Town & Country Planning, 76 (5): 163–167.

Hildreth, P. A. (2006) Roles and Economic Potential of English Medium-Sized Cities: A discussion paper. Commissioned by OECD and submitted as a MSc dissertation to the School of Public Policy, Birmingham University. Available at: https://www.linkedin.com/in/paul-hildreth-34b65623?trk=hp-identity-photo.

Conference presentations and invited lectures

Place, economy and manufacturing in the ‘city’ and the ‘region’, (with Bailey, D.), Regional Studies Association Winter Conference, London (2016).

Democratic governance of metropolitan areas, European Committee on Democracy and Governance, Council of Europe, Strasbourg, France (2016).

Studying firms, understanding the Mersey Dee Alliance: advanced manufacturing, Flintshire Business Week, Soughton Hall (2016).

Impact! Perspectives from policy and a recent research evaluation exercise, Regional Studies Association Annual Conference, Graz, Austria (2016).

Wrexham, North East Wales, Northern Powerhouse and beyond, Wrexham Business Professionals, Wrexham (2016).

Reflections on metropolitan governance, European Committee on Democracy and Governance, Council of Europe, Strasbourg, France (2015).

A framework for understanding local governance, Institut National des Etudes Territorial (INET), Strasbourg, France (2015).

The contribution of governance institutions to shaping the geography of place, Regional Studies Association European Conference, Piacenza, Italy (2015).

Reflections on institutions, place and policy: a local and national perspective, Regional Studies, Regional Science Early Years Conference (Plenary Speaker), Sheffield (2014).

Understanding the contribution of governance institutions toward shaping economic geography of place, Regional Science Association International British and Irish Section, Aberystwyth (2014).

Governance of cities for sustainable urban development, Regional Studies Association Global Conference, Fortaleza, Brazil (2014).

Economics behind ‘localism’, University of Coventry (2013).

Economic linkages and Outer-London: integration or isolation, London School of Economics and Centre for London (2011).

Key principles of local self-governance in Europe, National Conference, Yerevan, Armenia (2011).