A fundamental question facing policy-makers turns on whether digital technologies and advanced analytics can help overcome the geographical and historical inequalities in economic distribution, which appear to powerfully lock‐in trajectories of economic, social and cultural development.
Within cities, a lot of expertise is located within departmental silos, while city growth and development requires working across these to address the interdependencies between key challenges. Very often, decision-making is dependent on political dynamics, rather than on data and analytics driven evidence.
Between cities and regions, a similar problem exists: the problems facing individual cities do not exist in isolation, and their inter-city dynamics, often not based on pre-defined administrative boundaries, are complex, interdependent processes for which coherent data or analytics do not exist to be readily used.
At the national scale all this becomes relevant particularly against the backdrop of the recent series of devolution agreements and city deals, designed to devolve financial and policy-making responsibilities to select city regions and address the historical issue of North-South regional economic imbalances, but without a coherent mechanism to share knowledge between global and local level.