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Connecting up embedded knowledge across Northern Powerhouse cities

Straulino, Daniel; Froy, Francesca; Schwanen, Tim; O’Clery, Neave; (2023) Connecting up embedded knowledge across Northern Powerhouse cities. Environment and Planning A: Economy and Space 10.1177/0308518x231159108. (In press). Green open access

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Abstract

One of the driving rationales behind plans for major transport investment between Northern UK cities is that of connecting labour pools. Integrated labour pools, the argument goes, will give rise to agglomeration economies and subsequent growth. Behind this logic lies the idea that access to complementary skills in neighbouring cities will yield benefits for firms. Yet, at what travel time radius is access to these skills beneficial? Can a better understanding of this inform our assessment of the likely economic impact of proposed transport investments and subsequent reductions in travel times? Here we develop a method to estimate this radius based on the relationship between industry employment growth in a city and the size of employment in ‘skill-related’ sectors. Assuming car or rail travel, we find that for Northern cities the radius is around 45  min while for the South it is around 110  min. Manufacturing peaks around 45  min for the whole UK, including both North and South. Services, however, peak around 110  min in the South but 70  min in the North. A comparison between the UK’s Integrated Rail Plan and earlier proposals to invest in High Speed 2 rail and Northern rail connections uncovers lost opportunities for employment growth in Manchester, Leeds and Sheffield. This study provides a road-map for the deployment of methods from Evolutionary Economic Geography, originally developed to predict regional and urban growth and diversification processes as a function of the local skill mix, to evaluate the potential gains from transport infrastructure schemes.

Type: Article
Title: Connecting up embedded knowledge across Northern Powerhouse cities
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1177/0308518x231159108
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1177/0308518X231159108
Language: English
Additional information: © The Author(s) 2023. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 License (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/).
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of the Built Environment
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of the Built Environment > Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10166383
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