Successful cities

A report from the Centre for Cities finds that 8 of the 10 largest British cities have seen private sector jobs become more concentrated in their city centres. The result is that more than one third of jobs in large city centres are in knowledge intensive service activities, such as finance, law and marketing. In London this figure is almost 50 per cent. And in turn they are less reliant on retail, with retail jobs making up 9 per cent and 5 per cent of all jobs respectively.

But the opposite has occurred in medium and small sized cities. These cities, on average, have seen an increasing number of private sector jobs being based away from their city centres, with out-of-town employment sites playing a larger role in their economies. And fewer of their city centre jobs are in knowledge intensive activities – one quarter of jobs in the city centres of medium size cities are in this area, while the figure is one fifth for small cities. This in turn makes them more reliant on retail, which makes up at least 16 per cent of all jobs in each.

These findings are relevant for transport provision. The larger cities are becoming less reliant on the car for travel to their centres, where interaction between people is inhibited by traffic flows and parked cars, and where rail-based public transport offers speed and reliability.

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