Connectivity and tackling the challenges facing our Places
The last 3 years have been traumatic and yet transformational for public services across the UK, battling the COVID-19 pandemic whilst also trying to sustain economies and our places and then bringing them back from the deep freeze of lockdown to normality.
For local government, we have seen the rediscovery of our role in place-shaping, economic survival and growth and in enabling communities to support each other. The 3 core drivers of local government remain: the protection of the vulnerable, increasing prosperity and ensuring we live, work, learn and play in welcoming and vibrant places.
2020 and 2021 also brought technology and Digital to the fore in service delivery for businesses and the public sector and how and where we live and work. For the first few months, the mantra was about the “new normal” of working from home and frequent shopping online and both have become mainstream in 2022 in the forms of hybrid working, hybrid retail and hybrid learning. Despite the best efforts of some technology legends like Elon Musk and more traditional politicians demanding the return of their workforces to the office full-time, the overwhelming majority is for keeping the transformation.
Alongside COVID we face a longer-term challenge: Climate Change. COP26 brought the need to change back into sharp focus along with the harsh reality that time is short, if not too late.
These raise some significant challenges for our Places and communities and here are just a few to be getting on with:
- What do we do with town centers designed for in-person shopping?
- How do the economics of transport work for flexible travel?
- How do cities cope with smaller daytime populations?
- How do we contain and reverse the drivers of Climate Change?
- How can we improve the quality of life in our homes?
27 July 2022