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  #1  
Old Posted May 8, 2012, 7:57 PM
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Other British Cities Need London Style Local Powers

City mayors need Boris-style powers


8 May 2012

By Peter Hetherington



Read More: http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/20...y&type=article

Metro Manchester Authority: http://www.agma.gov.uk/

Quote:
London is the only city in England that gives its mayoral administration the power and prestige it needs to perform its role successfully. The other cities must follow suit.

- Thankfully, a few cities and surrounding conurbations – notably Greater Manchester, with its new "combined authority" – have shown remarkable initiative to develop new forms of governance across council boundaries and between parties to drive forward local economies without any prompting by central government. They remain the exception. Ministers were placing great faith in nine referendums in major cities to gain approval for directly elected mayors, with the promise of full-blown elections in November. But only Bristol, a "hung" council with six leaders in 10 years, said yes.

- The problem, acknowledged by Liberal Democrat peer Lord [John] Shipley, former Newcastle city council leader and cities adviser to the government, is that voters were unconvinced by the case for an elected mayor – because no one had explained what problem needed solving. In fact, the wider problem – articulated best by Darren Johnson, a Green party member of the London assembly – is that the government's focus was too narrow. Rather than mayors for single councils, why not conurbation-wide mayors with powers similar to those enjoyed by Boris Johnson over transport, strategic planning, housing, policing and, increasingly, the economy?

- In the Town and Country Planning Association journal, the planner Sir Peter Hall recounts that in 1966 a law in France required its 14 largest provincial cities to establish a new kind of metropolitan authority to overcome the fragmentation of local power. A political consensus across council boundaries was hammered out to propel the once-depressed Lille city-region, with a population of 1.1 million, on to the European stage. With a mixture of local taxes and government grants, its economy was transformed.

- In France today – with strong mayors or city regions, often both – the national economy is proving more balanced than in Britain, with wealth and power spread more evenly across the country, rather than concentrated in one capital. As Hall points out, the moral is that UK city mayors have to embrace a much wider area if they are to prove successful.

- All of which raises the issue of how the government responds to the resounding no votes in nine mayoral referendums. David Cameron recently promised a mayors' cabinet to drive forward a new policy for cities. Will it still function? And, crucially, where now for urban policy? For that, we will have to wait for the likely departure of the local government secretary, Eric Pickles, in a forthcoming reshuffle.

.....



Boris Johnson with David Cameron at City Hall, London, following Johnson's re-election as the mayor of London. Photograph: Stefan Rousseau/PA

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  #2  
Old Posted May 9, 2012, 10:35 AM
CyberEric CyberEric is offline
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Sort of off topic, but is Boris Johnson the mayor of London the City or Greater London, and if so, where are its political boundaries?
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  #3  
Old Posted May 9, 2012, 11:24 AM
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I'm fully in favour of all cities across the UK having their own mayor, however I think the approach taken to bring them in across the country was highly flawed.

Councillors resisted them, the scope was limited, positives weren't explained, and the average voter came under the belief that the roles were simply only to create a gravy conveyor belt for MP's.



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Sort of off topic, but is Boris Johnson the mayor of London the City or Greater London, and if so, where are its political boundaries?
Boris is the 'Mayor of London' however this is London defined as 'Greater London'; the 1,572 km2 area that stretches from Heathrow in the west, to Dagenham in the east, and Enfield in the north, to Croydon in the south. Greater London is composed of the 32 London Boroughs and the City of London. However it should be noted that the area is smaller than either the urban or metro area.

Technically, and rather confusingly Greater London contains two cities: the City of London (2.90km2) which is the original Londinium settlement, and the City of Westminster (21.48km2).

Since 1189 the City of London has had its own mayor, however with the creation of the Mayor of London role covering Greater London, this title is now referred to as the Lord Mayor or London. The Lord Mayor of London (currently David Wootton) is effectively a manager for the City of London Corporation who's jurisdiction is focused on the financially-focused Square Mile.
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  #4  
Old Posted May 9, 2012, 12:06 PM
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More power to local governments? The governments that are more often than not elected on anti-development/change platforms?

No thanks.
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  #5  
Old Posted May 9, 2012, 12:47 PM
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Britain and France are quite unique in the sense of the gap between the primary city and the others. I can't think of any other countries so dominated by their primary city.

There is a huge drop off between London and the secondary cities (is Manchester or Birmingham next on the list? Glasgow? In Canada, you never hear about secondary British cities unless for soccer or the Beatles [Liverpool]).

Ditto for Paris and the secondaries (Lyon, Marseille, etc.)

Whereas Italy (Milan, Rome, etc.), Germany (Berlin, Frankfurt, Munich, Hamburg, etc.), Spain (Madrid, Barcelona), etc. (not to mention, USA, Canada, Australia, Russia, etc.) are much less concentrated.
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  #6  
Old Posted May 9, 2012, 2:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nito View Post
Boris is the 'Mayor of London' however this is London defined as 'Greater London'; the 1,572 km2 area that stretches from Heathrow in the west, to Dagenham in the east, and Enfield in the north, to Croydon in the south. Greater London is composed of the 32 London Boroughs and the City of London. However it should be noted that the area is smaller than either the urban or metro area.

Technically, and rather confusingly Greater London contains two cities: the City of London (2.90km2) which is the original Londinium settlement, and the City of Westminster (21.48km2).

Since 1189 the City of London has had its own mayor, however with the creation of the Mayor of London role covering Greater London, this title is now referred to as the Lord Mayor or London. The Lord Mayor of London (currently David Wootton) is effectively a manager for the City of London Corporation who's jurisdiction is focused on the financially-focused Square Mile.
Thanks, I moved to London a few months ago and found this confusing, I appreciate the info. Are there actually official boundaries to Greater London that can be found on any map?

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Originally Posted by MolsonExport View Post
Britain and France are quite unique in the sense of the gap between the primary city and the others. I can't think of any other countries so dominated by their primary city.

There is a huge drop off between London and the secondary cities (is Manchester or Birmingham next on the list? Glasgow? In Canada, you never hear about secondary British cities unless for soccer or the Beatles [Liverpool]).

Ditto for Paris and the secondaries (Lyon, Marseille, etc.)
The other country I can think of is Argentina with Buenos Aires being perhaps even more dominant than Paris and London respective to the country in which it's found. Apologies for straying off topic.
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Old Posted May 9, 2012, 4:38 PM
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Originally Posted by MolsonExport View Post
Britain and France are quite unique in the sense of the gap between the primary city and the others. I can't think of any other countries so dominated by their primary city.
South Korea, Indonesia... Russia is pretty much dominated by Moscow (despite St Petersburg)
Then there's Malaysia, Thailand, Philipines, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Argentina, Peru, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Iran there's quite a lot actually.

Including smaller countries even more, every country in Scandinavia, Austria, nearly every country in Eastern Europe, Ireland, etc etc
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Old Posted May 9, 2012, 4:41 PM
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Originally Posted by CyberEric View Post
Thanks, I moved to London a few months ago and found this confusing, I appreciate the info. Are there actually official boundaries to Greater London that can be found on any map?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greater_London
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  #9  
Old Posted May 9, 2012, 4:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SHiRO View Post
South Korea, Indonesia... Russia is pretty much dominated by Moscow (despite St Petersburg)
Then there's Malaysia, Thailand, Philipines, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Argentina, Peru, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Iran there's quite a lot actually.

Including smaller countries even more, every country in Scandinavia, Austria, nearly every country in Eastern Europe, Ireland, etc etc
Ok, South Korea, absolutely. I was thinking more about large Western countries.
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Old Posted May 9, 2012, 5:57 PM
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So the other British Townships and Cities just have city councils that aren't elected then? Where they currently operate independently of the other city councils within the same county..
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Old Posted May 10, 2012, 7:28 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by M II A II R II K View Post
So the other British Townships and Cities just have city councils that aren't elected then? Where they currently operate independently of the other city councils within the same county..
No. All local councils are popularly elected, but there aren't really any directly elected executives. The set-up of local councils basically mirror how parliament is set up. What this article is talking about is introducing the seperation of the legislative from the executive (i.e. spinning of the executive into a directly-elected strong mayor type of local government), like it has been done in Greater London. Quite a few local governments that have been granted city status over the centuries have appointed Lord Mayors, but those are largely symbolic offices.
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Old Posted May 10, 2012, 10:26 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MolsonExport View Post
Britain and France are quite unique in the sense of the gap between the primary city and the others. I can't think of any other countries so dominated by their primary city.

There is a huge drop off between London and the secondary cities (is Manchester or Birmingham next on the list? Glasgow? In Canada, you never hear about secondary British cities unless for soccer or the Beatles [Liverpool]).

Ditto for Paris and the secondaries (Lyon, Marseille, etc.)

Whereas Italy (Milan, Rome, etc.), Germany (Berlin, Frankfurt, Munich, Hamburg, etc.), Spain (Madrid, Barcelona), etc. (not to mention, USA, Canada, Australia, Russia, etc.) are much less concentrated.
I think a primary reason for what you have mentioned comes down to the lack of image projection which itself is the result of having poorly concentrated and identifiable localised leadership.

If a city is unable to project its image, it is going to struggle in getting attention from central government, whether that be for more funding, greater control over city-wide expenditure or management of services. Let alone gain international recognition.

Network West Midlands as an example of this situation, is an exceptionally poor relative of Transport for London. Take the respective bus networks; Birmingham (and the surrounding area) has 46 operators carrying 300mn passengers per annum, London in contrast has 14 operators carrying 2,289mn per annum. Bus services across London are pretty much indistinguishable operating on the same Oyster fares. Birmingham in contrast requires a special multi-operator pass, and there is no established uniform livery scheme.

Granted, these are little issues taken on an individual basis, but together mount up to gross inefficiencies and wastage, are characteristics of a lack of joined-up thinking towards UK cities.

Ultimately there needs to be a complete redrawing of the political maps for UK cities. The OT article which refers to a Greater Manchester is a step in the right direction, but this is still rather piecemeal and again lacks the framework to ensure that it doesn’t fall apart. Only with clearly defined areas can mayoral positions and 'city' assemblies (as is the case in London) be created.
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Old Posted May 10, 2012, 5:15 PM
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Ok, South Korea, absolutely. I was thinking more about large Western countries.
Mexico is one, although I agree that it's not a good thing for the country to be so centralized.
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Old Posted May 11, 2012, 7:40 PM
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Originally Posted by BIMBAM View Post
Mexico is one, although I agree that it's not a good thing for the country to be so centralized.
A lot of countries have a one primate city that dominates the rest. as noted the smaller the country the more likely that is to be the case. Countries that are truly federal because they were designed that way (the USA) or a recent amalgamation of separate states (Itlay, germany) have an a more distribution of city sizes across their state.
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