Future role of Towns and Cities


PERN: A Response to the Covid-19 Pandemic

Co-led by academics at the University of Leeds, the Place-based Economic Recovery Network (PERN) brings together experts from West Yorkshire Combined Authority (WYCA), Leeds City region Enterprise Partnership, ‘Yorkshire Universities’ (YU), and universities within and outside of Yorkshire, with the aim of playing a key role as ‘anchor institutions’ in regional recovery and development.

As a forum for idea exchange on a range of policy issues, PERN aims to shape and influence the policy landscape, supporting strategic partners in the design and development of a solutions-focused approach to COVID-19 recovery efforts. PERN will be an ongoing source of independent academic advice, data, analysis, ideas, initially for WYCA/LEP (and for other bodies, including Local Authorities).

Visit the website for further information.

The future of town and cities

We will be producing a report that examines the following:

  • What does the future towns and cities look like post-COVID with the accelerated further contraction of retail and now office space, but a resurgence of local smaller scale retail offer?
  • Will they fulfil the same role and function as they did pre-pandemic?
  • What are the opportunities and what actions need to be taken?
  • What role can digital play in reimagining these spaces/places?

We will synthesise the latest theory and evidence base on this topic, drawing on the diverse expertise of participants from a previous PERN webinar series (which informed the West Yorkshire Economic Recovery Plan), working with WYCA officers, and reaching out to relevant local authority officers.

This work was supported with funding from Research England QR-SPF. Funding from Research England QR-SPF was also used to support a Capabilities in Academic-Policy Engagement (CAPE) Fellow, who in turn will be supporting PERN.

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