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The Case for Scenarios in London Planning: the example of migration policies Ian Gordon LSE London and Spatial Economics Research Centres, HEIF4 Development.

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Presentation on theme: "The Case for Scenarios in London Planning: the example of migration policies Ian Gordon LSE London and Spatial Economics Research Centres, HEIF4 Development."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Case for Scenarios in London Planning: the example of migration policies Ian Gordon LSE London and Spatial Economics Research Centres, HEIF4 Development Workshop on ‘London’s Future: a Scenario Approach’ LSE, 29 th October 2010

2 ‘Making a Drama out of a Strategy’ – or ‘keeping to the script’ ? A decade of Mayoral planning in London → recurring pleas for consideration of alternative futures –first as reaction against Livingstone Plan’s: deterministic high growth assumptions (‘vision’) and lack of Plan B if infrastructure funding was unavailable –now – more vocally – at EiP on Johnson DRLP: in relation to potential long term impacts of financial crisis anticipated cuts in pub. exp. + ‘smaller state’ limits on immigration from outside EU (less emphasised) Arguments so far brushed aside, because: –current assumptions are the best available –previous experience with scenarios added nothing –‘plan, monitor, manage’ (PPM) will provide all necessary flexibility –Plan needs to provide certainties to investors / funders / neighbours / CG

3 Why Scenarios are Needed for Strategic Planning Case for thinking (hard) about alternative scenarios is not just: –that there is an inbuilt expansionist bias in LP’s reading of trends; –or that recent economic/political shifts may have big LT implications But that a strategic approach going beyond simple accommodation of immediately observable trends (now or later via PPM) involves: –A wider perspective, on fundamental processes, situations that may have to be faced and how planned actions could impinge on these –Clarifying relation between goals, fundamental values/ priorities and (uncertain) reality judgements about change and impacts of actions –Analysing how separate interventions / policies are liable to interact – via the ways that private individuals / firms respond to these To do this requires a set of coherent ‘stories’ about how different paths of development (not just trends) might emerge, via both: –serious exercises of imagination (distinct from default internal view) + –An evidence-based understanding of how key cause-effect relations work Even more these would be pre-requisites for any more democratic approach to long-term planning in London

4 Some Issues Needing Attention Baseline scenario: –As best guess still prob. too ‘optimistic’ about scale of London growth (in jobs at least – cf. productivity) but key to recognise: Likely repetition of strong boom-bust cycles (despite mild present one) Continuing wide margins of uncertainty about trend (± 100%) Some ‘canonical variations’ –A set of threats to underlying conditions particularly boosting London’s competitive position over past 20 years (LPUK 2009): Financial re-regulation; a more sustainable UK macro/trade -strategy; northern revanchism in reaction to cuts vs City bailout –Two Coalition policy emphases with potential LT implications; From big state / welfare to big society (in relation to regeneration and social geography of London housing (cf. Blair CabOff report) Major curtailment of immigration into UK – will take as example since (think) connects with some of problems underlying neglect of scenarios

5 Thinking Strategically about London Impacts of Tighter Migration Controls Coalition policies involve an annual limit on non-EU econ migrants –Conservatives at least expect reduction of UK net flow below 100,000 p.a. as in (most) 1990s rather than c. 200,000 as in 2000s –Potentially major impacts on London housing and labour markets But components of population change in London are complex: –Births have become largest (positive) element –Substantial continuing (net) outward migration to rest of UK /GSE –Very uneven effects by age & all components causally linked: Out-moving families reduce impact of London births Out-moving older people die somewhere else International migrants effectively displace 50% as many domestic migrants Plan attributes upsurge in population growth since 1988 to impact of in- movement of people of child-bearing age on births –May be politic –But key element in acceleration has been international migration in young working age groups And this is key to housing, labour market and planning implications

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7 What Might a Reversal of this Change Imply? Non-EU flow already cut back by drop in refugee admissions: –Effectively reversing rest of growth cannot be taken for granted –But simple arithmetic implies gross reduction of 50k p.a. If 50% displacement rate continued for new arrivals (?) would imply a net change over Plan period of c. 650 k So potentially very large effect – but how it actually plays out depends on (scarcely examined) set of housing market processes –Also true of repercussions for child population numbers –And of developments at bottom end of London labour market Where induced fall in wages seems to have induced job growth But also (probably) contributed to level of voluntary worklessness in London One candidate then for serious examination in scenario terms –But lack of attention so far exemplifies two rather general points: Issues may be neglected because it is impolitic to address them directly; Needs much more effort to uncovering cause-effect connections and their strengths to get anywhere useful

8 Conclusion Many different reasons to give more attention now to serious scenario work for London planning Even if, as I tend to think: – short-medium term impacts of cuts on economy likely to be much worse elsewhere; and –long term prospects for city remain pretty good Given the political functions of the Plan: – may be bit naïve to expect any version of to give great attention to potential down-sides or many alternative views But PPM is not an adequate/strategic response to real / continuing uncertainties: –this needs serious wotk on some ‘canonical’ alternatives –especially if anything is to be done about the major ‘democratic deficit’ for this - primarily strategic - authority


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