Sunday, 5 June 2011

Brighton (and Hove?): A Supercity?

A report published last week floated the idea of Brighton as a British “Supercity”. HSBC’s “The Future Of Business: The Changing Face Of Business In 21st Century Britain” charts the change of focus from the ‘culture capitals’ of the last decade (Cardiff, Newcastle, Gateshead, London and Liverpool working with so-called ‘starchitects’ such as Norman Foster, Richard Rogers and Wilkinson Ayre) to cities of innovation, technology and wireless connectivity. Such attributes are predicted to see the rise of ‘supercities’ such as Newcastle, Leeds, Liverpool and Brighton over the next 20 years. These supercities “will derive their status, income and prestige from new economy income streams such as biotech, stem cell, innovation, gaming and even alternative work practices and business models.” Always a quirky city, the report states that Brighton is becoming “the deregulation capital of the UK” where “82% of entrepreneurs, many based in the so-called MDMA industries (marketing, design, media and advertising), believe that regulations and work-related legislation is a threat to their new entrepreneurial abilities.” A bit of a skewed sample, maybe?
As the report goes on, “Our super cities promise to change the traditional national and regional power bases in the UK because of their proximity to the one thing that does not depend on natural resources: knowledge. But this is knowledge in the 21st century - a notion driven by science, technology, culture, creativity, behavioural economics and, more importantly, an open-source approach to innovation that is turning creative towns, such as Brighton, into alternative economic and innovation powerhouses.” Pleased to see the reference to behavioural economics in there, although the report doesn’t shed much light on why it was included.

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