We’ve been very busy in spring 2022, so here’s a brief update on what we’ve been doing.

A key area of activity has been to assist our friends & colleagues at METREX develop a new vision and strategy for Europe’s metropolitan areas in the period to 2050. Over the spring we’ve been developing ideas in collaboration with key partners and colleagues, such as METROPOLIS, EMA, INTA, UN-HABITAT and Àrea Metropolitana de Barcelona, in Marseille, Barcelona and Torino and remotely online. The new 2050 Vision will reflect the challenges Europe is currently facing on climate change, energy production & consumption, migration & inequality and digitalisation – and now – continental security. These are complex and interrelated issues: many transcend the historical territorial boundaries of Europe of ‘states’, ‘regions’ and ‘municipalities’, and don’t align with the reality that the dynamic driving urban-rural relationships is at the metropolitan scale. However we don’t believe this is the current fixed territorial definition of metropolitan areas (eg. FUA, NUTS, etc), because the physical manifestation of “boundaries” morph and change with each individual metropolitan function: The COVID-19 pandemic has been a perfect illustration of this: in this period the physical location of metropolitan economic activity has stretched far beyond previous geographical boundaries, whilst other functions, such as mobility, significantly contracted their footprint. In this way our new proposed definition of ‘metropolitan areas or regions’ is more an attitude and state of mind than a fixed geographical entity.

We’ve developed an initial Positioning Statement, and will be helping METREX and other partners in the co-creation of the full Vision over the summer and autumn, and an associated delivery & investment programme.

We’ve also been supporting a client in the UK in the final intensive stages of development of a major ‘Freeport’ waterfront regeneration initiative. Our involvement has now ended, but we look forward to seeing the UK Government announcing the success of their investment bid in the summer.

Our Director Kerri has also been a busy bee, progressing research on her PhD on the impact of COVID-19 on city planning, design and governance.