The role of national government – some thoughts

To convene
National government has strong convening power – look at this event today (UK-China Sustainable Urbanisation Conference).

In the UK the national government has created the Smart Cities Forum to bring together those involved in policymaking, research and practice around Smart Cities. The Government Office for Science has brought together cities across the UK in its popular City Visions network. A Future Cities Forum could continue this effort, perhaps merging with the Smart Cities Forum to integrate the national effort.

To set standards
We have already heard about the need for common standards in urban policymaking. The British Standards Institute and the Future Cities Catapult are creating a set of Future Cities Standards to provide a common reference platform.

To connect towns and cities
Individual towns and cities do not work in isolation. They form networks, with people ebbing and flowing between them every day. National government can help emphasise the importance of network thinking, thinking about the national system of cities.

To finance
Some projects are too big for local purses.

To step back
And let local places get on with the process of delivery.

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