Cities all over Europe are beginning to plan how they can respond to the crisis and also use the opportunity (immortalised by Rahm Emanuel, Chief of Staff for President Obama, ‘you never want a good crisis to go to waste’) because, as he argues, it is an opportunity to do things that you wouldn’t be able to do normally.
In the UK cities are facing rapidly growing unemployment which is hitting young people especially hard. Cities are responding to the crisis by thinking of how they can use their available Working Neighbourhood Fund money and the new Future Jobs fund to create schemes to provide employment to this new generation.
OECD and Eurocities have already surveyed their members to find examples of emergent practice in this field. So far it looks as though Seoul is breaking the mould by focusing 90% of its recovery package on smart green growth. Europe may be some way behind.
The key issues are going to be:
- How to maximise the local impact of public procurement to reduce unemployment
- How to develop sectors (such as green energy installation) that are agile and future proof
- How to devise programmes that maximise the potential of the social economy and voluntary sector to add value and reach deep into communities
- and how to managing all of this rapid change