University centre aims to support leaders in British cities

Published: 28 October 2008

The University of Glasgow is launching a network designed to bring together the leaders of cities to help them face the emerging challenges of the 21st century.

The University of Glasgow is launching a network designed to bring together the leaders of cities to help them face the emerging challenges of the 21st century.

The Centre for Leaders in City-Making will link senior political and professional leaders from the main cities of the UK and the Republic of Ireland with academics and policy thinkers.

Based at the University’s renowned Department of Urban Studies, the Centre aims to establish a model for modern European urban leadership.

Professor Trevor Davies, Centre Development Leader, said: “Cities are changing and becoming the lynchpins of our society and our economy. The central task of urban local government is changing too – no longer simply delivering local services within a national framework, but leading the whole city, making it ready to embrace an expanding role in this new global century.

“This emerging priority requires a deep understanding of the processes that form and challenge our cities today. It requires a command of a wide range of policy tools. And, most important, it requires sustained and skilled leadership.

“With the economy in turbulent times, the role of public sector leadership in cities becomes yet more important. City authorities will want to use all the skills and imagination at their command to restore confidence, re-build trustful relationships and sustain investment.

“The Centre for Leaders in City-Making provides urban leaders with the opportunity to acquire knowledge, understanding, insight, good policy examples, leadership skills and a network of peers.

“It will provide twice-yearly Leaders’ Schools and an Academic Resource and it facilitates a Cities Network. It also will publish research findings and policy developments.”

Sir Muir Russell, Principal of the University of Glasgow, said: “The Centre for Leaders in City-Making is an ambitious project and we believe that it will be of real benefit to civic leaders from the whole of the UK and beyond.

“This is a prime example of the University of Glasgow working with local government and the community to add value to the economy.”

Councillor Steven Purcell, Leader of Glasgow City Council, said: "The role of civic leaders has changed dramatically in recent years, with much more emphasis now being placed on partnership working and collaboration.

"As a result, local government should now provide a wider sense of leadership for cities.

"This new project is a fantastic opportunity for political and professional leaders to share their ideas, skills and experiences.

Ultimately, it will help improve the services that are delivered to the public."

The Centre will provide twice-yearly Leaders’ Schools, where civic leaders will have an opportunity to discuss issues and challenges with others from the sector, academics and policy-makers.

The Leaders’ Schools will also feature high-profile speakers from across the world who will give their views on cities and leadership.

The Centre will also publish research findings and policy developments.

The Academic Resource for the Centre has its focus in the University of Glasgow’s Department of Urban Studies.

The department is one of the largest centres for urban research in the UK with more than 30 academic and research staff, 20 doctoral students and 9 support staff. Its research is pursued through three groups:

    * Housing Research Group

    * Urban Change and Policy Research Group

    * Social Dynamics Research Group

The department has also been centrally involved in establishing the following externally funded research centres to catalyse new areas of research and consolidate them until they mainstream into the established portfolio of activities:

    * Centre for Public Policy for Regions

    * The Scottish Centre for Crime and Justice Research

    * ESRC Centre for Neighbourhood Research

    * Scottish Centre for Research on Social Justice

The Centre may also call on expertise in other departments of the Faculty of Law, Business and Social Science as well as elsewhere in the University of Glasgow and other institutions throughout the U.K.

For more information, contact Ray McHugh in the University of Glasgow Media Relations Office on 0141 330 3535 or email

First published: 28 October 2008

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