Moving Forward: The Northern Way

From October 2008 to October 2010
Project Leader(s): Ranald Richardson
Staff: John Tomaney, Andy Pike and Mike Coombes
Contact: Ranald Richardson
Sponsors: Northern Way
Partners: Spatial Economics Research Centre (SERC)

The Northern Way invited the Centre for Urban and Regional Development Studies (CURDS) and the Spatial Economics Research Centre (SERC) to prepare a strategic analysis bringing together leading academics and policy thinkers in urban and regional development to consider the development issues facing regions like the North of England in the coming years.

This is an exceptionally challenging moment to consider the future of the Northern Economy. During the past 15 years, development policy was largely delivered in a context of economic growth. But, together with the rest of the world, the North is confronting a series of linked 'turning points'. In addition to the current downturn and the potential restructuring of the financial system and public sector spending, they include climate change and resource pressures, demographic change, accelerating technological change, the development of the knowledge economy, and geopolitical changes that will reshape relationships between countries and regions.

In this context, the focus of the analysis is on longer term underlying structural economic issues which will be relevant beyond the current recession. As part of the project, the Northern Way held a major Symposium to contribute to this analysis in Manchester at the Lowry Centre on 25th and 26th March 2010. The event involved presentations by an array of CURDS staff, including Andy Pike, John Goddard, Mike Coombes, Nick Henry, John Tomaney and Ranald Richardson.

To support this symposium and provide a strong basis for the analysis, CURDS - led by John Tomaney and Ranald Richardson - gathered contributions from key regional policy thinkers around two sets of key papers.

The first address the 'turning points' outlined above and will provide an overview of the main trends and issues. They consider how these will affect regional economic development processes in future and reflect on the implications for regions like the North of England.

Turning Points Papers

The second set of papers address priority policy issues for the North of England itself. These include innovation, labour markets, connectivity and investment - as well as 'contexts and legacies' - land use, built environment, place diversity, and governance frameworks within the North of England. They synthesise existing knowledge on the areas and reflect from the 'bottom up' on whether and how the hypothesised 'turning points' will impact upon these particular policy domains in future. They identify key opportunities and challenges to which the North should respond.

Drivers and Assets Papers
 Copies of the papers are available to download from the Northern Way website, at:


Professor Mike Coombes
Prof. of Geographic Information

Professor Andy Pike
Professor of Local and Regional Development; Director of CURDS

Ranald Richardson
Principal Research Associate