London School of Economics and Political Science: The power of the social sciences: how LSE Cities is helping “level up” the UK

Social scientists are making powerful and practical contributions to “levelling up” cities, regions or countries in the UK. This is the key message of a new report by the Academy of Social Sciences, which uses research centre LSE Cities as a case study to illustrate how researchers are working to improve economic and social outcomes in different parts of the UK.

With “levelling up” currently a key concern of the UK government, the report explores how university-based social scientists are working to improve social and economic outcomes in local areas, businesses and public services. LSE Cities, an international and inter-disciplinary research centre at the School, is one of 24 case studies brought together in the report.

Professor Ricky Burdett, Director of LSE Cities, said: “As a relative newcomer to one of the leading centres of social science, LSE Cities is delighted to be singled out as one of the ‘places to be’ that are improving social outcomes in local areas through research, education and impact. Our interdisciplinary approach investigates how cities can be planned, managed and governed to respond to the challenges of social justice, well-being and the environment. It is an honour to be recognised by the Academy of Social Sciences.”

The report focuses on LSE Cities as an example of the way researchers are focusing on challenges that arise in a number of areas, including how to “level up” cities outside London. The authors write: “LSE Cities has undertaken projects on high-density housing in different contexts, trends and futures for urban mobility, and work on possible future scenarios in some UK cities or boroughs after COVID-19. It works with the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) to consider housing and transport policies that could have positive social and environmental impacts in city development and planning.

“It also has an extensive portfolio of work with various international cities, ensuring that thinking about UK cities is kept in touch with wider international developments.”

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