Comparative urban futures: spatial networks for sustainable urban development

Hildreth, P. (2013). Comparative urban futures: spatial networks for sustainable urban development. (Mistra Urban Futures Greater Manchester Working Paper 2012). Gothenburg: Mistra Urban Futures.

Publication type
Report/Paper/Working paper/Brief
Comparing Urban Futures
Paul Hildereth
Published year



In brief:

• There are distinctive patterns (or waves) in the way that cities have pursued sustainable urban development (SUD) through spatial networks in a UK (English) context from 1990 until today.

• Post 2010, under the Coalition government’s form of localism, an increasingly complex and diversified picture is evolving in the approaches taken by cities towards SUD.

• It is clear that cities have an important role to play in the promotion of SUD and in the mitigation and adaptation to climate change.

• However, the capacities of cities to promote SUD are established crucially on long-term investment in the ‘place qualities’ of embedded knowledge, strong institutions, effective leadership and trusting network relationships. These may only be built up and sustained over time. The processes involved need to be much better understood, not just locally but also in central government.

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