The role of placemaking in increasing UK productivity to be investigated

An All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) which aims to ensure issues surrounding housing are prioritised to tackle the shortage within the UK has launched a consultation to demonstrate how placemaking can lead to greater productivity in the UK.  

The APPG on Building Communities, which was only formed in the summer of 2018, is calling for contributions from all organisations with an interest in the built and natural environment to contribute to its new consultation.

As part of its remit, the APPG seeks to conduct research on the concept of ‘placemaking’ and investigate design practices that maximise the social value of infrastructure. In this way the APPG will build an evidence base that can be used by policy makers when engaging with the build and natural environment.   

APPG chairman, Bob Blackman MP for Harrow East, said: “More needs to be done to understand how places that are designed and delivered with space, health, accessibility, resilience and engagement in mind can be more productive places, driving inclusive growth with better economic and social outcomes across a city, region, nation, or the whole UK.  

“Creating areas that are aesthetically appealing, have good connectivity and are comfortable provides individuals with the opportunity to use the space most effectively. The interaction that happens in these spaces is also a key driver of a successful service economy, boosting productivity through access to knowledge and networks of people. Talented individuals working for highly productive industries, such as technology firms, are more likely to move to an attractive city or development.”  

Hannah Vickers, chief executive officer of the Association for Consulting and Engineering (ACE), which acts as secretariat to the APPG added: “We all recognise that the UK has a productivity gap that is a drag on our economic performance. Despite being the most productive economy in Europe in the 1960’s the UK has steadily fallen behind France, Germany and the United States. Within the UK, there is a 44% difference between the most and least productive cities. To combat this decline, the Government has launched the Industrial Strategy at a national level to help bridge the gap.  

“The APPG feels, however, that there is a local dimension to improving UK productivity that requires a greater focus on the role of the built environment. Our belief is that the UK needs to make productivity a more tangible part of the planning and design process at this local level to achieve improved economic results and thriving local economies.”   

Companies interested in hearing more about the consultation, or about the ongoing work of the APPG should contact Julian Francis, ACE director of External Affairs at  

If you would like to contact Ryan Tute about this, or any other story, please email