Urban Fold

Who Can Solve London's Great Challenges?

Against the backdrop of a made-for-tv mayoral election, Richard Florida looks at the litany of issues afflicting London as the city struggles with the deepest challenges it has faced since the Great Depression and post-war years.

As Ken Livingstone, the former mayor and "fiery socialist with a penchant for dropping explosive sound bites", faces off against Boris Johnson, "the tousled-haired, bike-riding conservative incumbent", in an election run-up resembling "a reality TV show," the reality of the pressing challenges facing the city could make for some rather dramatic television themselves.

"The city has been buffeted by the financial crisis, suffering more severe blows than most cities, from which it is still suffering." With the city's economic, media, and entertainment power weakening, and forecasted to decline further, "the next mayor will have to spearhead a plan to stave off growing competition from a host of global cities."

Florida describes a laundry list of additional challenges that the city's next mayor will have to address: from bolstering its high-tech economy to better connecting its educational institutions to the private sector and bridging the growing class divide.

"Whether Boris or Ken, London's next mayor is going to have to thread this needle - to make the city even more attractive to global talent and business while at the same time improving its livability and affordability for ordinary people. It's a daunting challenge - one that the city's future prosperity turns on."

Full Story: London's Next Top Mayor


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