Place

Infrastructure can improve the economic prospects of local areas and help to enhance the distinct identities of the places where we live, work, and enjoy life.

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Aerial view of Aberdeen as River Dee flows to the North Sea

Summary

The Commission adopts a place based approach to its thinking, reflecting the results of social research which showed 8 in 10 people believe good infrastructure is necessary to support a good quality of life.

Infrastructure helps form the identity of places as well as creating efficient links between them. Better transport infrastructure can alleviate bottlenecks to growth in congested areas and improve connectivity, while infrastructure improvements also have the potential, alongside other policies such as skills training, to increase growth in lower productivity areas and help efforts to level up the economy.

The role that infrastructure can play in levelling up economic opportunities across towns and cities in English regions is one of three strategic themes shaping the Commission’s work programme leading up to the second National Infrastructure Assessment. In the Baseline Report for that Assessment, the Commission committed to undertaking two projects on this topic: one on improving urban mobility and congestion, looking at the role of mass transit systems and also the potential of demand management such as through congestion charging; the other on the role of multi-modal interurban transport networks, looking at the investment they need and the potential role to be played by new technologies.

Our work on activity has close connections to our transport and digital themes. The recently completed study on Infrastructure, Towns and Regeneration for example considered how infrastructure, both transport and digital infrastructure, can support economic growth & better quality of life in towns as part of a long term place-based strategy. It recommended that government should make changes to the funding system to make it more flexible and better able to support councils in delivering their local and regional strategic growth plans.

The Commission’s Cities programme set out best practice approaches to help cities develop effective integrated infrastructure strategies, drawing on evidence from five case study cities which have already successfully created such a plan.

While the Commission’s remit does not include housing provision, we have advised government on how utility services can better support proposed housing developments and help enable the scale of house building needed to accommodate a growing population.

Data on place

A range of data sets relating to the theme of place is available to review on our Data pages. This includes data sets used in Commission reports, as well as historic data sets. Each can be reviewed online or downloaded. 

Review data

Latest Updates

National Infrastructure Assessment

National Infrastructure Assessment

An analysis of the UK’s long term economic infrastructure needs, outlining a strategic vision over the next thirty years.

15 Nov 2021
Commission pinpoints strategic gaps in infrastructure planning ahead of next landmark national assessment
Cover images from the Baseline Report

Commission pinpoints strategic gaps in infrastructure planning ahead of next landmark national assessment

The National Infrastructure Commission has announced the topics that will sit at the heart of its next major assessment of the UK’s long term infrastructure priorities, to be published in 2023, following analysis of the current performance of key sectors. The priorities will include identifying the infrastructure needed for hydrogen and carbon capture and storage...

15 Nov 2021 By
Second National Infrastructure Assessment: Baseline Report
Cover images from the Baseline Report

Second National Infrastructure Assessment: Baseline Report

Our analysis of the performance of key infrastructure sectors which will inform the work leading to the UK's second National Infrastructure Assessment

15 Nov 2021
Infrastructure, Towns and Regeneration
Night time cityscape of houses in Walsall, UK

Infrastructure, Towns and Regeneration

A study exploring how infrastructure investment can support economic prosperity and good quality of life in towns across the country.

23 Sep 2021
Fundamental shift in funding to local level needed to help level up English towns
Wetherby from the air

Fundamental shift in funding to local level needed to help level up English towns

Levelling up towns will require a shift in government’s approach from announcing multiple ringfenced pots of money – many of which councils must compete over – to instead handing power to local areas to deliver their own infrastructure strategies with five-year devolved budgets, according to the UK’s official infrastructure advisers. In a report launched today...

23 Sep 2021 By
Infrastructure, Towns and Regeneration
Wetherby from the air

Infrastructure, Towns and Regeneration

23 Sep 2021
PWC Towns social research study
blurred Large crowd of people

PWC Towns social research study

23 Sep 2021
The impact of infrastructure on quality of life – literature review
Blurred crowd of people on a UK high street

The impact of infrastructure on quality of life – literature review

23 Aug 2021
Bridget Rosewell speech to Westminster Social Policy Forum: Next steps for the Oxford-Cambridge Arc
Portrait of Bridget Rosewell

Bridget Rosewell speech to Westminster Social Policy Forum: Next steps for the Oxford-Cambridge Arc

The following is an edited transcript of remarks given by Bridget Rosewell, National Infrastructure Commissioner, at a virtual conference held on 26 March 2021 to discuss progress on the Oxford-Cambridge Growth Arc. “As we gather again to discuss progress on the Oxford-Cambridge arc, it is perhaps helpful to remember the exam question the Commission was...

29 Mar 2021 By
New study on infrastructure in towns
View of streets and houses British residential area from the air.

New study on infrastructure in towns

In its 2021 Budget, the government asked the Commission to undertake a new study looking specifically at the role of infrastructure in helping towns and urban areas outside major cities. The new study will have a particular focus on the role of transport and digital infrastructure in boosting economic regeneration and levelling up. More details...

3 Mar 2021 By
Commission welcomes next steps on Oxford-Cambridge Arc

Commission welcomes next steps on Oxford-Cambridge Arc

The National Infrastructure Commission has welcomed government’s announcement of next steps in developing a spatial framework for the Oxford-Cambridge Arc. The Commission explored the potential of the Arc and made recommendations for how to maximise the economic opportunities for local communities and businesses in a major study published in 2017. This week, government set out...

19 Feb 2021 By
Plans of action needed next to deliver strategic goals, says Commission
Montage of images representing infrastructure, including a woman charging an electric vehicle and a man wearing a mask using public transport

Plans of action needed next to deliver strategic goals, says Commission

Detailed plans for decarbonising energy supply, accelerating the roll out of electric vehicle charge points and connecting hard to reach areas with high capacity broadband are among the next steps needed to ensure government can deliver its aims for levelling up and meeting the net zero target, according to the National Infrastructure Commission. The Commission’s...

17 Feb 2021 By
Rail Needs Assessment for the Midlands and the North
Manchester Piccadilly station

Rail Needs Assessment for the Midlands and the North

15 Dec 2020
Better defining ‘levelling up’ is a crucial step to achieving it
Portrait of Professor Sir Tim Besley CBE

Better defining ‘levelling up’ is a crucial step to achieving it

Some form of regional inequality has been a persistent feature of the UK.  Not only are there profound differences between regions (i.e. North and South), there are also inequalities within regions. Pockets of low productivity and heightened levels of deprivation exist in both successful and unsuccessful places.  But these are not set in stone; changing...


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