Four leading academics propose the ‘grounded city’ – where sustainable transport, accessible broadband and modest housing take precedence over ostentatious tower blocks. Our manifesto is about how the fairer city can be achieved by changing both the imaginary and the practice underlying economic and social policy. The central argument is that we can move towards a fairer city by reframing our problems and rethinking our solutions in two ways:
1. Break with the dominant old problem of the competitive city, which competes economically against other cities and sponsors internal competition for limited opportunities.
2. Stop fixating on redistributive policies which will not deliver fairness, and start thinking about reorganising policies which build a grounded economy in the areas which are not exposed to competition.
The global obsession of our age is competing everywhere with everyone for everything. In the mainstream imaginary, every city has to chase competitive success in a league table where it secures prosperity by getting ahead of others. Our premise is that competition is the wrong kind of imaginary; that we are trapped by an idea of the externally competitive city as a basis for economic success.