If the other day I dedicated some notes to the new report Global Metro Monitor from Brookings, which comparatively analyzes the impact of the crisis on the large global metropolises, on this occasion I am going to mention another work analysis of urban economy. This is the Cities Outlook 2012 by Centre for Cities, a report to which I have also dedicated time on previous occasions. In this case, it is a work circumscribed to the British economy and its main urban nodes. The most remarkable thing this time, beyond the statistical results, is the progress they have made in generating a app to track your data. If on previous occasions this report already stood out from others of the same characteristics for providing graphic visualization solutions that are more advanced than average in this type of work (City Tracker), now they have once again taken a step forward. It is, once again, a good example of how data can be much more than data and documents if a bit of intelligence and design is provided to make it more “friendly” with those who consult it. I am thinking of the Database Municipal Economic Yearbook of La Caixa or at Data Economic and Social Reports of the Territorial Units of Caja España, which also presents annual data from municipal statistical information, and how these data could be used much better.
As always when we come across cities, the first caveats must be made in the order of what is defined as a city because, depending on the statistical definition taken, the data may vary. In any case, the big headlines in the report point to the fact that the recession is increasing the disparities between the different urban economies in the United Kingdom: the cities that came from a period of economic strength show relatively good economic indicators for these times, while the Cities that were already coming through difficult periods before the crisis are suffering more profoundly from the effects of the global crisis (the hypothesis of the north-south gap in unemployment, for example). Contrary to the Brookings report, this one uses a wide range of basic economic indicators and also others that shed great light on the qualitative components of the economies of the different cities, thus including the educational profile of the population, participation in activities of science and technology, the rate of creation of startups or even CO2 emissions. This breadth in the selection of indicators makes a very complete picture of the reality and evolution of cities.