Making sense in and of dystopia... 

The major changes that 2016 brought globally and nationally surely make local prosperity ever harder to sustain and achieve. 

When serious political discourse on the two most irrational and unstable world leaders inevitably gravitates towards Donald Trump and  Kim Jong-un, the international context is not going to be very positive. When the UK Government's overriding priority strategy is to detach ourselves from our nearest, most important neighbours in an acrimonious, complex and messy divorce, we know national government is going to give no more than sporadic and inconsistent attention to the challenges facing cities and communities.    

Do we give up in despair or double our efforts to be relevant and helpful in this most difficult of periods? Do we focus on strategies for survival and 'just good enough' solutions to prevent us going backwards? Or do we continue to strive for progressive and positive progress against the challenges of the era and the immediate future?

I still believe passionately that better leadership of place can enable and support improved results for cities and communities. I will always try to give those leaders the advice and analysis that helps them take informed decisions, and thereafter be available to assist in executing, and gaining buy in/followership, to those decisions.

The consequences of the dystopian choices of 2016 will shape the foreseeable future negatively for many years to come. But the turnaround will have to start locally. I will be proud to make a constructive contribution to that process... 

Need to build a new narrative for 2017? 


Working with those passionate about sustainable economic growth, development and regeneration to...

Define and formulate strategies for delivering vibrant economies in successsful places

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Build the public, private and third sector relationships to achieve tangible buy-in to economic priorities

Strengthen institutional capacity and capability to plan and manage growth, development and regeneration

Mobilise and deploy resources creatively and effectively to deliver your 'big ticket' investments

Third Life Economics, with over 25 years of public policy, practice and leadership experience, can help you to build and then implement tailored, visionary solutions that deliver real economic results. 

Develop progressive and creative solutions to the 'big issues' affecting your area and organisation with Third Life Economics. Follow us @DavidJMarlow on twitter; on LinkedIn, and read my blogs - both personal and at Planning/Placemaking Resources

  1. Strategic leadership and management
  2. Research, intelligence and advice
  3. Formulating policies and programmes
  4. Mentoring and leadership coaching
  5. Enhancing organisational change
  6. Public and private sector networks
  • May 2017: Latest columns for 'Planning' discuss how the profession can get beyond simplistic debates on housing numbers - with a piece in March on aging demographics; and this month's consideration of wellbeing and sustainability indices
  • April 2017: What 'Tango in Buenos Aires' has to tell us about post-Brexit Britian.
  • April 2017: Lots of organisation development work to be done with local authorities as they begin to plan for new contexxts post-local and national elections in May. Stimulating to work with leadership teams in a County Council  (on 'outcomes frameworks)and a Metropolitan Borough (on growth, regeneration and PR/positioning strategies)
  • March 2017: Very full agenda at meeting of Greater Lincolnshire (LEP) Innovation Council - on response to Industrial Strategy, contributions to Greater Lincolnshire's future approaches and priorities, as well as delivering on and transitioning major EU-funded projects.
  • March 2017: Delighted to be asked to be a judge for the 2017 Planning Awards, and enjoyed the Judging Day, contributing to categories on heritage, culture and SD.
  • February 2017: Great to be working with HEFCE, Robin Hambleton and in Gloucestershire again - this time at their Leading Places workshop on University - LA - LEP collaboration. Have a look at the slides if this is an issue in your areas.
  • February 2017: Took a long time coming - but Government finally produced an Industrial Strategy Green Paper with 38 questions and relatively few answers! Besides the LGIU policy briefing, this also merited a full article in Planning.
  • February 2017: A lot of activity - especially by County Councils - around unitary status. But is this good, bad or indifferent for growth (and for local government) in non-metropolitan areas? My thoughts in the LGIU policy briefing on local government structural reform. Pleased to be assisting a number of local authorities on their considerations.
  • January 2017: With devo appearing to have stalled, interested to be working with Plymouth and neighbours on novel city region and growth corridor approaches to sub-national growth.
  • January 2017: Six global mega-trends that may underpin our assumptions about local growth and development in 2017 outlined in this planning column. Worth some thought and perhaps discussions in the context of the 2017 local growth and devolution landscapes described in this start of the New Year LGIU Policy Briefing, and also these personal musings on challenges facing UK international positioning following May's outline of her Brexit negotiation strategy!
  • December 2016: Exciting to be part of the Regeneris team assisting to refresh the Leicester & Leicestershire LEP Strategic Economic Plan. Contributed to a major workshop on 6th December with local roleplayers to set the scene for this exercise. If you are a stakeholder and wish to get involved,please get in touch.
  • November 2016: It is important that ambitious places refresh their international strategies - even (or especially) when resources are tight and the policy context is so uncertain. This LGIU policy briefing and this Planning column set out the arguments and how to advice, albeit from two differing perspectives.
  • November 2016: The continuing nightmare of 2016 has increased even further with the Trump coup in the US, and his inevitable 'Plot against Europe' with his UK government allies. My trilogy ended with some thoughts on strategies for the fightback.
  • October 2016: Inclusive Growth and regional rebalancing are two related agendas that Planners need to get to grips with - because government is certainly struggling!
  • October 2016: District Councils do much of the local growth 'heavy lifting', but are not always recognised and supported adequately by their LEPs, County Councils and Government. My work at South Kesteven includes huge housing and employment growth in Grantham - their sub-regional centre; leveraging the Stamford 'brand' - one of the premier large market towns in UK; and ambitions for fundamental skills reforms (which strictly is not a DC function). Pleased to be suupporting SKs striking and important agendas.
  • September 2016: Every place needs to be refreshing its local growth goals and priorities in the aftermath of the referendum and change of Government. Immensely enjoyed producing thought piece and facilitating workshop/roundtable with Gloucestershire Economic Growth Joint Committee and partners...
  • August 2016: Great to be working with Mike Dearing of AMEO on the West Midlands Growth Company proposed by the WM Combined Authority - ambitious, challenging, and highly relevant.
  • Summer 2016: Need to think through new models of growth, development and regeneration in the aftermath of the BREXIT referendum - urban policy and cities; industrial strategy; underperforming places; and the rebirth of regeneration. 
  • July 2016: Proud to have launched the University of Warwick Chancellor's Commission final report on the future role of the University in Coventry, Warwickshire and Midlands, for which I was Executive Commissioner. Complements my June Planning column on the potential impact of the HE Bill and White Paper on University expansion and/or contraction in your town or city.


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