Working Paper: Bristol Case Study

Based on in-depth interviews, a half day workshop and data analysis, this case study report briefly outlines some aspects of Bristol’s economic history. It then examines the city’s comparative economic performance and the form and direction of structural change behind this. It then explains how the city’s institutional framework has changed and discusses whether policy decisions and initiatives have had any discernible and major effects on the city’s economic trajectory and relative success.

The key arguments are that the growth of the city-region’s economy has been driven by several processes including the growth of KIBs, the expansion of leisure, food and accommodation services, the growth of the public sector and the survival and development of a high technology sectors. Underlying these is the attractiveness of the location, for various reasons, to both firms and professional and skilled employees. While the institutional framework of public governance has changed significantly over the period and can be classified into a number of episodes, a consistent problem has been the lack of strategic planning and policy at the scale of the functional city-region.

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