07 - 09 March 2023 | ExCeL, London

07 - 09 March 2023
ExCeL, London

What should ‘levelling up’ really mean?

02 March / 13.30-14.30

In a recent paper, Professor Danny Dorling, University of Oxford, described the “human geography of the UK is a very unlevel playing field – more akin to a mountain range than a field. Inequalities vary greatly. Parts that you might not think of as especially unequal are in fact sometimes the most jagged of the socioeconomic mountains “. In turn the UK is one of the most unequal countries in Europe. “Inequality” covers a wide range of disparities including health and life expectancy, the quality of life, education, income, employment and transport access to work, as well as childcare and other elements of social infrastructure. We also need to recognise that the need to ‘level up’ is a problem for the whole of the UK

In a keynote speech on ‘levelling up’ delivered on 15th July 2021, the Prime Minister described the catalytic role that government needed to play and the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) has been renamed the Department of Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC), under the leadership of Michael Gove, with the task of delivering on this agenda.

This session will explore what making levelling up should and could be in practice and what role those in the built environment should contribute.

Curated by

Panel overview:


Rose Grayston, Co-author of the report of the No Places Left Behind Commission


What are the social equality strategies that we need to ‘level up’?

Dr Fran Darlington-Pollock, Chair, The Equality Trust and an NGO Research Advisor

What are the economic strategies that we need to ‘level up’?

Sarah Longlands, Chief Executive, Centre for Local Economic Strategies (CLES)

How can regional and local government respond to the challenge?

John Wrathmell, Director, Strategy, Research & Economy, Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA)

What does’ levelling’ up mean for planning?

Richard Blyth, Head of Policy Practice and Research, Royal Town Planning Institue (RTPI)

Chair & speaker panel

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