Cities are fundamentally economic in nature and exist for the purposes of trade and commerce. For this reason, Economics is a core specialism within BuroHappold’s Cities business
Our key interest is in promoting the most sustainable, value-adding forms of economic activity across a diversity of urban areas, of different scales and in numerous locations. We work at all scales, from regions, to city districts, to individual real estate developments and infrastructure components. Consulting across two broad areas detailed below.
Recent crises, affecting many parts of the world, have created structural shifts in the way individual economies behave. Globalisation and evolving trade patterns present ongoing challenges
For mature, developed economies there is a need to manage change effectively – decline as well as expansion – in a way that yields sustainable opportunity and capitalises on the latest technologies. In areas of rapid economic and population growth, the transition to a sophisticated, knowledge-driven economy can be unpredictable. In these places, new prosperity often occurs inconsistently across communities. Economic development needs to impact positively everywhere without adverse environmental, social or climactic consequences and this requires a sound, future-facing strategy.
We know that cities, towns and other urban environments function best when they are both spatially and economically interconnected. Too often, however, the spatial configuration of places is not based on sound economic rationale or good commercial positioning. Our work helps to ensure that these mistakes are not made; that economic growth and change happen sustainably, in a way that can be managed well by both public and private stakeholders and with commercial resilience built in.
Our professional knowledge and strong academic links are matched by our genuine passion and interest in making economies function for the betterment of diverse urban communities. Our analysis and strategic advice seeks to maximise city competitiveness, sector specialisation, economic inclusion, entrepreneurship, city branding and rapid digital technology adaptation.
Our economic development services include:
- Economic analysis & data modelling
Detailed socio-economic analysis and market assessment, demographic forecasting, geographic information systems (GIS), economic land-use modelling
- Economic development strategy
Area-wide economic strategy, economic concept development and performance metrics, labour market and skills strategy, inward investment
- Industrial strategy & clusters
Industry-sector analysis, sector selection, targeting and growth strategies, cluster strategies, investment propositions
- Business case & economic appraisal
Business case-making and formulation, business modelling, benefits appraisal and realisation, UK Treasury ‘Green Book’ appraisal, cost-benefit analysis
- Economic impact assessment
Identification of direct, indirect and induced impacts of development proposals, displacement and multiplier effects, socio-cultural impacts
- Urban regeneration & revitalization
Action plans to align physical and economic urban change, economic re-positioning of cities and districts, maximising local community impacts of urban change
For more information contact Jim Coleman, Head of Economics.
Congested roads, crowded airports, clogged ports, water shortages and energy brown outs are just a few of the manifestations of an infrastructure deficit
It is a deficit that is undermining economic efficiency and lowering the quality of life across the world.
The recent financial crisis, rather than exacerbating the problems, has created an environment where Governments are re-focusing on infrastructure. While the role infrastructure can play in positively influencing economic growth is widely accepted, delivering such major investments has never been more challenging to both the public and private sectors.
Many are turning to the private sector to design, build, fund and operate these facilities, and yet the private sector is struggling with limited access to debt and growing risk aversion from investors. Now, more than ever, investment decisions need to be based on robust analysis and informed advice.
BuroHappold provide strategy and transaction advice across all modes and sectors around the world, including USA, UK, Japan, Russia, France, Poland and Chile. We help our clients understand and maximise the value of their infrastructure assets. We do this by assessing potential demand, revenues and costs taking into account policy aspirations, market drivers and risk allocation. Whether you are a public sector sponsor, an investor in new infrastructure, or the owner of an existing asset, we provide advice upon which to make value for money decisions.
Our political and commercial awareness, combined with an appreciation of potential risks and opportunities, means that we are able to offer clients a clear understanding of the true potential of their projects and guidance on the key areas for focus.
Our economic infrastructure services include:
- Project evaluation
Financial viability assessment, business case-making and formulation, cost benefit analysis, risk assessment and mitigation
- Policy advice
Reviews of policy regimes, analysis and modelling of regulatory environments, stakeholder analysis and engagement, partnership development and governance strategies
- Transaction support
Project design and implementation, operational management support and training, procurement coordination, bid management
- Due diligence
Technical review, support to lenders, advice to secondary investors, arbitration and mediation
- Market analysis
Population and employment modelling, market research, demand forecasting, pricing and tariff advice
The modern urban environment
Our public sector clients include municipal authorities, development banks and national governments. We support them to make urban environments more competitive, more economically inclusive and fully capable of developing clear industrial strengths, high-value clusters and technology-enabled specialisation.
We have particular expertise in industrial and sector-based strategy, especially in the context of special economic zones, ports, airports and rail networks. We have supported the governments of Kuwait, Qatar, South Africa and Lesotho with their industrial zone programmes and have helped facilitate the development of New York City’s highly specialised life sciences industry.
Creating a sound business case
We work closely with the private sector to construct a sound business case for investment – whether it be for real estate, or economic infrastructure such as highways, bridges, tunnels, rail systems or climate change mitigation. We also test the commercial validity of development proposals, assessing the future level of demand needed to support investment in new and existing infrastructure. Our clients include infrastructure funders and investors, as well as major developers. We work closely with them to help provide the due diligence necessary to support their strategic, long-term investments.
From vision to prosperity
Our work ranges from creating economic visions and strategies driving places towards greater prosperity, all the way down to detailed benefit appraisal for individual elements of a city’s infrastructure platform. We ensure that infrastructure is planned to support a clear, quantifiable economic vision.
We work at all scales, deploying our professional skills to create synergies between government, industry, funders, communities and technologies, to make sure that cities can work to their competitive advantages and that investments can be phased as logically as possible.