Places are complex and have an intrinsic impact on the people and businesses within them. Economic growth doesn’t influence all of the elements that are important to people’s lives – so we shouldn’t use GDP to measure success.
We set out to create another measure for understanding what makes a place successful. Our Vibrant Economy Index uses data to provide a robust, independent framework to help everyone understand the challenges and opportunities in their local areas. We want to start a debate about what type of economy we want to build in the UK and spark collaboration between citizens, businesses and place-shapers to make their places thrive.
Hear from Karl Eddy about why we created the Vibrant Economy Index
Consider your purpose
We know that purpose-led organisations drive better profits so we want them to consider their role as a local employer while actively supporting place-shaping. We also need private sector organisations to collaborate with other private, public and third sector organisations. The Vibrant Economy Index is a great tool for business leaders to engage with their people (employees and citizens) and share ideas about their areas.
The bigger picture
In total, we look at 324 English local authority areas, taking into account not only economic prosperity but health and happiness, inclusion and equality, environmental resilience, community and dynamism and opportunity. Highlights of the index include:
Traditional measures of success – gross value added (GVA), average workplace earning and employment do not correlate in any significant way with the other baskets. This is particularly apparent in cities, which despite significant economic strengths are often characterised by substantial deprivation and low aspiration, high numbers of long-term unemployment and high numbers of benefit claimants
The importance of the relationships between different places and the subsequent role of infrastructure in connecting places and facilitating choice. The reality is that patterns of travel for work, study and leisure don’t reflect administrative boundaries. Patterns emerge where prosperous and dynamic areas are surrounded by more inclusive and healthy and happy places, as people choose where they live and travel to work in prosperous areas.
The challenges facing leaders across the public, private and third sector in how to support those places that perform less well. No one organisation can address this on their own. Collaboration is key.
Implications for the private, public and third sector