City Economics


Helping Cities to Plan for Growth

The great cities of today face multiple challenges in order to keep pace with changes in the global economic and political environment.

Volterra’s senior Advisor Bridget Rosewell was the chief economic advisor to the Greater London Authority for over ten years, giving us a unique insight into the challenges and opportunities facing the capital. Our experience is not limited to London however and Volterra has assisted cities across the UK and globally offering advice on economic and strategy issues.

We work with clients to develop their vision, strategic plans, and  management information. We advise cities on the best approaches to take in order to fulfil their vision and potential. For example, for the GLA we provided them with tools to estimate their long and short term forecasts for employment and output under different scenarios.

Projects tend to address a particular issue, such as projections of skills needs over the next decade, or aim at a particular outcome, such as National Government’s approval of the city’s infrastructure investment or strategic plan.

Our assignments include advising local government departments on how best to articulate their case, expanding the economic research base, reviewing modelling and projections processes and methodologies.

Read more about the work we have done in our case studies.

Cities and Local Government
Property Development

London & Partners

Volterra has worked with London & Partners on an innovative study that looked at the drivers of return to investment and how those are compared across a number of global cities.

The study considered which other cities London competes with for leisure tourism and business events, and reviewed the strengths and weaknesses of the London economy in attracting tourists. We found that London is highly regarded and viewed as a culturally diverse city with many natural assets making it appeal to tourists from across the globe, but future perceived risks include visas, expense and future international connectivity.

The study focused in particular on companies in life sciences, technology, creative industries, financial services and business services and looked to understand what factors differentiate London’s offering, including human capital and skills, through case studies of multinationals that invested in London and interviews with board level executives of large multinationals responsible for key FDI decisions.


Over the past fifteen years Volterra has undertaken many studies for the GLA.

GLA – Skills Forecasting for London

Volterra were commissioned by the GLA to report on the skills that are currently required in London and those that will be required in the future. These were then compared to the education offering available in London by further education colleges, universities, and other private providers. As part of the project we spoke to key employers and a sample of education providers, carried out employment and skills forecasts for London, and provided the GLA with recommendations on how more Londoners, and in particular those from more disadvantaged backgrounds, could better access the London labour market. The findings were well received and were used as an impetus for a change in the capital’s educational offering.

GLA – Employment Forecasting for London

Volterra provided the GLA with long and short term employment and output forecasts for many years. Ultimately we translated our forecasting model into an excel based tool that GLA Economics could use in house to test the impact of different assumptions on the outlook for growth in the capital. Our forecast models disaggregated employment across the 33 London Boroughs and 16 sectors of employment.

GLA – Housing Submarkets in London

Volterra undertook an innovative study for the GLA that considered the different submarkets that existing across the capital for housing. Using a clustering methodology, we looked at the factors that affect house prices in different areas, including access to transport, open space, and quality of education provision. We looked at the levels of deprivation in the different groups identified and the trade-offs that different people make depending upon their economic circumstances.

Manchester Enterprises

Volterra were commissioned to take part in one of the largest and most comprehensive regional studies ever undertaken. The Manchester Independent Economic Review (MIER) was an 18 month project across six consultancies and academic institutions which aimed to review the Manchester economy through evidence-based research and make recommendations for the future growth of the city region. We headed up the Innovation, Trade and Connectivity report which was successfully launched alongside the overall Review in April 2009. Our report studied the role of networks between businesses and organisations in building innovation capacity in a regional economy.

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