Foreword to Locational Investment Report

Location, location, location; as relevant to governments and

their investment plans as it is to the most informed private

investment bodies

What should be built, when, where and why to ensure the responsible use of limited UK public resources? How can investment in the infrastructure necessary to enable sustainable settlement growth be targeted locationally?

Global economic realities must shape Government investment decisions by location. Assumptions based on the inertia of historic land use need to be understood for what they are. Radically different engines of growth, business linkages and economic outcomes will require location specific infrastructure investment if sustainable growth is to be secured in each region.

Sensitivity to the economic outcomes achievable from each infrastructure investment and its sustainability in economic and social terms must be an unavoidable priority. Governments around the world in mature and developing economic regions, whether they be the UK, the United Arab Emirates or China, are introducing programmes of investment in public infrastructure designed to boost the private sector economy and jobs with a presumption in favour of ‘sustainable development’.1 The sustainability of any one development may not be clear but the sustainability and location of the required infrastructure must be, if to be successful.

We cannot be too concerned with the limits to growth, for they are outside our control but we must be concerned with the necessary triggers to bring about growth and with the varying degrees of viability and public and private sector interaction. What are the right conditions for promoting sustainable development in a globalizing world?

Data is critical but to be relevant it needs to be based on the study of current business behaviour.  Data that we lobbied the RICS to utilise over a two year period was gathered in the Locational Investment report, available in full on our web site and to which we wrote the Foreword.

Locationally and business specific data provides a sound basis for the efficient use of our scarce resources and of our scarce land. We are as we now know – all in this together; we certainly are when it comes to the towns and cities we live in and use of our land; errors with the built environment are not easily rectified and land is not being made any more!

The relationship between economic sustainability and infrastructure planning is a direct one. Infrastructure enables social integration and cohesion so adding yet further meaning to sustainability.

1 The term first enshrined in the 1987 ‘Brundtland’ Report on sustainable development: World Commission on Environment and Development


Jonathan Naughton

Urban Futures, Chair RICS Land Use & Infrastructure Policy Panel

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