Since setting up the blog in 2016, City-REDI has regularly posted about our research, current events, seminars, podcasts and videos. We've covered all manner of topics on the way to reaching 1000 blogs, from the economic impacts of Christmas to a play about the finances of Birmingham City Council. Over that time we've racked up nearly 300,000 pageviews and had some fantastically performing blogs. To mark this milestone, here are some of our best-performing blogs over that time.
Capitalism and Its Impact on Global Living Standards
Former City-REDI data maestro Josh Swan blogging about the impact of capitalism on global living standards. Whilst science and technology have been crucial to improving the day-to-day existence of the average man and woman, Josh highlights the role of capitalism in helping to eradicate extreme poverty.
The 2018 Retail Crisis Catches Up With Marks and Spencer
Dr Amir Qamar, now an Assistant Professor at the Birmingham Business School, wrote this piece about the pressures on the UK retail industry in 2018. Toys R Us, Maplin and certain New Look stores had recently shut down with the loss of 5,500 jobs. Then Marks and Spencer announced plans to shut 14 stores across the UK. Amir took a close-up look at the retailer, its brand, dependency on the UK, store numbers and its presence online.
What is Gross Value Added (GVA)?
Liam O’Farrell, former Policy and Data Analyst at City-REDI, and a prodigious blogger, wrote this. It became part of a series of “What Is….” blogs. The idea for the blog series came from sitting in one too many team meetings where acronyms and technical language were thrown around willy-nilly as if everybody in the room had completed a three-year PhD in every subject associated with what City-REDI does. The first effort, looking at GVA obviously hit a chord with people interested in economics, but without a PhD, because it’s had nearly 10,000 views to date.
A Review of the Impacts of the 1918 Spanish Flu Pandemic
Rebecca Riley, Associate Professor at City-REDI, wrote this blog at the beginning of the pandemic, examining the health and social impacts of the Spanish Flu. This blog was part of a larger series of work on the economic and social impacts of Coronavirus. The Spanish Flu killed a lot of people, with estimates ranging from between 2.7% to 5.4% of the world population (50m to 100m). The blog also reports that the pandemic got its name through the perception of a large number of cases in Spain. Spain was neutral in the First World War and therefore didn’t have any restrictions on its press. Its press reported freely on the pandemic whilst other countries suppressed stories, which made Spain seem like the source of the pandemic.
The Birmingham Economic Review 2018: People – Population and Employment
Each year, City-REDI in collaboration with the Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce produce the Birmingham Economic Review (BER). The BER is an in-depth exploration of the economy of England’s second city and a high-quality resource for informing research, policy and investment decisions. Dr Catherine Harris, who is now a Senior Research Fellow at De Montfort University, wrote this piece for the BER examining the demographics of Birmingham and its employment levels in 2018. A key point to come out of Catherine’s blog – Birmingham is the youngest major city in Europe, with under 25s accounting for nearly 40% of its population.
What are Industrial Clusters and Economies of Agglomeration?
Dr Massimiliano Nuccio with another blog from the “What is…?” series. We’ve done a lot of work on clusters since then, with a focus on place-branding, the Creative sector and the Space sector. Massimiliano provides a handy breakdown of where these terms come from.
COVID-19 and Impacts on Education and Training: Challenges and Opportunities
In 2020, Professor Anne Green discussed the effect COVID-19 was having on education and skills in the UK. However, as Anne highlights, the pandemic also provided us with an opportunity to reshape and reform the sector.
Birmingham Has Yet to Embrace Tolkien – Why?
Ben Brittain, who is now a Policy Advisor to West Midlands Mayor Andy Street, wonders why Birmingham has yet to embrace JRR Tolkien. As Ben tells us “Tolkien and his works are inextricably linked to Birmingham, and hints of Middle-earth can be found across the region. He grew up in Kings Heath, a suburb of the city, and spent a considerable amount of time in Hall Green, home to Moseley Bog, believed to be the inspiration for Fangorn Forest.” Yet the city as a whole fails to take advantage of the connection to this literary legend.
The Implications of Brexit for the UK’s Regions
In April 2017, Professor Raquel Ortega-Argiles began a project looking at the economic impacts of Brexit on the UK, its regions, its cities and sectors. The work was part of a larger project funded by the ESRC and led by the UK in a Changing Europe, which is still going strong today. Raquel and her team produced a plethora of work on the impact of Brexit on its regions including this blog.
Contagion: The Economic and Social Impacts of Coronavirus (Covid-19) on the West Midlands
The starting gun for City-REDI’s coverage of the economic and social impacts of Coronavirus. Written by Professor Simon Collinson, this blog looks at the economic contagion caused by Coronavirus, “economic shocks will be significant and will disproportionally affect low-skilled workers and low-income households, regardless of whether or not they contract the virus.” and suggest action the government can take to help. It goes on to focus specifically on the West Midlands and the issues the region will face from the pandemic. City-REDI started to produce the West Midlands Economic Impact Monitor, which was presented each week to Andy Street, the West Midlands Mayor. The monitor is now on its 104th issue.
The views expressed in this analysis post are those of the authors and not necessarily those of City-REDI or the University of Birmingham.