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'Supercities' to lead new economy

29 May 09 09:06 GMT

Five new "supercities" will evolve over the next 20 years as the UK economy undergoes the biggest change since the industrial revolution, a study claims.

Scientific innovation will drive the growth of Brighton, Leeds, Liverpool, London and Newcastle, according to the HSBC Future of Business report.

"These supercities will derive their status, income and prestige from new economic income streams," it says.

These include the biotech, gaming, cybernetics and nanotechnology fields.

The UK mapped out by the researchers foresees factories, power stations and livestock replaced by centres for gaming, windfarms and robotics as the economic landscape is redrawn around the "tropics of knowledge and next generation industries".

Dislocation between London and the rest of the country will intensify, according to the report, which predicts the capital will become a city-state.

Science city

The report said changes were being driven by the recession, which will push new ways of working, increased international business and entrepreneurship.

Newcastle will become a science city, with the sector ranked top among Geordies for investment or to start a business in.

Leeds is predicted to establish itself as a financial hub second only to London, while Liverpool is expected to build on last year's European Capital of Culture status to become a global brand.

Report author Martin Raymond, of The Future Laboratory, said: "Our panel predicted the rise of supercities and regions over the next 20 years.

"They promise to change the traditional national and regional power bases because of their proximity to the one thing that does not depend on natural resources - knowledge.

"These supercities and regions will derive their status, income and prestige from new economic income streams such as biotech, stem cell research, innovation, gaming and even alternative work practices and business models."

The report was based on input from 18 industry experts and data from 500 entrepreneurs and decision makers in 17 UK cities.

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