Landsec launches ‘urban patriotism’ research in support of its strategic focus on cities across the UK

1 February 2022

Landsec has today launched fresh research looking at the key factors needed to help cities thrive and enable their communities to prosper – driving economic growth, environmental sustainability and quality of life.

The research, carried out by Public First, takes a deep dive into people’s perceptions of the cities in which they live. The research looked at every aspect of city life in detailed conversations with people in some of the country’s leading cities. The project comprised 12 focus groups in London, Birmingham, Manchester and Leeds. 

The most important theme to emerge from this research is urban patriotism, denoting the emotional, visceral attachment to big cities which is core to its residents’ identity. This theme challenges the perception of cities as transient places of individuals, who stop only for a short time before moving on, never really gaining a deep attachment of any kind. The research also identified a series of push and pull factors, demonstrating that by understanding what is making people consider leaving a city, we are able to get to the root of some of the most important problems facing cities.

Mark Allan, CEO Landsec said: “Over the last two years, the role of cities has been challenged like never before. As an organisation that both benefits from and contributes to the success of cities, we believe we have a responsibility to understand how they can recover and shape a better and shared urban future. 

What this research clearly underlines is the vital importance of understanding ‘urban patriotism’ to anyone involved in creating and curating the built environment, and that by working with it and harnessing it, ‘urban patriotism’ can be a force for good.

Careful and conscious development comes from understanding the triggers for happiness and economic stability – development done well, will create that sense of place that has at its heart local identity and individuality.”

James Frayne, Co-founder of Public First, said: “Covid has made people begin to reassess many things, and the future of cities is one of them. When we spoke to city residents in great detail about this, the main theme to emerge was this idea of urban patriotism – that the city forms a fundamental part of their identity, and is anchoring people to their city. Urban patriotism is one end of a spectrum of push-and-pull factors, and understanding these is essential for anyone with an interest in the future of cities.”

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