skip to content

Department of Land Economy

Environment, Law & Economics


The UK government proposes to spend £42.6 billion on a new railway line linking London with cities in northern England. Among the several claims made for the impact of this line is its potential to “reshape the economic geography of the UK”. Yet as the government has developed its plan for HS2, public opinion has swung strongly against the proposal. This presentation examines the process by which HS2 became a cross-party regional development priority in the UK and why it has been accompanied by growing scepticism. It pays critical attention to the political uses made of research, analysis and evidence in the case for high speed rail. Should the HS2 proposal be regarded as a product of “group think” or an example of Albert Hirschman’s “Hiding Hand”?


Professor John Tomaney


John Tomaney is a Professor at University College London where he teaches Urban and Regional Planning in the Bartlett School of Planning. Previously he was Henry Daysh Professor of Regional Development and Director of the Centre for Urban and Regional Development Studies (CURDS), Newcastle University. He is an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Geography and Environmental Sciences at Monash University, Melbourne; Visiting Professorial Fellow in the Faculty of the Built Environment at the University of New South Wales, Sydney; Visiting Professor in CURDS, Newcastle University; and is an Academician of the Academy of Social Science (UK). He is a Fellow of the Regional Australia Institute.  Among his publications are Local and Regional Development (Routledge, 2006) and Handbook of Local and Regional Development (Routledge 2011) both co-authored with Andy Pike and Andrés Rodríguez-Pose.

Wednesday, 5 February, 2014 - 16:00 to 17:00
Contact name: 
Joanna Laver
Contact email: 
Event location: 
Mill Lane Lecture Room 7