After two decades of growth and change, Leeds is now at something of a crossroads, in search of direction and identity. While other northern cities have had massive investment and public attention as ‘cities of culture’, hosting international athletic events, and the building or renovation of iconic buildings as national cultural venues, Leeds seems to have been left behind. Development and regeneration seemed to have stuttered even before the recession hit.
So where does Leeds go now, and how does it move forward? Does Leeds have anything unique to offer? Is the answer more of what it does already: attracting financial services and promoting itself as Yorkshire’s premier shopping destination? Or could Leeds be the economic hub driving the future success of a huge city-region and attracting new and innovative industries? And what about the arts and culture? Does Leeds have the facilities and resources to attract cultural entrepreneurs, creators and innovators? And how does Leeds keep and promote its own creative talent?
What will, or how will, Leeds define itself as a city in the 21st century? How could it be the great regional capital it aspires to be? And, ultimately, what makes and defines a city?