What does this year hold for the urban innovation agenda in the UK? Like many others, I completely failed to predict the Brexit vote or the Trump Presidency. But I'm having another go at the crystal ball gazing this year because I still think it's useful to speculate about - and prepare for - the future. So, here are my five predictions for UK cities in 2017.
Technology holds the key, with its proven track record of demystifying and simplifying complex industries to the great benefit of consumers. So far technology hasn't really touched on the issue of financial literacy and tech companies need to step up to fill the void left by the traditional advice industry.
The UK - and therefore its population - is living way beyond its means. We have a Balance of Payments deficit of about 7% of GDP means that, on average, we are all enjoying a standard of living which is 7% higher than we are earning. To support this unrealistic life-style we are either borrowing from abroad or selling assets to foreign interests year after year on a scale unmatched by any other developed country.
Following the UK's decision to leave the EU, one of the most important things on the agenda is the renegotiation of our trade relationships with the rest of the world. There is mounting evidence that current trade rules are a significant barrier to achieving climate change goals. Brexit provides the UK with an opportunity to change this.
It will take a huge amount of political will to bring about a radical change in energy investment strategies across the globe, particularly from wealthier nations who invest in developing countries. Renewable and low-carbon energy generation technologies are becoming less costly and studies show that in the long term, switching investment to these types of ventures will make economic as well as climate sense. The time is right to tip the energy balance but it needs governments to make the first push.
Buffett taught me that if one wishes to build wealth they should build businesses and that makes sense. The average S&P 500 company has a yield of about 1.5% after all, so if you were aiming to earn an income of say $100,000 per year you would need about $1.66 million worth of stock to earn that through dividend.
When it comes to the housing market, London has long been seen as a market within a market. After the credit crunch hit, and house prices across the country headed south, desire to buy within the capital remained robust. In seemingly no time at all, house prices within London had not only recovered but surpassed its previous peaks.