After a successful incubation period with Demos, Centre for London has now gone independent.


The Centre began life as a project within Demos pursuing rigorous and innovative policy solutions for the capital, and with Demos' support has been able to work with groups and organisations from across the city and establish itself as a critical friend to its leadership. The Centre continues to grow, and 2013 marked full independence from Demos.

Details of the full range of research programmes and events led by Centre for London can be found at




Centre for London is a new think tank for the capital.

London is a hugely successful world-class city and, for many people, a wonderful place to live. London is a global centre of economic, social and intellectual innovation, a seat of government and a city of business generating around one fifth of the UK’s wealth. But the capital faces enormous challenges.


Housing is in desperately short supply and our roads increasingly congested. Economic growth has faltered and public services face enormous pressures. Even in the good times, London had the highest rates of child poverty, in-work poverty and pensioner poverty in the country. Despite being the economic engine of the nation, too many people are denied the opportunities the city has to offer. 


Given these challenges, it's surprising that London hasn’t previously had a think tank of its own. With last summer's riots still reverberating, a new Mayoral term and the continued challenge of regeneration in East London post the Olympics, the need for a think tank focused on London issues has never been stronger. 


Through its research and events, Centre for London acts as a critical friend to London's leaders and policy makers, promotes a wider understanding of the challenges facing London and develops long term, rigorous and radical solutions for the capital. Though Centre for London is politically non-aligned, its is devolutionary in its values and wants to see London given more powers to manage its own affairs. 

Centre for London is being incubated by Demos and will become independent in time. In its first year, the Centre has looked into social mobility in London's schools, considered the future of the Thames, investigated East London's new tech growth area and published ten proposals for the Mayor. It continues to develop long term, rigorous policy solutions for the capital and to host important debates on London's future. 


Centre for London has been covered in the FT, Evening Standard, Observer, New Statesman and European media and publishes ideas regularly on the blog.


The Centre is being led by Ben Rogers (Director) and Jess Tyrrell (Deputy Director, Communications) and a network of associates and researchers. The Centre has its own board, chaired by Liz Meek, CBE.  




The Centre launched it's first report, London's Calling, in November 2011, looking at London’s record in widening access to higher education among its school leavers.  The Centre's second report was an investigation into what drives entreprenuers in East London's Tech City. The Centre is developing research into Housing, Worklessness, Smart London, Collaborative Consumption and Young People.


Centre for London has a busy events programme. Events over the last year include a roundtable on London as a World City,  a seminar series on the Thames, debates on the Mayoral election, lectures with Edward Glaeser and on Jane Jacobs, and the inaugural London Conference. We welcome comment on all of these projects, plus input and ideas of other areas the Centre might cover.  


Centre for London Board


Liz Meek, Chair



Liz is a highly experienced civil servant and expert on London. Liz led the original team that developed the policy and legislation to create the GLA in 2000, and then as Regional Director of the Government Office for London. Liz then spent three and a half years as Director of Government Office North West. Liz is currently an advisor to the Cabinet Office on local integrated services, advising on the development of community designed services and implementation. She is particularly interested in the work of housing associations, in mental health and in regional policy and implementation.

Mark Boleat





Mark Boleat is Chairman of the Policy & Resources Committee of the City of London. He has been a Councillor in the City since 2002 and represents the city on the boards of City UK and the Cheapside Initiative. Outside the city Mark is Chairman of the Jersey Competition Regulatory Authority, the States of Jersey Development Company, Quant Capital Partners, the Association of Labour Providers and UK Social Data Services Ltd.  Mark has published a number of books on housing finance, regulation and trade associations.

Michael Cassidy




Michael is a highly influential figure in London's political and business life, with many years experience of work in the city. He works currently as a consultant with DLA Piper and was a highly influential Chair of the Policy & Resources Committee at the Corporation of London between 1992 and 1997. He is currently Chair of the London Pensions Authority and the Museum of London, a non-executive director of Crossrail and UBS Ltd, and Chair of Homerton Hospital in East London.

Greg Clark




Greg Clark is an international cities expert and advisor to several global cities including London, Sao Paulo, Singapore, New York, and Hong Kong. His portfolio includes work as Senior Fellow at the Urban Land Institute (Europe), Chief Advisor and Chairman of the OECD’s Forum on Local Development and Investment, Lead Advisor on the World Bank Urbanisation Knowledge Forum, a Global Fellow of the Brookings Institution in Washington, Associate of LSE Cities, Chairman of British BIDs and a Visiting Professor at Cass Business School. He is author of more than 10 books and major reports on city development. From 1989 to 2004 he held a number of key roles in organisations leading London’s development agenda. He is presently researching and writing The Honor Chapman Report on London’s Competitiveness 1992 to 2022.

Philip Colligan




Philip is the executive director of the public service innovation lab at NESTA. He was previously Camden’s Assistant Chief Executive where he established the Camden Strategy Unit, the strategic centre of the Council responsible for strategy and planning, performance, innovation, efficiency and communications. Before joining Camden, Philip worked at the Home Office where he held a number of senior policy roles, including on youth justice reform, religious issues and community cohesion.  He was also private secretary to the permanent secretary, Sir John Gieve.

James Crabtree




James is the FT’s Mumbai Editor, previously Comment Editor, and a well-known writer on society, politics and technology.  James is renowned as a policy commentator, as a policy strategist and think-tanker, and a high-profile journalist. Before joining the FT James was Deputy Editor at Prospect Magazine, an Associate Director at IPPR and a Policy Advisor at the Prime Minister’s Strategy Unit.

Robert Elms




Robert is one of London's most famous voices, as the longstanding host of the longest running BBC London chat show of reports, discussions and call-ins with Londoners.  Robert was previously a columnist for The Face and NME and served as a patron for the Arts Councils Architecture Week.

Shaks Ghosh




Shaks is the first Chief Executive of the Private Equity Foundation.  For the previous nine years she was Chief Executive of homelessness charity Crisis. In the 80s and 90s, Shaks worked in housing and regeneration at the Community Housing Association and the National Housing Federation. She has a Masters degree in Urban Studies.  

Stephen O'Brien




Stephen is a highly influential figure in London's business and public sectors. He is Chairman of Barts and the London NHS Trust, International Health Partners, Unitas Communications and the Lord Mayor of London's Charity Appeal. He is  President of Proshanti - a new charity promoting the construction of a health centre in Bangladesh - and Vice President of Business in the Community.  Additionally he is a Trustee/Director of the High Street Fund and the Mayor's Fund for London.