A new generation of practitioners are challenging our definitions of experts and expertise and calling for more diverse voices to be heard. Citizen talks to some of the innovators and entrepreneurs who are working across and beyond professional boundaries to improve city life.

Ben Rogers: Centre for London

Ben Rogers

Ben Rogers is the founding director of Centre for London, the city’s only dedicated think tank.

What do you do?
We develop new solutions to London’s critical challenges by publishing research, holding events and bringing people together from different parts of the city. We’re politically neutral and a charity, and try to help national and London policymakers to think beyond the next election and plan for the future.

Why do you do it?
London badly needed a think tank. No one else seemed to even be thinking about setting one up so I thought I should.

What is the ultimate goal?
To help to create a fair, sustainable and prosperous London. London is one of the world’s economic, political and cultural capitals, but it is also a city of extremes where enormous wealth sits alongside poverty. I want to help ensure that every Londoner can make the most of the opportunities the city offers.

What’s your business model?
We get some core support, including from individual philanthropists. Most of our income comes from a mix of organisations from the private, public and third sector for research projects and events. We rely on the support of our funders but, importantly, retain editorial control over all our work.

What’s the biggest challenge you face in trying to do your job?
Making sure that the capital has more control over its taxes and services. England is a remarkably centralised country and the Mayor and London boroughs are much better positioned than Whitehall to tackle the city’s complex problems.