Of late, there has been quite a bit of discussion and ultimately criticism of Blackpool and the future that lies before it, from quite a few of us (including myself). This is mostly due to its predominantly tourist economy, the tramway situation, and a few other issues. But where else appears to have a bleak future at present? As much as it pains me to admit it, as has been said on here fairly often of late as well, Liverpool is seemingly falling behind the other major cities across the north, and it has even been suggested that some suburbs of it are becoming dormitory areas for Manchester. Meanwhile, away from the north-west, the signs of struggle also exist in certain southern locations where public services used to dominate before the recession came along. Swansea for instance is the seat of the DVLA, which is all very well, but according to a statement made in the IEP debate back in March it is the second-worst hit city by the cuts. Similarly, Plymouth is losing a lot of its regional importance, and is beginning to look like nothing more than an unusually large town in a mostly rural area - not to mention the closure of its airport. And in Scotland, Dundee's population is in long-term decline, with a painfully small highly skilled and qualified workforce. On the other hand, several areas are going the other way. Manchester for instance has been rising quite literally over the last decade, with such ambitious schemes as the Beetham Tower and the Metrolink Big Bang (even if some of it is a bit too ambitious, e.g. Oldham/Rochdale), and we are increasingly looking at the term "Second City" truly belonging to Manchester in the near future. Nearby Leeds also seems to be heading the right way, if not to the same degree. And of course several areas of London, especially and invariably the East End, are developing at rates thought impossible before the Docklands Regeneration. Meanwhile, some areas that were thought to be struggling are going through something of a revival, with Teesside being an obvious example. So where else is there that seems to match either of these criteria? And in the case of those that are heading the wrong way, what can be done to stimulate their economies and demographics to reverse the trend?