The Mediated City

    The Mediated City

    Read my review of ‘The Mediated City’ for 3:AM Magazine “It is easy to dismiss local news as irrelevant and outdated into today’s world of instant online, global communication; the preserve of headlines like ‘Old Mrs Miggins has a funny turn on the No. 30 bus’ and ‘Newsagent runs out of five pence pieces’.” Photo taken by me in Bromley by Bow.       [...]

    The language of cities

    The language of cities

    Read my review of Deyan Sudjic’s ‘The Language of Cities’ for 3AM Magazine. “It’s a shame, then, that in contrast to the sharp focus and tightly woven narrative fabric of that chapter, much of rest of The Language of Cities is a loosely-hung clothing line of brief observations and historical vignettes from across the ages and the [...]

    Urban Forum Legacy Report

    Urban Forum Legacy Report

    My blog for Locality on the Urban Forum legacy report “A fresh debate leading to rejuvenated efforts and initiatives. There is no doubt Locality can and should play an enormous part in that revitalisation”.

    Democracy squared

    Democracy squared

    Read my review of ‘Common Space’ by Stavros Stavrides for 3AM Magazine “Like the old definition of jazz, common space is a how, not a what. It is a “set of practices” driven by “collective inventiveness” that enable people to imagine and then forge a new future.”

    The Commonist Manifesto

    The Commonist Manifesto

    Read my review for 3AM Magazine of @SimonFParker’s Taking Power Back “Taking Power Back updates the case against over-mighty centralism by explaining how Brown’s Labour and the Cameron-Clegg coalition talked the language of devolving and dispersing power, but in practice hoarded it all the more for themselves.” Photo taken by me at the Barbara Hepworth [...]

    We shouldn’t give up on estate renewal

    We shouldn’t give up on estate renewal

    Read my blog for New Start on the future of estate renewal “My response is that we shouldn’t give up on the idea that estate renewal can deliver benefits beyond the built environment. We should understand why so many attempts fail.” Image taken by Christopher Rocks

    My wishes for 2015

    My wishes for 2015

    Read my blog for New Start on my wishes for 2015 The word ‘foodbank’ symbolises 2014 for me. A dreadful year that exposed the casual cruelties we impose on the poorest and most vulnerable. So as the year closes, I was asked by New Start to set out my five wishes for 2015. Photo taken [...]

    Two billion squatters

    Two billion squatters

    Read my review of Radical Cities for 3:AM Magazine ‘Squatters and slum dwellers would have to fight in the free market like everyone else. And yet, even in this intellectual waste land, branches can grow from stony rubbish.’ Photo taken by me in Berlin, 2014

    Gentrification - not a 'law of nature'

    Gentrification – not a ‘law of nature’

    Read my blog for New Start magazine on why gentrification is not a ‘law of nature’ “That idea that gentrification is a ‘natural evolution’ of neighbourhoods is a gross misappropriation of Jane Jacobs’ humanist philosophy. ” Image taken by me in Berlin, 2014

    Tra-la-la-la-la-la
    Tra-la-la-la-la-la

    Read my review of Liverpool FC 2013/14 Season In Review: Poetry In Motion “Once Suarez had been secured by John W. Henry cutting through the haze and taking a piss in Arsenal’s bong-water, the club presented a united, ambitious front. The owners, manager and players all talked up their chances of success.”

    Oi, Labour – leave those LEPs alone!
    Oi, Labour – leave those LEPs alone!

    Read my critique of the Smith Institute’s proposals for local economic development Mess equals waste, the report argues. Yet governments waste a hell of a lot more cash and money in pursuit of an illusory order and perfect organisational tessellation. Image taken by me in Bromley by Bow. Mess equals waste, the report argues. Yet [...]

    Chewing over urban art
    Chewing over urban art

    Read my latest blog for New Start magazine “A tiny piece of art, rendered from rubbish. Temporary graffiti that in a few weeks will have been washed away by the rain or eaten by a philistine pigeon, unaware it is feasting on a work of micro-genius. And yet it opened my eyes to the craft [...]

    Red or Dead re-read
    Red or Dead re-read

    Read my review of David Peace’s epic novel about Bill Shankly for The Tomkins Times “Peace’s style becomes a red machine, working to full effect. “There was no shelter from the word”, Peace says, describing the impact of the sound created by the Kop on the opposition.” Lots of smart comments and thoughtful reflections from [...]

    Why is Margate under-selling itself?
    Why is Margate under-selling itself?

    Read my article for the Thanet Gazette on why Margate needs to make visitors feel more welcome Arriving in Margate recently, I was reminded of how terribly the town under-sells all the great things it has to offer. It’s like a shop full of beautiful artefacts that you can’t see for the dust and peeling [...]

    Who killed neighbourhood renewal?
    Who killed neighbourhood renewal?

    Read my blog for New Start: ‘Who killed neighbourhood renewal in England?’ “In this, as in so much else, Gordon Brown’s spell at Number 10 was a grim fandango of trampling arrogance and stumbling ineptitude.” Photo by Gethyn Williams at George Orwell’s home on the isle of Jura

    Is this Anfield?
    Is this Anfield?

    Read my piece for The Anfield Wrap on the Anfield regeneration proposals The club and the council are trying to do something very ambitious at a time when people’s faith in regeneration has been tested to destruction. In places like Anfield, ‘regeneration’ isn’t a promise: it’s a threat. Photo taken by me in Liverpool  

    Playing into the populists’ hands
     Playing into the populists’ hands

    Read my piece for New Start on opposition to the cuts “Accepting their premise, that people on benefits are hopelessly dependent on the state and have no resourcefulness or resilience of their own, does a deep disservice to people living in poverty.” Photo taken by me under Devons Road rail bridge

    London: From Punk to Blair
    London: From Punk to Blair

    Read my review of London: From Punk to Blair for 3:AM Magazine ” London pigeons, like their human counterparts, are often accused by pigeons from elsewhere in the country of thinking the world begins and ends in the capital. The London pigeons don’t care. They know the other pigeons are really just jealous.”  

    What legacy for East London?
    What legacy for East London?

    Read my New Start blog on how to build a positive Olympic legacy for East London The blog was based on an interview with regeneration expert and placemaker Ian Freshwater (@theaquafresca), and was part of New Start’s special focus on East London You can also download Tom Smith’s (@_datasmith) thought-provoking opening prezi here Thanks to [...]

    Language, love and ski slopes
    Language, love and ski slopes

    Read my piece for New Start on ‘Love, urbanism and a deadly ski slope’ Why hasn’t the British urbanism moveent captured people’s imagination? Maybe it’s because we don’t talk enough about people’s feelings. The image is the ‘Bridge of Locks’ in Paris, taken by me

    Co-op neighbourhoods
    Co-op neighbourhoods

    Download my contribution (PDF) to the Co-op Council Network’s pamphlet Towards co-operative councils: empowering people to change their lives This is my contribution to a collection of essays, edited by Kitty Ussher and Steve Reed MP with a preface from Ed Miliband.