Cities in Cinema 2: Gomorrah

    Cities in Cinema 2: Gomorrah

    Read my second instalment for 3AM Magazine’s ‘Cities in Cinema’ series “Napoli is more than a neutral stage. The people we encounter are the essential products of the city’s toxic soil, corrupt institutions, dysfunctional housing estates and decaying public spaces. They all issued from the cankered kennel of the city’s womb.” Image credit: Federica Zappalà

    Can football be a force for good?

    Can football be a force for good?

    Read my article for New Start on Everton’s new stadium. “Everton styles itself as the ‘people’s club’ on Merseyside; more community-minded club and supported by the locals, as opposed to the commercial outfit followed by tourists and day-trippers on the other side of Stanley Park.”

    Regen 2017 - Twelve takeaways

    Regen 2017 – Twelve takeaways

    Read my article for New Start on twelve takeaways from the Regen2017 conference ‘Regeneration may be back on the agenda – but have we learned from the failures of the past?’ Image taken by me near Broadway Market, London.

    Cities in Cinema 1: Le grande bellezza

    Cities in Cinema 1: Le grande bellezza

    Read my short essay on Paolo Sorrentino’s 2013 masterpiece.  Despite the ‘great beauty’ of the title, Rome has become a place of criminality, sexual exploitation and superficiality. Just as its son Jep, an ageing art critic of once great taste and eloquence, has become a jaded old cynic.

    A better deal under Brexit?

    A better deal under Brexit?

    Read my post for New Start magazine on the implications of Brexit for poor neighbourhoods  “Despite the sneering and mockery, the Brexit voters in the poorest neighbourhoods might get themselves a better deal after all.” Photo by –Sam– 

    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    Read my review of ‘The Mediated City’ for 3:AM Magazine “It is easy to dismiss local news as irrelevant and outdated into today’s world of instant online, global communication; the preserve of headlines like ‘Old Mrs Miggins has a funny turn on the No. 30 bus’ and ‘Newsagent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.”

    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

    Community kick
    Community kick

    Read my ‘Ideas for change’ piece n what football clubs can do to boost local economic and social resilience “The hard truth is that regeneration-by-football is usually a failure…So what else could clubs do? The potential is there for them to be more than good neighbours to the communities that surround them.”

    Super Grass
    Super Grass

    Read my latest blog for New Start magazine “At the end of his talk, many of the officers in the audience approached David. I hope they felt galvanised to act afterward, to challenge the red tape and caution of their colleagues, and create community enterprise agencies everywhere.” Photo taken by me of ‘More than Minutes’ [...]

    Twelve takeaways from Regen 2014
    Twelve takeaways from Regen 2014

    Here are my top twelve observations from the Regen 2014 conference, held in Liverpool’s Stanley Dock, part of the government’s International Festival for Business.    

    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