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Cities in Cinema 3: Fargo
Cities in Cinema 3: Fargo

Read my third instalment for 3AM Magazine’s ‘Cities in Cinema’ series “Fargo is full of alerts and alarms, from the road signs warning drivers of storms and snowdrifts to the advert for Miller Beer that can be seen behind Marge as she radios the police station from her car. “As if this town wasn’t cold enough…” […]

Who killed Kenny?
Who killed Kenny?

Read my article for New Start magazine on the failure of regeneration in Kensington, Liverpool “The Liverpool Echo’s recent reports into the state of the city’s ‘Kenny’ neighbourhood paint an alarming picture. Yet the most shocking fact is that the same neighbourhood was the recipient of £62m through the New Deal for Communities programme.” Photo […]

Berlin Bodies
Berlin Bodies

Read my review of ‘Berlin Bodies’ for 3AM Magazine  “I found myself carried along by his descriptions of how the city’s rich and conflicted history has given rise to these diverse tribes of urban identity.” Image taken by me.    

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.”

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

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 […]