Municipal Dreams

    Municipal Dreams

    Read my review of Municipal Dreams for the LSE Review of Books “Nobody argues that the post-war planners and architects didn’t care enough or act with idealistic intentions. The issue is that they were able to act with impunity, sweeping away lived-in communities and upending people’s lives.” Image taken by me at the University of […]

    Under-the-radar radicals

    Under-the-radar radicals

    Read my report for the National Association of Neighbourhood Management “Our research report “Doing the right thing”, written by John P. Houghton, has built up a picture of locality and neighbourhood working across England in 2018; where it being used, what models are in place, and what factors are likely to affect its future. Images […]

    Hope Street 3: A new agenda

    Hope Street 3: A new agenda

    Read part 3 of the Hope Street series of essays for New Start magazine “Regeneration has led to stasis at best and further damage and abandonment at worst. The shamans of the old religion still recant the same prayers and promises, but nobody believes them anymore.”

    Hope Street 2: Where are we now?

    Hope Street 2: Where are we now?

    Read part 2 of the Hope Street series of essays for New Start magazine “There had been talk of ‘regeneration turning 40’, but there was no birthday celebration. People spoke instead in hushed tones, as if discussing a patient whose prospects darkened with every passing day.” Photo taken by me in Liverpool.

    Hope Street 1: Why regeneration failed

    Hope Street 1: Why regeneration failed

    Read part 1 of the Hope Street series of essays for New Start magazine “With so much energy directed inward, on the administration of the system, there was precious little focus on the need to wire what was happening at the neighbourhood level into opportunity and growth.”

    Pretty vacant

    Pretty vacant

    Read the final word on the story of my old house As a regeneration professional, empty and vandalised homes are a sadly commonplace sight. That didn’t, however, alter the shock of seeing my old home in such a sorry state.    

    Last of London

    Last of London

    Read my review of The Last of London for 3AM Magazine “The soulful strands of Sinclair’s threnody are almost lost in a sea of quotidian bile.” Picture taken by me old Deptford High Street

    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 […]

    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  

    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.”