Articles

Masculinities: liberation through photography

August 23, 2020

I’d been looking forward to going to this exhibition which opened on 20 February, but didn’t get the opportunity to visit before lockdown, so  I was delighted to get to see it just a couple of days before the end of its extended re-opening on 23 August. The subject is certainly topical in the context […]

A room with a view

August 8, 2020

We all know that writing isn’t just the process of sitting staring at a screen and hoping great thoughts will appear. My allotment plays quite an important part in the creative process; the rhythm of planting, watering, weeding, pruning and harvesting and the calm it brings, all enable creative thoughts to emerge from the subconscious.  […]

Planning’s radical and socialist roots

June 15, 2020

The COVID19 lockdown has some upsides, including quiet streets, bird song, clean air and a chance to think. It has also allowed me time to read a number of books that have been weighing on my conscience, the important but not so urgent category. One of these has been Duncan Bowie’s on the radical and […]

Transport infrastructure investment and national economic priorities

May 1, 2020

I’m not sure that when Boris Johnson claimed during the Tory leadership contest last year that making model buses and putting happy people in them, was the way he relaxed, that he anticipated this would become a metaphor for his infrastructure policies once Prime Minister. But with the subjects of connectivity and ‘levelling up’ suddenly […]

Oxford boy: a post-war townie childhood

March 11, 2020

Will Wyatt who was head of documentaries and managing director of television at the BBC was born and brought up in Oxford during and after World War Two. This is his childhood memoir [Oxford boy: a post war townie childhood. Signal Books 2018]. It is a memoir of what he calls ‘a townie childhood’ and […]

Theaster Gates: transforming Chicago’s south side one vacant building at a time

December 28, 2019

Not many urban planning graduates get to have a solo exhibition at the Tate. But Theaster Gates is no ordinary urban planning graduate. For a start he has two planning degrees. Performance artist, ceramicist, urban regenerator, Theaster Gates‘s first solo exhibition in the UK, Amalgam, opened at Tate Liverpool in December, running till May 2020 […]

Our National Parks at seventy

October 11, 2019

This autumn marks the 70th anniversary of the passage of the National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act. The then Minister of Town and Country Planning, Lewis Silkin, described it as ‘the most exciting Act of the post War Parliament’ (1) A big claim, but it was certainly of a piece with the Labour […]

A Green New Deal: can it fly?

August 3, 2019

Readers with long memories will recall the Green New Deal group that produced series of proposals more than a decade ago including a booklet entitled ‘Green New deal’ (1). Convened by the New Economics Foundation, it set out an ambitious set of proposals for a just climate transition in the dying days of the last […]

Hello disaster capitalism?

April 18, 2019

It is twelve years since Naomi Klein first coined the term ‘disaster capitalism’ (1). She was describing   the way corporations and the politicians linked to them, especially but not exclusively in the USA, used disasters, whether they be climate-related, military interventions or coups, major terrorist attacks, or other moments of crisis as opportunities to drastically […]

Poverty, planning and homelessness

January 6, 2019

Once in a while political events or public policy pronouncements and developments ‘on the ground’ coincide to reinforce each other. Theresa May’s calamitous General Election and the appalling tragedy of the Grenfell Tower disaster in early June 2017 are a case in point, the latter reinforcing the sense, post-election of an out of touch government […]