Articles in the Planning & regeneration category:

A ‘gig economy’ or walking a tightrope?

January 3, 2017

The ‘sharing economy’ has become a popular concept recently. It is a term with multiple meanings  and depending on  one’s viewpoint is one of the positive outcomes of the digital economy and globalisation, or one of its most negative and destructive manifestations.  Essentially it is a term applied to a range of short term part-time […]

New Lanark: the ‘great experiment’

October 14, 2016

I visited New Lanark, social reformer Robert Owen’s experimental village on the banks of the upper Clyde in the summer. It is almost forty years since I was last there. The magic of the place hasn’t changed but the ‘visitor experience’ certainly has.  New Lanark now gets almost half a million visitors a year – […]

Cycling data helps cities

August 15, 2016

Have you heard of Strava? Nor had I until a couple of months ago and I’m a fairly keen cyclist. In truth if you are familiar with it you are likely to be young, tech savvy, and a keen runner or cyclist.   Strava is an app developed, where else, in San Francisco, for athletes, runners […]

Britain’s western powerhouse?

April 26, 2016

The ‘Northern Powerhouse’ has caught the political imagination even if there is some debate about whether the financial resources to turn it into reality are really going to appear from the Treasury. The English devolution agendas post the Scottish referendum, and the desire to create poles of economic, cultural and political influence in England outside […]

John Henry Brookes: the man who inspired a university

February 25, 2016

I recently came across a book that had been presented as an end of year prize to a student at the Oxford School of Technology, Art and Commerce. It was signed by the principal, one JH Brookes. Although I recognised the name, it made me realise just how little I knew about the person or […]

Derek Diamond: a tribute

June 19, 2015

Professor Derek Diamond  died in May aged 81. He was my tutor at LSE in the 1970’s  when I was  there doing a postgraduate course in Urban and Regional Planning. Derek was a leading British planner, or as he preferred to call himself, ‘an applied urban geographer’, for decades. Son of the Labour politician Lord […]

Anarchy and beauty

December 21, 2014

William Morris is somebody that many people in the planning, architecture and design worlds have found inspirational. However rather than looking at the man himself, Fiona MacCarthy’s exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery (NPG) to 15 January 2015, takes a look at Morris’s legacy. NPG Director Sandy Nairne, introduces the exhibition by saying that it […]

Urban regeneration the Chinese way

November 4, 2014

It is probably fair to say that most British people’s perception of the Chinese economic miracle involves bullet trains, dozens of high rise apartments and skyscraper office blocks, motorway flyovers and prestige architectural projects ranging from new airports to the Beijing Olympics facilities. This is all true. Indeed seeing it all in person is a […]

The environmental priorities of China’s citizens

September 29, 2014

I spent almost a month travelling in China earlier in the summer. It was my first visit for over 35 years. In answer to the question ‘Have you been to China before?’ saying ‘Yes, when Chairman Mao was alive’ was a bit of a conversation stopper. My intention was to learn what the environment and […]

Museum without walls: Meades vs Morris

February 1, 2014

Jonathan Meades is an architectural writer and TV programme maker. Museum without walls is a compilation of 54 articles and six television scripts written over a couple of decades and loosely organised around themes including place, memory, blandness, ‘edgelands’ and urban regeneration. He is an architectural writer who hates architects – the feeling is heartily […]