Devolution comes to the cities?

March 27, 2015

It has been interesting times for localists since the Scottish Referendum. The result and the fallout has had a bigger impact on the governance of Britain debate than some in Westminster and Whitehall seemed to imagine. This is mainly because of the ‘solemn vow’ made by the three party in the days just before the […]

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 […]

Green Deal: energy saving or hot air?

March 26, 2014

In March 2013  I wrote about the launch of the Government’s  ‘Green Deal’.  In that article I set out what the vision was (ambitious) and the compromises that had been made to get it off the ground (messy), while expressing the hope  and some cautious optimism, that despite the complications inherent is the programme  as […]

Rebalancing Britain

March 24, 2014

 The Scottish referendum campaign is having an interesting  knock-on impact on English political debate.  The position and dominance of London – the place Scots most dislike about the United Kingdom in its present form, is being looked at more critically. There have been a couple of think tank-type report is recently , but the debate […]

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 […]

The English Question

January 17, 2014

It is worth contemplating the possibility of a scenario in which Scotland votes for independence in September and a new Government holds an ‘in/out’ referendum on the remainder of the UK’s membership of the EU in 2017 and the vote produces an ‘out’ result.  Whether it is of the social democratic  variety espoused by the […]

Co-operation still matters

December 17, 2013

The meltdown of the Co-operative Bank after its unwise merger with the Britannia Building Society, its botched take-over of part of Lloyds Bank (Project Verde) and the shenannigans of its former Chairman the Revd Paul Flowers, have been something of a field day for the enemies of cooperation and mutuality. The reputational damage both to […]

A better deal for bus users

November 19, 2013

I was involved in a cycling accident in the summer and wound up with a broken right shoulder. It has been painful and restricted me a lot, including no cycling or driving for six weeks. One positive, apart from being able to enjoy the summer sunshine in the garden, has been taking buses much more […]