Thinking about the Gather space after Sunderland

Thanks again to the people of South Hylton for an excellent workshop on NHS Citizen on Thursday. The most important part for me was the discussion about the Gather layer, which expanded the list of our tricky questions (in case you’re wondering, that’s a good thing). The main points that I took away are: National/local: […]

The Open Office: a drop-in centre for neighbourhood planning

Here’s a great idea reported in the Guardian. The physicality of local planning makes local workshops easy to arrange – could you have a central Government policy equivalent? A new project at London’s Architecture Foundation, masterminded by young architecture practice We Made That, aims to tackle this problem and put the workings of localism on […]

Power-sharing in Place-making

This post is by Nick Wright, and originally appeared on his blog, People, Place and Planning. Over the last five years, co-production and collaboration have become popular – the concepts of people and organisations working together to make better places, with a focus on action. For some examples, look through the case studies in the excellent Compendium […]

What about medium-sized?

In 2006, before the financial crisis and the resultant fiscal collapse, the last Government published a Local Government White Paper, Strong and Prosperous Communities. This is to some degree the ur-text of localism. It also points to some of the financial and administrative challenges that have confronted councils, with increasing intensity, ever since. The White […]

Think national, act local

This column originally appeared in the Local Government Chronicle.  For the last month or so, I’ve been working on one issue – how to take decisions openly – in two different projects, one in Whitehall and one in Lewes District Council. The contrasts are fascinating. With the Cabinet Office I’ve been running a discussion about […]

Speech at Conservative Councillors’ Association Conference 2012 (#cca12)

I gave a speech at the Conservative Councillors’ Association conference earlier today, on a panel with Cllr Stephen Greenhalgh, the leader of Hammersmith & Fulham, and Cllr Chris Hayward from Three Rivers district near where I grew up in west Hertfordshire. Unusually for me, I wrote a relatively full draft of what I wanted to […]

Is this Dalston?

I’ve talked to a few people about Euan Mills‘ excellent little project to find the place people describe as “Dalston” (a suburb of North London), but have never been able to find the link to it. So, thanks Strange Maps blog, who have posted about it with the original place-name graph – obtained by stopping every […]

Summit to cheer about

We’ve been involved in a fair few unconferences as participants or organisers, so we’re really pleased to be co-facilitating the Solace Summit, in Edinburgh in October, which is taking the radical-for-conferences step of involving the audience properly, and trying to achieve things (rather than talk about them). The typical local government conference has a parade […]

Big Society shrinkage?

Lord Wei, the Coalition Government’s Big Society ‘tsar’, stood down today. Cue a chorus of puns about small society and volunteers doing his job, and more dire warnings about how Cameron’s flagship policy is under threat.  But in the midst of all this Jo Ivens asks what is worth pursuing out of the ideas corralled under the Big […]