The Future Cities project

against technical solutions to political problems

» Communities

Labour Live: Bread & Circuses

Strolling into the Labour Live event on Saturday, I had promised myself I wouldn’t be bullied into paying more than the discounted £10 tickets (down from £35 a few months ago). Read more…

Home is where the Art is

beaumont estby Pierre Shaw | 2 March 2016
‘Re:Home’ is Cressida Brown’s revisit and revision to her 2006 play, ‘Home’ Read more…

Libraries are for reading not knitting

LibraryBy Elisabetta Gasparoni | 23 February 2016

The Carnegie Trust has created four databases to showcase library-run projects that contribute to public wellbeing Read more…

The dangers of ‘resilience’

survivalMaja Schwoerer | 22 June 2015

Maja Schwoerer reports on the Future Cities Salon debate at the Building Centre in London. Read more…

Britain after the riots

‘Out of the Ashes: Britain after the riots’ by David Lammy; Guardian Books, 2011. 272pp

Reviewed by Jane Sandeman | 11 October 2012

The death of Mark Duggan in August last year was followed by four days of riots in London, and later Birmingham and Manchester. While many agreed that the riots were nihilistic, opportunistic ‘mugging’ on a large scale, Read more…

Spare us from Community Engagement

By Dave Clements | 17 September 2012

What is the meaning of community today, and how it can be meaningfully engaged with? While there is no end of projects tasked with engaging communities, whether this is a meaningful activity or not is a moot point. Read more…

Ganging up on ‘Yoof’

Dave Clements | 23 February 2012

While they are, if claims coming out of last week’s summit are to be believed, to blame for the rise of al-Shabab in Somalia, the role of gangs in last summer’s riots was, at the very least, negligible. Read more…

Not the end of the world, says Blair

Dave Clements | 16 February 2007

“The UK is the worst place to grow up in the industrialised world” screamed the headlines, following the publication of UNICEF’s damning report. Read more…

After the Riots: what makes a city?

Michael Owens  | 17 October 2011

The riots affected many places that have been the focus for urban regeneration and neighbourhood renewal. It’s a bitter pill for those of us in the business to swallow, but our efforts may have contributed to the problem rather than helped create the solution. Read more…

The housewife that changed the world?

‘The Death and Life of Great American Cities’ by Jane Jacobs; Random House, 1961. 458pp

Reviewed by Alastair Donald | 31 July 2011

“From this house in 1961, a housewife changed the world.” When she died in 2005, the tributes and flowers on the pavement outside Jacobs’ former flat in Greenwich Village suggested the high esteem in which she is held by many designers who see her as having played a pivotal role in altering how we currently think about cities.  Read more…

ESSAY: ‘The Big Society’ (or ‘Compulsory Voluntarism’)

Austin Williams | 24 July 2010 | Muslim Institute Summer Conference, Cardiff

The Big Society is being promoted as the flagship government policy even though no-one seems to have the first idea what it means. Read more…

In a Right State

Martin Earnshaw | 20 October 2009

Is being fat a lifestyle choice or is it caused by circumstances beyond your control? Will the recession create a nation of alcoholics?  Read more…

Building Resilience

‘The Everyday Resilience of the City: How Cities Respond to Terrorism and Disaster’ by J. Coaffee, D. Murkami-Wood and P. Rogers; Palgrave/Macmillan, 2008. 304pp

Reviewed by Alastair Donald | 28 September 2009

Whether through ecological breakdown, terrorism, pandemics or crime, cities are now widely perceived as permanently ‘under threat’. Consequently, creating ‘resilience’ has become a key concept in public policy, and increasingly in urban design too. Read more…

Broken Communities: Is state intervention part of the cause or the solution?

Dave Clements | 12 February 2009

Facing criticism from all sides for proposing draconian welfare reforms during a recession, the Prime Minister said – as if responding to another question – that ‘doing nothing is not an option’ (1). In a way, of course, he’s right the benefits system is in a mess and needs sorting out. But sometimes it is better to just leave things alone until you’ve got something useful to contribute.  Read more…

The Future of Community

Speech given at Belfast Salon, Northern Ireland launch of The Future of Community

Alastair Donald | 25 November 2008

For obvious reasons British identity has long been a contested subject in Northern Ireland. However, today national identity has become a problematic issue on a much wider scale, with society’s elite no longer able to secure support for, or even articulate an agreed set of collective values. Read more…

Disparity and Diversity in the Contemporary City: social order revisited

Dave Clements | 25 October 2008

This event at the LSE was billed as a ‘look at classic urban themes as they are manifested in the contemporary city, focusing on social reproduction of inequality, the meanings of disorder, and the link between the two’. Such scholarly intercourse between sociological heavyweights might have promised much, but it delivered little in the way of insight. Read more…

Young People and Social Exclusion

A review of a Royal Society of Arts event held on 8th October 2008

Dave Clements | 15 October 2008

Matthew Taylor, Chief Executive of the Royal Society of Arts, on his way to Radio 4’s Moral Maze, found time to leave us with his thoughts on what he clearly felt was one of the hottest of topics, even in the eye of the economic storm. What once seemed impossible now seems possible, he said. Read more…

More than Bricks and Mortar

Dave Clements | November 2007

In a speech given at Battle of Ideas 2007, Dave Clements argues that housing has become a vehicle for contemporary prejudices, anxieties and orthodoxies about how we live.  Read more…

The Islamist

‘The Islamist’ by Ed Husain; Penguin, 2007. 288pp

Reviewed By Martin Earnshaw | November 2007

Since 7/7 made us aware that Islamist terrorism is as more likely to be produced at home than abroad, there has been a hardening of attitude towards the “extremists” in our midst and calls for “moderate” Muslims to disown them.  Read more…

ESSAY: The political engagement’s off

Austin Williams | October 2007

The e:petitions web page was launched on Number 10’s website in November 2006 ‘enabling anyone to address and deliver a petition directly to the Prime Minister.’ Presumably, someone thought that it would be a good wheeze to minimise the photo opportunities for aggreived members of the public to present a paper petition to the Prime Minister in full view of the waiting media. Read more…