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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...

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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. Commentator, Simon Jenkins, writing in the Guardian has described it as ‘incomprehensibly vague’. Government minister, Francis Maude is quoted as saying that it is “an idea, not a plan” (ref 1); while...

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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...

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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...

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