"Nobody made a greater mistake than he who did nothing because he could do only a little."
Town centres are dying. The economic crisis has highlighted the malaise. There are empty shops, as people head to the edge of town supermarket. Internet shopping replaces the trip to the store downtown. Prominent buildings once used for public functions such as town halls, post offices or churches stand empty too, as services have been rationalised or public attitudes have changed.
The news that the Qatari emir Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani has bought six islands in the Ionian Sea for 8.5m Euro is a further indication of changing relations between Europe and its neighbourhood. The EU - and those of us who live in it - still see Europe as the centre of the world. After all that’s what our maps show us and how our daily news bulletins are packaged. This world view is built on a long history during which time - for good and for ill - this small continent really did lead the world.
“The planning system has a significant role in supporting sustainable economic growth in rural areas.” This statement is from the Scottish Government’s Planning Policy. However, planning decisions in rural Scotland can often be very controversial, as Cliff Hague explains in his new blog post.
How can we make the places safer and more secure? I was prompted to ask this by the gang-rape and murder of a young woman in India that was given so much coverage in the news internationally. I did a bit of research on what women’s groups have been doing in India to focus the attention of planners, designers and police on the issues of sexual harassment and assault.
Cliff Hague, Professor Emeritus, urban and regional planner, academic, theorist and author of the ICN blog recently went to Cyprus where he visited Paphos, European City of Culture 2017. But according to Cliff Hague Paphos is a rather unlikely City of Culture. One that is worth to have a closer look at.
Hurricane Sandy was the largest tropical storm ever recorded in the Atlantic, covering an area 900 miles across, with 150km per hour winds bringing torrential rain. We have all been stunned by the impact that it has had on the Eastern Seaboard of the USA. Without in any way belittling this, it is important to remember that it is not just the USA that has suffered.
The idea that place is important – economically, socially and environmentally - has gathered pace in recent years. Therefore the new book Shaping Places: Urban Planning, Design and Development is welcome. It is written by David Adams and the late Steve Tiesdell, colleagues at the University of Glasgow before Steve’s untimely death in 2011.
The idea of making your town more attractive has been central to the Trans-in-Form INTERREG project in which several IC members are partners. Now an ESPON Report from the “ATTREG” project has researched this project and published its findings. It points to the fact that some of the places that have been seen as being very successful in the recent past are now struggling to sustain their success.