Recently in Culture Category
Hark the Coalition Government does sing
Economic growth seems the priority for everything
We have no time for those who protest and complain
Lets dismiss their negativity with contempt and disdain
This blog is based on a talk I gave to the Planning and Development Association Meeting University of Birmingham 19th October 2012.
As this government embarks on a series of further ad-hoc iterations and changes to planning policy it is timely to present two simple stories that together offer an important critique for the way planning is currently carried out and the way that uncertainty is becoming the real enemy of enterprise.
The recent talks at Rio+20 on sustainable developments have been criticised by many for achieving very little in terms of tackling the crisis facing the planet. In my view the reasons for this are clear and embedded in the way we communicate science and policy to public demanding critical self-examination and reflection.
Last week in my gym I saw a notice stating how the gym was going to be improved that night with a major re-organisation of equipment and that this represented an exciting new development in the evolution of the gym and that all members would benefit.
My students have just completed a critical assessment of Birmingham Big City Plan. This forms part of a module called Policy and Plans and the challenge was to look critically at real live plans and assess whether they were effective or, as Baldrick would say, cunning plans. At the heart of the Big City Plan lies a vision to reposition Birmingham as a global city. This resonates with the current growth agenda pursued by the government and the creation of the Birmingham and Greater Solihull and Black Country Local Enterprise partnerships provide delivery vehicles to help achieve this. However, in all this talking and planning for economic growth, investment and regeneration one word is conspicuous by its absence; nature.
A leading planning academic at Borsetshire City University has expressed grave concerns over the planning processes used to assess the Mega Dairy proposal at Home Farm by Borsetshire Land by Brian Aldridge.
"The proposal clearly has not followed the proper legal channels opening up the way for a legal challenge to the local government ombudsman whatever the ultimate planning decision. This would result in considerable legal fees against the council at a time of unprecedented cutbacks in council spending".
This blog forms the last piece relating to my recent panel appearance on 26th January 2012 as part of the Great Regional Debate hosted by the Royal Town Planning Institute. This blog responds to two questions.
How do the panel feel the ordinary local voter can better make the connection between what we do as professions and the value we bring to the sub - region so that there is a greater appreciation of local skills and the potential of localism'
I deliver a module to built environment students at Birmingham City University entitled 'Policies and Plans' in which we look critically at what makes a good policy or plan.
Baldrick in Blackadder provided initial inspiration as he always seemed to have a cunning plan to get out of the crisis situations that invariably resulted.
However, a good plan is dependent on a clear vision, good intelligence, assessment of alternatives, involvement of affected parties and effective review processes.
Crucially, the process by which the plan is produced is every bit as important as the plan itself.
A little bit cheeky, but I thought I'd give a wider airing to an article I wrote for the Post recently which doesn't seem to have made it onto the website. It's an interview with Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt about his plans for local television stations, and I thought it would be of interest to people involved in media in Birmingham:
Plans to give towns and cities their own local television channels have been hailed by Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt as "the biggest change in the broadcasting landscape for a couple of decades".
A new Birmingham station will serve 1.2 million people in the city and some of the surrounding area, including Walsall, Dudley and parts of Wolverhampton.
The more Simon Cowell wants Wagner to fail the more certain he is to succeed, writes guest blogger Anthony Painter:
In the hit Mel Brooks' Broadway musical, The Producers, two theatrical fraudsters work out how to earn millions from failure. The only problem is that the more they try to fail, the more they succeed. Their grotesque concept is a musical based on the rise of the Nazis, 'Springtime for Hitler: a gay romp with Eva and Adolf at Berchtesgaden.' It has all the ingredients of a spectacular failure. Instead it's a massive hit.
And after Pensnett's own Wagner once again breezed through to the next round of X-Factor, Cowell must know how those two fictional producers felt. The more he wants Wagner to fail, the more successful the Brazilian-born West Midlander is becoming.
The issue is not cash. Whatever happens Cowell will be a financial winner in this head-on confrontation. That's not the point. For guys like Cowell cash is not enough - he's got loads already. They want power. The irony is that Cowell was all-powerful. Rage Against the Machine and now Wagner have pierced the mystique.
Ten years ago this month, I sat each evening at a supper table in Pretoria. The Afrikaans host of the pension where I stayed, put his half-dozen or so guests around the same table. Thereby I got to dine with the most interesting of companions. They ranged from diplomats to engineers. Some were South Africans, some foreigners like myself. Most were seeking to help the fledgling new society function well.