China250If you are 30 years old, then 260 million people have moved from rural China into its cities during your life time. This amounts to more than half of the current EU population. 117M moved in the decade between 2000 and 2010. Environmental pollution in many of these cities is still terrible, and for many migrants the housing conditions remain well below acceptable western norms. However, a case can also be made that this has been the most successful mass-migration from the countryside in human history. But now serious questions are being asked, and reform is on the agenda.

Posted May 26, 2014 by  & filed 

Aalborg, Denmark

“Architecture is for people”. This is how the new Danish Architecture Policy begins. The Danish government sees architecture as defining the country at home and internationally. It is about competitiveness, moving towards sustainability and social cohesion. The new policy depicts architecture as contributing to “the development of the welfare state”, and says that local authorities have a key role to play. “The municipalities set the overall goals and visions for an area’s physical development and implement the realization of the visions in a dialogue with the public and with market players.”

Erasmus+  is an EU programme supporting education, training, youth and sport. In 2015 Cliff worked with the partners in the Young Eyes project to develop a set of Guidelines for the delivery of the project.  

New Evidence on Smart, Sustainable and Inclusive Territories: ESPON results by summer 2010,  First ESPON 2013 Synthesis Report (2010) Co-author.

Territorial insight: Where to focus what types of investments: ESPON Results by early 2013, Second ESPON 2013 Synthesis Report (2013)  Co-author.

Territorial Dynamics in Europe: Gateway functions in Cities, ESPON Territorial Observation No.9, (2013)  Co-author.


Science in support of European Territorial Development and Cohesion, Second ESPON 2013 Scientific Report, December 2013 (2014)  Paper peer review and language editing.

Europe’s Neighbourhood from a Territorial Perspective, Report from the ESPON Internal Seminar in Paphos, Cyprus 5-6 December 2012 (2013) Co-author.

Territorial Dynamics in Europe: European Neighbourhoods, ESPON Territorial Observation No.11, (2014)  Co-author.


Opportunities and threats for Territorial Cohesion: Blue Growth and Urban Poverty, Report from the ESPON Open Seminar in Nafplion - Greece, 4 and 5 June 2014 (2014) Co-author.

Territories finding a New Momentum: Evidence for Policy Development, Growth and Investment, Third ESPON Synthesis Report (2014)  Co-author.


Progress on a European Platform for Applied Territorial Science, Third ESPON 2013 Scientific Report, December 2014, (2015)  Author of Chapters 5 and 7.


Cliff has operated as a freelance consultant since 2004. He does research, authors reports and is a facilitator and trainer.


European Observation Network for Territorial Cohesion and Development (ESPON) 2013 Programme.

Cliff has worked with Spatial Foresight GmbH ( ) to deliver research-based reports the ESPON Co-ordination Unit on European territorial development and policy. 

Posted May 6, 2014 by  Share

Cape Town 1995Will the UN adopt a post-2015 Sustainable Development Goal addressing urbanisation and human settlements? The draft for the new goals will be agreed early in June, before going to the UN General Assembly for what is expected to be formal endorsement. Thus this month is crucial, and planners, other construction professions, urban researchers and civic bodies need to be making their voices heard quickly.

Posted April 21, 2014 by Share



I was in Botswana recently. Planning there is going through a significant transformation. New legislation that came into force in April 2014 will see significant devolution of planning powers to 16 District-level authorities. Twelve of these are rural. As planning goes local the challenge will be to deliver a more strategic and sophisticated form of planning, and to ensure that young planners beginning their professional careers in remote parts of the country get the support they will need to deliver the new planning system. RTPI accreditation of the planning programme at University of Botswana will support this significant transition.