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.

Posted March 28, 2014 by 

In May in Vienna there will be a unique event. It will bring together sixteen people who have been leading figures in the academic development of planning over the past decades – or fifteen and me to be more accurate! The Evolution of Planning Thought project  seeks to collect an oral history of how ideas about planning have developed, and to do it before the Grim Reaper silences those who played leading roles. It’s international planning history through the eyes of those who created it.

Fifty years ago few people thought of planning as a discipline. Many planners trained on the job; there were some university courses but they were few in number and sought to deliver practical training rather than critical research. In the decade from the late 1950s through to the end of the 1960s planning schools began to change. New staff were appointed who saw themselves as career teachers and researchers; unlike the previous generation they often came from a social science background.

Posted March 17, 2014 by 

2013-09-08 17.50.39Like many planners I am a fan of the movies, and especially fascinated by films where place is central to the narrative. Over the weekend I was lucky enough to see not one, but two films about cities. They have a lot of similarities but also many differences. They areFellini’s Roma and Terence Davies’ reflections on Liverpool, Of Time and the City. What do they tell us about today’s urban situation?

Of Time and The City

Of Time and the City  is described as “a love song and a eulogy to Liverpool.” Davies was born in the city in 1945, and his 1988 film Distant Voices, Still Lives recreated the city and time in which he grew up. Made in 1988, Of Time and The City is less of a drama, more a visual, musical and poetic insight to place, class and time. It uses archive film overlaid with a personal narrative.

Posted March 10, 2014 by 

lagos-21The newly published third report on The State of African Cities  shows how informal development is a key force in the continent’s urbanisation, yet also poses major dilemmas. The report’s sub-title “Re-imagining sustainable urban transitions” suggests both the need to come up with new answers, but also the elusiveness of solutions. Anybody interested in Africa, sustainable development or planning should read it and ponder what can be done.