Original blogs on CliffHague.com
Here in UK, and particularly in the North of England, museums and public galleries are being closed down as councils struggle to cope with real reductions in income forced by the UK government's austerity programme. In USA it is a different story.
China's slowing growth and rising debts have sent tremors through global markets. Urbanisation has been integral to the near double digit annual growth over recent years, so what does the slow down mean for regional and local development within China, and in particular for the local authorities?
There will be another 2 billion people living in urban areas by 2030. With a billion people now living in slums,and over 100,000 homeless people in Delhi, for example, it is no exaggeration to say that this is a critical decade for cities and the practice of urban planning.
The international agreement reached in COP21 in Paris should provoke a wide ranging review of planning policies around the world.
Place-based innovation is vital to making cities more inclusive, but much depends on local leadership.
The 2015-2030 Sustainable Development Goals to be adopted by governments at the United Nations next week pose a direct challenge and opportunity for planning and other built environment professionals.
In smaller towns across the UK and many other countries, the town centres are struggling. Julian Dobson, has a barrowful of ideas of what to do about it. His book How to Save Our Town Centres is the best starting point I know for those who want to combine analysis with action. It is well researched, well-informed and refreshingly creative. It deserves an international audience. Much of the analysis is UK-focused, but there are plenty of non-UK examples of innovative responses to the problems of town centres.
Zlin is an outstanding example of a town inspired by 20th century functionalist architecture. This classic company town was a product of the Bata shoe company, its "home town" that the company then mimicked across the continents. It survived Communism, and now a finely balanced conflict is taking place between conservation and consumer capitalism.
The spatial impacts of the bailout deals forced on Greece have yet to be fully assessed. However, the early indications are that they will have negative impacts on small and medium sized enterprises which are so important in small towns and rural regions, and also on local food networks.