Inspiration of the week: South London’s urban forest

Hidden from incessant passing traffic at the busy south London junction of Elephant and Castle is an unusual urban forest. It’s a haven for wildlife and a home for 450 mature trees, planted 40 years ago when the Heygate Estate was built as affordable housing for local people. Now, after a long and acrimonious campaign […]

Inspiration of the week: Bow Arts

More than 100 artists have found affordable studio space and are helping to regenerate London’s east end, thanks to a unique collaboration with the registered social landlord Poplar HARCA. The scheme runs in Tower Hamlets, one of the poorest wards in the country, where HARCA had a growing number of redundant flats that had become […]

Inspiration of the week: Brighton’s planners

It isn’t often council planners are described as inspiring. Government ministers certainly don’t think so: the draft National Planning Policy Framework is designed to remove many of their current responsibilities. So why are Brighton’s planners inspiring? Brighton and Hove Council has just become the first in England to adopt planning advice to encourage food growing […]

Inspiration of the week: young people speak out about the riots

This week we feature a guest post from 18-year-old Susanna Dobson, associate research assistant at De Montfort University’s Centre for Social Action.   Just two weeks after the riots in England filled our television screens with images of burning, looting and violence, I took part in a day of discussion and workshops with young people […]

Inspiration of the week: the Govan Raid

This feature is a guest post by artist Matt Baker ( Govan, a district in the south west of Glasgow, has been one of the city’s ‘invisible’ areas for many years. However, architect Zaha Hadid’s new Riverside Museum suddenly puts the area in the public eye. The Riverside is the latest attempt to bring new […]

Inspiration of the week: Coventry Artspace

Artists, shoppers and businesspeople have all benefited from an innovative project to make the best possible use of empty shops in Coventry. Coventry Artspace, acting as arts development team for Coventry City Council and working closely with the council’s property team, brought together a range of partners to manage a number of spaces in City […]

Inspiration of the week: Walsall 100

An experiment that involved Walsall Council tweeting round the clock for 24 hours proved so successful that they stepped things up a gear. Walsall 24 was a way of drawing attention to the tens of thousands of things that councils do for their residents in the course of a day. By definition, these ‘everyday’ activities […]

Inspiration of the Week: Storying Sheffield

Storying Sheffield is a groundbreaking project which brings university students together with the people of Sheffield to create a living portrait of life in the city. Half the participants in the project are second-year undergraduates studying English Literature at the University of Sheffield. Storying Sheffield is an optional module which they can take as part […]

Inspiration of the week: The Greenhouse

Walk into the Greenhouse and you wouldn’t imagine it was once a local eyesore. The former Shaftesbury House workers’ lodgings in Beeston Hill, south Leeds, is now a showpiece for sustainable living. It’s an example of what can be done with a building that could easily have been demolished and replaced with a boring development of […]

Inspiration of the week: Jane’s Walk

It’s an unusual legacy but Jane’s Walk, which gets people out exploring the areas where they live and talking to their neighbours, would surely be welcomed by urbanist Jane Jacobs. Jane’s Walk celebrates the memory of Jacobs, who died in 2006. She had radical ideas about the best way to make cities work, believing they […]