Can Belfast become a city fit for the future?

A few minutes after you leave Belfast City Airport to head into the city centre, a row of fluttering purple flags greets you. They signal that the estate behind the fence is the territory of the Ulster Volunteer Force. Seven months ago they weren’t there. It’s a visible sign of the fragility of Belfast’s recovery […]

Why local works: the story of Giroscope

On the front page of Giroscope’s website is a three point pledge to its tenants. It sounds like the sort of thing some big, commercially minded landlords would do, but the content of this small Hull charity’s promise is rather different: • So long as the conditions of the tenancy are met, you have the right […]

Stimulating debate, challenging assumptions: our work in 2012

If the state of the economy and society during 2012 has taught us anything, it is that new thinking is needed to bring us through times that are already a lot harder than anyone imagined at the onset of the financial crisis five years ago. Yet much of that thinking remains on the margins of […]

The Portas Review, one year on

To mark the first anniversary of the publication of the Portas Review, AMT and Urban Pollinators have brought together a range of collaborators to reflect on town centre progress and problems. High streets and town centres remain firmly on the UK, Scottish and Welsh Governments’ agendas. It’s encouraging that so much local action is taking place and […]

Can social landlords be agents of local economic change?

A few years ago the Joseph Rowntree Foundation produced a report entitled Person or place-based policies to tackle disadvantage? Not knowing what works. The title was a fitting, if depressing, summary of more than two decades of research and practice. The current government has decided that the answer to this conundrum is to stop looking […]

Ten questions every town team should ask

The recent Portas Review of the high street set out 28 recommendations to revitalise our town centres, number one of which was to set up ‘town teams’ to bring together different stakeholders into a single management team. While Mary Portas described this as ‘getting our town centres running like businesses’, she meant something much bigger […]

Welcome to the world of laissez-faire localism

  ‘Yes, Mr Shapps – I’m feeling better already!’   Imagine a health service where nobody bothered to share learning nationally or internationally about which treatments worked and why. Imagine a health service where it was considered entirely unnecessary to explore the causes of sickness, as long as local GPs and hospitals were given free […]

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 […]

Introducing the Deighton and Brackenhall tapes

Over the last few days we’ve been carrying out a series of in-depth interviews in north Huddersfield, examining the progress made by the Deighton and Brackenhall Initiative. The initiative has been working for a decade to improve what were some of the poorest areas of Kirklees in west Yorkshire. The work has included the demolition […]

Inspiration of the week: Riace

European governments are bickering over what to do with the influx of migrants fleeing violence and upheaval in north Africa. Perhaps they should take a look at the Italian village of Riace, where a positive attitude to refugees has brought new life to a community that was struggling to survive. Riace (pop: 1700) looks idyllic. […]