You can tell a lot about a society and its politics by its architecture: conservative and re-assuring, or brutal and ‘new’. But where would a future historian look for the defining architecture of today and what would they find? Ambiguity? Lack of conviction? A growing feeling that both architecture and politics have grown irrelevant? If they looked harder, might they find architecture, of a different sort, that promises – for the first time in our history – the potential to build structures that will support genuine democracy at last?
What links a taxi driver in Birmingham with an investment banker in New York? Or, for that matter, a farmer in Mirpur, Pakistan, with a care assistant in Hackney and a retired bus conductor in Barbados? The answer might be ‘six degrees of separation’. That is, the idea that no more than six personal connections [...]
Neighbourhood Forums, Community First panels and other groups interested in setting up local websites in Birmingham are invited to take up support from Chamberlain Forum and Community Network 4 Birmingham. Any local group can set up, and get support to manage, a neighbourhood website for free as part of a project to extend local websites to cover 100 city neighbourhoods.
Geoff Mulgan’s Chamberlain Lecture on 19 October 2010 took place at St Martin’s in the Bull Ring, in Birmingham’s historic heart where the church has stood since the 13th century amidst the clatter of the Bull Ring market. (The market, significantly perhaps, pre-dates the church by about 100 years.) About 70 people joined the meeting and many took part in discussion either as part of the ‘round table’ event that preceded the lecture or the longer period of open debate that followed it.
To-day we have naming of parts. What should the growing number of people who blog, tweet, share film, pictures and stories about their locality be called? This ‘naming of parts’ probably wouldn’t matter much except government has identified there is value in what they do and, broadly, wants more of it. That means finding a [...]
Blogging on news of the launch of the Civic Society’s Street Pride campaign for 2010, Kevin Harris makes a really good point about the need to join up the various initiatives that aim to encourage communities to care for their streets. I’d add ‘public open spaces’ as well: in Birmingham we have the excellent BOSF [...]