Summary of projects 2005. More to come (on King’s Cross especially).
In the work sphere, the stirring thing in 2005 has been the growth of the London Social Forum to the point where we ran a good meeting in City Hall on 29 October and now have a working group on the London Plan. Richard Lee has been a great pleasure to work with on this (and also on King’s Cross). Details of all this at http://www.londonsocialforum.org.uk. The June meeting of INURA in rome was excellent and also enabled me to meet up with people from Sbilaniamoci! (see below).
Running in parallel has been work on the europe-wide issues of housing and planning, starting with a talk which Andreas Faludi asked me to do for the AESOP conference in Vienna in July. I enjoyed that a lot and then did a revised version of it at Sbilanciamoci! in Rome in September – a very interesting meeting of a kind of broad left / green spectrum, to challenge a simultaneous meeting which Berlusconi was holding somewhere else in Italy. Meeting was held in a much-modernised Corviale, now seemingly equipped with municipal services and good cafes as well as an auditorium where the meetings were.
Met a lot of very inspiring people. Laura Balbo whom I hadn’t seen for 20 years, Aminata Touré from Bamako who is leading part of the WSF Africa meeting. (She and I were snapped by a photographer and feature in the ‘well-dressed’ part of a fashion feature in the Corriere della Sera. link for fun and vanity. And NB thanks to Sandro Balducci who told me about it and then, heroically, actually found it for me!) Ornella da Zordo from Firenze who had got elected to the Consiglio (city council) representing a loose civil-society organisation and wanted me to come and speak to them, which I did in November. That combined with a lecture to the economics dept at Siena, the invitation of Fabio Petri. All this extremely stimulating, partly because these various groups in Italy are so concerned about the swing from a productive to a rentier economy and piecing together the forces which bring it about. There is a lot more to do on this, but housing and property markets are an important part of it all. I just have to write it all up now.
Final Italian episode, arising from the Firenze visit, was an invitation to meet in London with Dario Fo who is standing for election as Mayor of Milano. I met him and his partner Mrs Rame and discussed congestion charge, bio-fuel for public transport, housing and assorted topics and then was able to send him some papers and references – thanks partly to help from David Banister on the transport issues. There seems likely to be a meeting in Milano in late January to which Ken Livingstone and I are invited…..
One other thing: I realised I had all my papers from the 1990s sitting in a folder called “not book” and I spent a few hours getting them just to the point where they could presentably be an e-book. It is now up, initially at
and then permanently on the UCL e-print site.