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Leeds

A #trulysocial50 occasion

Sign

Sometimes you think ‘I’m just going to do this and to hell with it’. Then, after you’ve told people and realise what you just set yourself up for and the butterflies kick in, you think to yourself ‘you said you wouldn’t do this again’. Continue reading “A #trulysocial50 occasion”

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Little boxes

A61 sign

They say ‘build it and they will come’ however I spend most of my working day convincing folk that’s bunkum. Tell people something is being built, explain why, invite them to be involved; then they might come and even tell others.

It’s been a week since 198 cyclists paraded along my street. I say my street because from my house I can see the place where me and my family stood in the central reservation of the  A61 to watch the Tour de France pass by. It’s the street down which I get the bus most days into Leeds where I work. It’s the street up which I brought my youngest son home after he was born. It’s our street.

The estate is bordered by Scott Hall Road to the east, along which the Tour de France will come.

This is my view every morning as I wait for the bus. There’s usually a fair bit of traffic. Last Saturday however, the road was closed all day in both directions. The Tour de France came by in the outward lane and on the inward lane, children played on their bikes and people walked in the road without worrying about traffic.

20140705_103018 Continue reading “Little boxes”

A river runs through it

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That’s the title of a 1992 film based on a 1976 book by Norman Maclean about family life in early 20th century Montana. The book and film are presented from the view of older brother Norman who goes on one last fly fishing trip with his troubled younger brother Paul; the river being the focus to engage in an attempt to help him get his life on track.  Continue reading “A river runs through it”

Hoping for a conversation, but never mind

cropped-20140516_0805132.jpgEarlier this year I attended Urbanized; the second film in the #cityseriesleeds set of films. The aim, other than showing films in a great little cinema in Hyde Park, Leeds, is to encourage discussion and debate under the #cityseriesleeds tag and on various forums about how Leeds is and how it could be.

Both films so far have touched on the design and development of cities across the world. The discussion following Urbanized focussed on community engagement processes of various design projects shown in the film.

Someone suggested trying to get everyone’s views in any consultation just won’t help and that some consultation is just seen as ticking the box. A point also made, as shown in the film, was that smaller and different ways of getting people’s views might give planners, architects, designers and those elected and responsible for setting direction a gut feel so they can lead the project forward but based on their experience and mandate.

A few folk talked about how they thought timely communication at different stages of any engagement is crucial. Someone suggested that consultations/discussions are usually hijacked by the ‘usual suspects’ who shout loudest and are likely to put others and the little voices off contributing.

Time always catches up with things just when they are getting interesting but those present were asked to continue the discussion online. This post is part of that discussion.

Continue reading “Hoping for a conversation, but never mind”

Having a say, it’s our culture

GG quote

Things get messy sometimes but mostly, when the dust has settled, some good comes out of it.

I’m writing this as ‘Phil from Moortown, Leeds’ rather than ‘Phil from the council’, although sometimes I can see it’s difficult to tell. More on that here. Does that matter? On this occasion; yes – big time.

On Friday night, my football team – Leeds United, got itself in a huge mess. The story is still unfolding but in summary the club announced it had sacked the manager and then yesterday announced it hadn’t. Who knows what will happen tomorrow. Messy, very messy and a bit embarrassing for the club, the fans and the city. It made me feel embarrassed to come from Leeds. Stupid I know, but true. I care about my club and my city. It’s times like these that you find out how much. Twitter and various other forums lit up with unanimous condemnation of what had happened. Some immediately disassociated themselves with the club, something they had loved for years. They will probably return. Continue reading “Having a say, it’s our culture”

It all starts with a ‘thing’

Nessy

When I started clearing my drive of snow one day last winter there wasn’t much happening in my head or in my street. It was sunny, the snow was deeper than usual and it would probably take me an hour or so to clear the drive. I had no plans other than a family walk; ‘thinking time’ I thought.

Continue reading “It all starts with a ‘thing’”

Relevance

I’ve probably only ever read 15 books in my life including those that I was made to read at school; Lord of the Flies; The Weirdstone of Brisingamen and A Midsummer Night’s Dream. All a bit bonkers as I recall and so not relevant to me at that time in my life. Continue reading “Relevance”

Journeyman

Last month I received a clock and a lapel badge in recognition of 25 years local government service. I’ll fess up; I was just a bit proud as I was called to receive them at our staff achievement awards. And yes, it was a clock, only a small one but quite heavy, which is my standard measure of quality, mostly used when assessing cakes and puddings! Continue reading “Journeyman”

A good knock

The 27th May 2012 marked the 25th anniversary of the day I joined Leeds City Council. I thought the occasion merited a few anecdotes. Back in ‘87 there was no big signing on fee, no press photo call holding up my shirt with my name on it with. I just turned up with my packed lunch and certificates at the Department of Industry and Estates (to become Leeds Development Agency, then Development Department, then Planning & Development Department, now City Development Directorate, etc etc).

Continue reading “A good knock”

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