Three things a city in charge of its destiny ought to know about software

2015 promises change in the way that Leeds, Yorkshire and England’s north are governed. Not before time, decision-making and funding are to be brought closer to us, to the cities and localities where we live, learn, play and work. This new settlement will arrive at a time when cities and governments everywhere are challenged to design … Continue reading Three things a city in charge of its destiny ought to know about software

The definite article, or lines written on the opening of a former brewery headquarters as contemporary art gallery

These past few years have been tough on Tetley's disembodied headquarters. First came the loss of the purpose for which it was built in the depths of 1930s depression - a human-scale head office for a family firm. The directors' boardroom was relegated to an outpost of the Carlsberg empire. Lutheran rectitude became the order … Continue reading The definite article, or lines written on the opening of a former brewery headquarters as contemporary art gallery

At Future Everything: nobody likes a smart arse, even when it’s a city

“Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” - Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina, opening line Why did Glasgow win the right to host the Technology Strategy Board’s £24 million Future Cities Demonstrator? Project Leader Scott Cain reels off a set of doom-laden statistics: a looming crisis in affordable warmth; … Continue reading At Future Everything: nobody likes a smart arse, even when it’s a city

Five minutes, one year, two buildings, a thousand stories

Notes from my presentation at Bettakultcha, Leeds Town Hall, on Wednesday 9 January 2013. What an amazing venue. I could spend the next five minutes just talking about this building. I could tell you how the Leeds Corporation raised a special tax and set a budget of £35,000 to build a grand new town hall. … Continue reading Five minutes, one year, two buildings, a thousand stories

For Ada Lovelace Day: Eleanor Coade, technology entrepreneur of the 18th Century

It's Ada Lovelace Day, an international day of blogging to celebrate the achievements of women in science, technology, engineering and maths. In previous years I've written about Elizabeth Montagu, Lizzie Le Prince and Laura Willson. This time I want to highlight the unique achievements of Eleanor Coade, creator and entrepreneur behind one of the most durable … Continue reading For Ada Lovelace Day: Eleanor Coade, technology entrepreneur of the 18th Century

Mr. SMEATON IN UR RIVR FIXIN UR BR1DGE

On opening the great arch at London Bridge, by throwing two arches into one, and the removal of a large pier, the excavation, around and underneath the sterlings of that pier, was so considerable, as to put the adjoining piers, that arch, and eventually the whole bridge, in great danger of falling. The previous opinions … Continue reading Mr. SMEATON IN UR RIVR FIXIN UR BR1DGE

#walkshopping (winter edition)

We made a walkshop! At sunset on Tuesday, undeterred by George Osborne, high winds and torrential rain, 17 of Yorkshire's finest designers, technologists and geographers gathered to walk and talk, to see Leeds in a new light. The inspiration came from Adam Greenfield and Nurri Kim’s booklet “Systems/Layers”: “A walkshop is a new kind of … Continue reading #walkshopping (winter edition)