March, 2017

How's that pound in your pocket?

How’s that pound in your pocket?

The good folk of Manchester, Liverpool and Wirral have enjoyed steady wage growth over the last five years – but don’t ask Merrion’s managing director why.  He’d only be guessing. Numeracy isn’t my thing, but as the son of a geography teacher maps, charts and graphs most certainly are.  Whilst pootling around my on-line reading list I came across the graph […]

MIPIM review: who can fathom those crazy French?This is what a water taxi looks like at MIPIM

MIPIM review: who can fathom those crazy French?

Tens of thousands of high-spending property folk descended on Cannes this week for the MIPIM real estate shin-dig and Merrion managing director Dougal Paver braved the warm Mediterranean sunshine and endless champagne and canapes to bring readers the inside track.  His conclusion?  The French are bonkers. Convention cities the world over would give their eye teeth to host a conference like […]

Ditching diesel cars: where does your city stand?In need of a hydrogen engine. Quick

Ditching diesel cars: where does your city stand?

Diesel cars look like becoming the new pantomime villains, but controlling or even banning them from cities poses logistical as well as political challenges.  Merrion managing director Dougal Paver casts his eye over the issue. At the biggest private sector employer in Liverpool a shiny new car rolls off the production line every 80 seconds – and the vast majority are diesel. Liverpool council, […]

If a city can rise and fall, then it can rise againGrass. There's a lot of it in downtown Detroit

If a city can rise and fall, then it can rise again

The doctrine of ‘managed decline’ still holds in some American cities, but was given short shrift in the UK by Margaret Thatcher and Michael Heseltine.  Good job, too, suggests Merrion Strategy MD Dougal Paver. ‘Right-sizing’ – the sort of euphemism for which Bullshit Bingo was invented.  And when players in Detroit shout ‘house!’ the irony is painful, for right-sizing is the city’s […]

Porto: proof not everywhere plays the regeneration gamePorto: the jewel on the Douro. It just needs a bit of polishing

Porto: proof not everywhere plays the regeneration game

Porto is Portugal’s second city and was long held up as its industrial and commercial powerhouse.  But the figures – and the evidence of his own eyes – don’t convince Merrion MD Dougal Paver. For one of life’s great puzzles head to Porto in northern Portugal, the city that gave it’s name to  your Aunty Pat’s favourite Christmas tipple. Wander […]

Has Birmingham been knocked off its perch as the UK's second city?Manchester. Is this now the UK's second city?

Has Birmingham been knocked off its perch as the UK’s second city?

A much-publicised suggestion by The Economist magazine that the government should move to Manchester whilst the Houses of Parliament are refurbished has given Birmingham’s cheerleaders a fit of the vapours.  Is it no longer the UK’s second city?  Merrion MD Dougal Paver investigates. In Britain’s Victorian hey-day at least four cities could make a credible claim to be the nation’s […]

Barcelona is full, but is 'banning' tourists smart?Not everyone is happy with Barcelona's rampant tourism market

Barcelona is full, but is ‘banning’ tourists smart?

For many cities, wading through tourist dollars would be a lovely problem to have.  But not in Barcelona, it seems, whose mayor is seeking to control the numbers ‘let in’, as Dougal Paver discovers. Thirty two million.  Divide that by 365 to find the average number of tourists per day pouring in to central Barcelona.  87,671 to be precise.  Except, of […]