Liverpool allotmentsNow there's civilised for you

Grub up! Time for a city allotment

Allotments civilise cities, not just because of the obvious but because they slow folk down, suggests a mad-busy Dougal Paver.  He should know: he spent his youth on his grandpa’s lovingly tendered Tyneside plot. I skinned my first rabbit aged nine and can still do it, when required, inside around 30 seconds.  I’ll spare you the gory details, but it’s […]

Why Liverpool's Big Dig couldn't dig deep enoughThe quickest way to by-pass the Strand at 8am

Why Liverpool’s Big Dig couldn’t dig deep enough

Liverpool’s Big Dig caused angst a-plenty before its conclusion in 2008, but few would now deny that it wasn’t a great success. But for many there’s a nagging worry that it didn’t go far – or deep – enough. You’ll remember its purpose – improve traffic circulation around the city centre and remove car journeys through town, re-balancing it so […]

If your city is home to a global sports brand, milk itNorwegians on holiday. Lots of 'em

If your city is home to a global sports brand, milk it

There’s a world of glory-seeking sports nuts out there who’ll travel the globe to attend the best events.  And as some cities are discovering,  you can re-position an entire economy on the back of sporting success.  Merrion MD Dougal Paver explores the issue. When I lived in Barcelona I didn’t attend a single match at Camp Nou, nor at city […]

How hip is your neighbourhood? If it's like mine, not veryA good deal hipper than where I live.

How hip is your neighbourhood? If it’s like mine, not very

Wide Georgian streets.  Leafy garden squares.  Hip cafes, bars and restaurants for the bearded classes and more quirky monuments and historical curios than you could shake a stick at.  And still his corner of Liverpool doesn’t make it on the hip list.  Darn it!, says Dougal Paver. This morning’s Telegraph has a summary of the world’s hippest neighbourhoods, and you know […]

Amsterdam's backie scheme makes tourists welcomeSure beats a taxi fare

Backie! Amsterdam’s wonderful wheeze to make tourists feel welcome

City bike schemes have proved hugely popular around the globe, but now the Dutch have gone one further – inviting tourists to hop on the back of a local’s bike.  Dougal Paver investigates. Galway this week garnered global publicity after a leading American travel magazine nominated it the world’s friendliest city.  Amsterdam can’t have done its chances in next year’s survey […]

Londoners' football allegiance, mappedIt's complicated, this football thing - just ask Londoners.

Southern glory seeker or die-hard Blue, your football allegiance tells us something about modern Britain

It marks one of the great urban and social divides in Britain, illuminating some peculiarly British linguistic, social and cultural fault lines.  Welcome to the complicated world of football allegiance, says Dougal Paver. This blog is about urban society and economics and it behoves us, dear reader, to cast a light on whatever we may find that illustrates the complexities of the social and economic ties […]

Doheny's pub, DublinBehind these doors lies greatness. Pic credit: the talented Patrick Donald

What’s the pub-ulation of your town?

Among the joys of blogging about cities are the random discoveries that illuminate the quirks of our urban life – such as how you can map the British Isles through the number of pubs in each town.  How much fun is that? Let me presage this blog with a big hat-tip to Tris Brown, who runs the office of Mayor Anderson here in […]

London's congestion costs everyone - dearly.In London, everyone pays.

Will congestion become London’s Achilles’ heel?

News that London is Europe’s most congested city will come as no surprise to its detractors.  Would greater population density offer a cure, asks Dougal Paver. London seems unstoppable.  Its population decline has been reversed spectacularly and it has cemented its position as the world’s capital in a decade of rapid growth that only paused for breath – momentarily, it seemed – […]

Density + Shanks's pony = healthy cities, healthy economiesThe dense Georgian town planning in Liverpool's Canning neighbourhood: liveable, walkable and sociable

Density + Shanks’s pony = healthy cities, healthy economies

Our colonial cousins worry about suburbanisation far more than here in the UK, with a lively city-focused blogosphere debating how American cities can  boost population densities.  If their research is a guide, there are very clear social, health and economic outcomes. Here’s a case in point from the admirable CEOs for Cities blog.  Everything we take for granted – liveable […]

Kitsilano in VancouverNot much grit here

You need grit to make a pearl. Stick that in your liveable cities index

The Economist Intelligence Unit’s respected liveable cities index is out, telling us the best places to live using indices such as infrastructure, education, healthcare, culture and environment.  If his experience of a long summer in Vancouver is any guide then absentee cities shouldn’t fret too much about the result, suggests Dougal Paver. A picnic on Vancouver’s delightful Kitsilano beach (above) is possibly […]