Manchester

Successful cities come in all shapes and sizes.Going pop any time soon

Successful cities teeter on the brink of failure

Some of the world’s most successful cities are succeeding just a little too much and policy-makers are struggling to keep the whole show from falling apart.  From Berlin to Barcelona, Venice to Dublin, it’s all getting a little bit fraught.  Dougal Paver takes a look at the issue. Venice had a population of 134,000 in 1931.  Now it stands at […]

urban design in Camden TownWhat happens when urban design gets precedence over uniformity

Invest in great urban design or pack up and go home

As town and city centres deal with the perfect storm of on-line shopping, retailer failures and changing shopping and leisure patterns it’s hardly the time to be talking about investing in public realm and urban design.  Or is it, asks Dougal Paver. If you’re pension is heavily exposed to retail real estate now might be the time for a little […]

The London economy proves Britain's enduring appeal

The London economy proves Britain’s enduring appeal

London’s commercial property market is thriving, confounding the nay-sayers.  Merrion Strategy managing director Dougal Paver examines the health of the UK economy and asks if the market has already priced in our departure from the EU. A single quarter’s office take-up does not an economic summer make.  So when JLL’s latest London office survey hit the desks yesterday morning the […]

Wealth, the Seattle waySeattle, where the rain never gets in the way of creating wealth

Staggering wealth accrues to the few as tech entrepreneurs follow the money

Just a handful of the world’s cities account for half of global venture capital investment in tech innovation.  No surprises: London is the UK’s only representative in this stellar league table.  Merrion MD Dougal Paver ponders what this means for Britain’s provincial cities scrambling to build and sustain their own tech sectors. Get this: the conurbations of San Francisco, Washington […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

Competitive socialising: regeneration's new Golden GooseHigh scores matter more than high alcohol consumption

Competitive socialising: regeneration’s new Golden Goose

When he was a student Merrion Strategy’s MD Dougal Paver well remembers the odd competitive drinking session or two, but ‘competitive socialising’?  That requires some investigating… My first illegal pint was in a pub called the Craven Heifer in Ingleton, North Yorkshire.  Myself and a load of pals had hitch-hiked up there, aged 16, for a week’s camping and fishing on […]

Manchester and Liverpool axis takes a step forwardLook, Steve, if your lot can just beat Arsenal for us...

Manchester and Liverpool axis takes a step forward

‘Best mates’ Steve Rotherham and Andy Burnham have landed the plum nominations as Labour candidates for the Liverpool and Manchester metro mayors, respectively.  Does this mean a new axis between the old rivals, asks Merrion Strategy MD, Dougal Paver. ‘Manchester men and Liverpool gentlemen’ is an old saying first noted in the early eighteenth century.   It stuck for a few […]

Johnny Depp for Manchester?  Why not?Deansgate: going up in the world

Johnny Depp for Manchester? Why not?

The UK media is agog today at reports that Hollywood heart-throb Johnny Depp is moving to Manchester.  Turns out it’s a load of codswallop, but does that matter, asks Merrion Strategy MD Dougal Paver. Depp apparently said: “I’m just tired of the L.A. lifestyle and I feel like, at this point in my life, I’d rather just live in a place full […]