New York from Jersey CityThe view from the Jersey shoreline that unlocked billions in new investment

The ambition pill: has your local authority taken it?

Ambition, focus and a credible plan can excite developers and investors and get them in step behind a local authority to deliver on its economic growth agenda.  But relatively few authorities are in the right place culturally, suggests Merrion MD Dougal Paver. The backdrop fitted the aspiration as councillor Phil Davies, leader of Wirral Council, stood up yesterday morning to address […]

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 […]

More proof that high taxes are counter-productiveSouth Wales' biggest export, now under threat from taxes

More proof that high taxes are counter-productive

A while back this blog cited the boom in UK brewing as proof of how low taxes stimulate enterprise.  Now the government has gone and proven the opposite with its stamp duty reforms, as latest figures reveal. Let me recommend a corkingly good read for you – The Panama Papers, which reveals the staggering story behind the leak of millions […]

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 […]

Ten Streets LiverpoolStanding room only at the Ten Streets launch - unless you got a seat, of course.

You can’t beat a dose of benign autocracy

In an age of sophistry and double-speak, the public craves plain talking politicians.  Liverpool’s Mayor Anderson showed ’em how its done the other day, explains Merrion Strategy MD Dougal Paver. Liverpool’s Ten Streets regeneration programme is another step forward in the city’s relentless regeneration, the gist of which is to take ten parallel streets running at right angles from the dock […]