The year of uncertainty


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This was a presentation at an event in Wakefield organised by Beam in March 2009. My brief was to look at some of the big issues that might affect how we create 'great places' in future. Although occasionally tongue in cheek, there are some serious issues here.

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  • The year of uncertainty

    1. 2009: the year of uncertainty
    2. As we know There are known knowns. There are things we know we know. We also know There are known unknowns. That is to say We know there are some things We do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns The ones we don't know we don't know Hart Seely, The existential poetry of Donald H Rumsfeld
    3. Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold; Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world W.B. Yeats, The Second Coming
    4. ‘Nothing in life is ever certain, but these measures we think will work in the long-term... I don’t know how long it will take’ Mervyn King, governor of the Bank of England, 5 March 2009
    5. the risks... 1
    6. the risks... 2 climate
    7. ‘The scientific evidence is now overwhelming: climate change presents very serious global risks, and it demands an urgent global response.’ Introduction to the Stern review of the economics of climate change, 2006
    8. ‘Looking back, the Stern review underestimates the risks and underestimates the damage from inaction’ Lord Stern, speaking at the Copenhagen climate change conference, 12 March 2009
    9. the risks... 3 reduced resources
    10. Half of England’s local authorities have cut jobs in the last few months... seven out of ten expect further redundancies Local Government Association survey, February 2009
    11. the risks... 4 political uncertainty
    12. So what about the opportunities?
    13. A green new deal?
    14. Germany has one million people working in renewable energy ...the UK has 7,000
    15. Local democracy revived?
    16. Only 35% of eligible voters took part in local elections in 2008
    17. Local economic development?
    18. 20% of economic development and regeneration staff in Yorkshire will retire in the next five years.
    19. So what future for ‘great places’?
    20. New investment?
    21. ‘Public resources are keeping regeneration going as much as the private sector’ Michael Parkinson’s report on the credit crunch and regeneration, January 2009
    22. What about poverty?
    23. ‘If the enormous volume of the philanthropy of the present day were wisely directed it would, I believe, in the course of a few years, change the face of England.’ Joseph Rowntree, 1904
    24. ‘Breadline poverty levels are rising and socioeconomic and geographical polarisation is increasing.’ Poverty, wealth and place in Britain, 1968 to 2005
    25. A stressed-out society
    26. • 40% of incapacity benefit claimants suffer mental illness • one third of GP patients have mental health problems • six million people suffer from depression or anxiety
    27. Social unrest?
    28. This year’s fashion: mashable culture
    29. A Web 2.0 world: • 184 million blogs, around 900,000 posts daily • 175 million people use Facebook • 35 million people on LinkedIn • 6 million people using Twitter • what next?
    30. ‘You’re better off being alone in the dark in this age of information’ - Bill Bruford
    31. ‘I can’t remember the lines I used to think I could read between’ - Brian Eno
    32. A Web 2.0 world: • disruptive technology? • communication and collaboration? • the world’s collective consciousness? • a huge cocktail party, but without the cocktails? • a new world order, but without the order?
    33. ‘There is only one thing in life worse than being talked about, and that is not being talked about’ - Oscar Wilde
    34. No more business as usual
    35. What do we value - and what are our values?
    36. • community self-help, or government direction? • local distinctiveness, or economy of scale? • equality of opportunity, or survival of the fittest?
    37. ‘In a universe of blind forces and physical replication, some people are going to get hurt, others are going to get lucky, and you won’t find any rhyme or reason in it, nor any justice.’ - Richard Dawkins, River Out of Eden
    38. In a world where we can’t agree about what we think, what are the implications for what we do?
    39. ‘All the art and science of city planning are helpless to prevent decay.’ - Jane Jacobs, 1960 The Death and Life of Great American Cities
    40. Welcome to the future?
    41. ‘Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is knowing not to put it in a fruit salad’ - Miles Kington