Skylines, the CityMetric podcast

Skylines, the CityMetric podcast

www.citymetric.com
Skylines is the podcast from the New Statesman's urbanism website, CityMetric


131. Trapped
Aug 15 • 30 min
A few weeks ago, a man called Samir Jeraj got onto the Northern line of the London Underground at Bank station, promptly got his bag strap caught in the doors, and then spent the next 15 stops hoping in vain that the next would be the one where the doors…
130. Public enterprise
Aug 1 • 37 min
This week, it’s two interviews, unified by being at the intersection of politics and business, and also of my not really, if I’m absolutely honest with you, knowing what I’m talking about. First up, it’s Centre for Cities boss Andrew Carter, in our final…
129. The regeneration game
Jul 18 • 35 min
So does “cultured-led regeneration” actually work? Can a shiny new museum ever be enough to fix a struggling post-industrial city? Or a particularly big sports day? Carolina Saludes of the Young Fabians has been looking into these and other questions, and…
128. The country where I want to be
Jul 4 • 30 min
Finland, Finland, Finland, as Monty Python once sang: Finland has it all. Well, it has some things anyway, and more to the point its embassy in London was kind enough to invite me to visit, and to learn all about the country’s smart cities projects. And…
127. A short history of council housing
Jun 21 • 45 min
This week’s guest is John Boughton, teacher, historian and author of an excellent housing-flavoured blog, which last year appeared as a full-blown book. Municipal Dreams: The Rise and Fall of Council Housing is an incredibly readable look at the history,…
126. After Grenfell and advanced Sheffield
Jun 6 • 36 min
In the early hours of 14 June 2017, a fire broke out in a west London tower block; 72 people died in the resulting conflagration, many of them, tragically, because they had followed the official safety instructions to remain in their homes. At the time…
125. Global Britain and local Liverpool
May 23 • 30 min
This week, two disparate segments linked by the idea of trading with the world. Well, vaguely. It’s there, but you have to squint. First up: I make my regular visit to the Centre for Cities office for the Ask the Experts slot with head of policy Paul…
124. North of the Tyne, south of the Strand
May 9 • 27 min
This week it’s one of those two-for-the-price-of-one episodes where I’m not even going to pretend the conversations are connected. They are, however, both interesting, so here’s more about them: In the first half, I talk to Skylines regular Paul Swinney,…
123. Beyond the Wall, with John Lanchester
Apr 25 • 61 min
This week it’s another live episode, of sorts. In early April I was lucky enough to chair an event at the Cambridge Literary Festival with the journalist and novelist John Lanchester. John was mostly there to promote his latest novel, The Wall, a “cli-fi”…
122. A place of worship
Apr 11 • 43 min
Last year, Burhan Wazir wrote a lovely piece for the New Statesman under the headline, “The changing shape of Britain’s mosques”. In it he talked about how the country’s Islamic community had initially co-opted sitting rooms and former pubs for its places…
121. Everything Is Awful
Mar 28 • 32 min
The last few of these things have been quite serious, so let’s mix it up a bit with some spurious nonsense. And what better way to do that than to invite Sarah Manavis back on, to answer a question I’ve been pondering for a while: why, exactly, does she…
120: Brexit Brexit Bloody Brexit
Mar 21 • 51 min
I’ve been on holiday, and when I came back the entirety of British politics was on fire. So, on this occasion, I’ve fallen a bit behind with my podcasting. Sorry, gang. No matter, though, for here’s a guest episode. City Talks, as you may know, is the…
119. Live from the crypt 2: Still encrypted
Mar 7 • 30 min
This week’s podcast is a live show, recorded at the New Local Government Network’s annual conference on 26 February. (We did this last year, and nobody got fired, so here we are again.) The topic under discussion this time is inclusive growth – who is…
118. Flying high
Feb 21 • 27 min
Two interviews this week, which are both about the future of our cities but are otherwise unrelated except for allowing me to come up with a sort of pun on the word “high”. First up: drones, the remote-operated buzzy flying things that recently managed to…
117. Into the Vortex
Feb 7 • 30 min
Baby it’s cold outside – or at least it was, in certain parts of the world, when we recorded this, ho hum. Anyway, that’s the week’s topic. Inspired by the polar vortex, which has seen temperatures of -30C in the US Midwest, we’re chatting extremes of…
116. The biggest story in the world
Jan 24 • 35 min
This week, we’re off to China. Now the U.S. bureau chief for the South China Morning Post, Robert Delaney spent many years as a foreign correspondent reporting from the world’s most populous country. He now has a novel out: The Wounded Muse, based on real…
115. Food, glorious, food
Jan 10 • 29 min
This week’s podcast is a bit of a sandwich. In the middle, you’ll find an informative and nutritious conversation with Paul Swinney of the Centre for Cities, in which we try to answer a big question about cites. Generally speaking, in a phenomenon known…
114. Driving home for Christmas
Dec 20, 2018 • 30 min
This week, ‘tis the season for large chunks of the population of any major city to up-sticks and head back to whatever small town they grew up in. Also this week, the racing driver Lewis Hamilton alienated his entire hometown by saying that he always…
113. Going green
Dec 13, 2018 • 37 min
Good news, everyone: this podcast doesn’t even glance at Brexit. Bad news: it is about environmental catastrophe, or at least, the infrastructure that might save us from it. First up, I talk to the New Statesman environmental writer India Bourke about her…
112. Council housing strikes back
Nov 29, 2018 • 36 min
This week, I’m chatting about the housing crisis with the Centre for London. Last summer, research manager Victoria Pinoncely was co-author of the think tank’s report, “Borough Builders: Delivering more housing across London”. She tells me about the role…
111. Why aye, man
Nov 15, 2018 • 27 min
You’ll be delighted, I’m sure, to learn this podcast is not about Brexit. I’ve been in Newcastle, capital in the north east of England, for a couple of days: partly for work, partly just because I wanted to get out of London for a bit, and it was the…
110. The rise of the robots
Nov 7, 2018 • 41 min
110. The rise of the robots This week, it’s about work, automation, fear and loathing in god’s own county of Essex. New Statesman tech writer Sarah Manavis has been to Tilbury to visit an “Amazon fulfilment centre”, which is almost exactly as fun as it…
REPEAT: Sex* and the city (*gender)
Nov 2, 2018 • 52 min
This is a repeat – sorry gang, I’ve been horrendously busy. But, there are quite a lot of episodes of this thing now. And as the audience has grown, that means a lot of you haven’t heard our early work. So, to plug the gap, here’s an example of it. What…
109. Remember, Shaun Bailey is 47 years old
Oct 25, 2018 • 27 min
This week, it’s all about mayors, and also someone who the smart money says will never become one. I’ve dragged Stephen Bush back into the podcasting catacomb to discuss Shaun Bailey, the Conservative candidate to be the next mayor of London. Bailey,…
108. Brizzle
Oct 18, 2018 • 45 min
This week, we’re off to an English city that, to my shame, I’ve been neglecting: Bristol, the largest city in the south west, and indeed the largest city in the south outside London. I’m joined by Sian Norris, founder of the Bristol Women’s Literary…
107. Social contracts
Oct 11, 2018 • 43 min
It’s a bit of a game of two halves this week. First up, I talk to Eric Klinenberg – director of the Institute for Public Knowledge at New York University – about his new book, Palaces for the People. He argues that what he terms ‘social infrastructure’…
106. Walking with Elizabeth
Oct 4, 2018 • 40 min
Crossrail is running late. The opening of London’s £15bn new railway, also known, horribly, as the Elizabeth line, has been delayed by the better part of a year, to autumn 2019. This came as a bit of a surprise – but, given the horrible tendency of…
105. Scouse Exceptionalism
Sep 27, 2018 • 58 min
Exciting news, lads: Skylines has been on tour! Well, sort of: this is the first episode we’ve ever recorded primarily outside London. I’ve just got back from Liverpool, where I was attending the Labour party’s annual conference. While I was there, friend…
104. London Blues, #2
Sep 13, 2018 • 33 min
And so to the second of our London Tory mayoral candidate interviews. This time it’s Joy Morrissey: an American-born Ealing councillor, former staffer at Iain Duncan Smith’s Centre for Social Justice, and private renter. She tells me how she got into the…
103. London Blues, #1
Sep 12, 2018 • 45 min
There are three people on the shortlist to be the Conservative candidate for London mayor in the 2020 election. So this week, we’re speaking with them. First up: Andrew Boff, a long-serving member of the Greater London Assembly and former leader of…
102. God’s own country
Sep 6, 2018 • 43 min
Leeds! Sheffield! Bradford! Huddersfield! This podcast has, figuratively speaking, not spent enough time in any of them. So, this week we’re off to the ancient county of Yorkshire, Britain’s largest, home to the biggest metropolitan area in England not to…
101. Mayoral health check
Aug 29, 2018 • 27 min
We’re just over halfway through Sadiq Khan’s term as mayor of London – and just under half-way through most of the various other metro mayors’ own terms elsewhere in the country. What better time, then, to drag the New Statesman special correspondent…
100. Letter from the Queen
Aug 16, 2018 • 50 min
Human beings generally have ten fingers. In what is probably not a coincidence, the world’s most popular number system counts in base 10. And so, due to what was essentially a series of evolutionary accidents, the largely meaningless fact this is our…
99. Lies, damned lies and the CPRE
Aug 9, 2018 • 21 min
Bit angry this week, lads. The CPRE – officially the Campaign for the Protection of Rural England; known also in certain circles as the campaign for the protection of the rural elite – has put out the latest volume of its great work of magical realism,…
98. A huge, developing problem
Aug 2, 2018 • 25 min
This week, we’re talking about one of the biggest problems facing the developing world today. Untold millions are moving from country to cities in Africa, Asia and Latin America, in search of a better life – but with a few exceptions, those cities are not…
97. The other forty-nine
Jul 26, 2018 • 29 min
Last year, an American writer called Sarah Manavis joined me on the podcast to talk about her home state of Ohio (episode 47). Due to a series of unfortunate accidents that have taken place since, she now works at the next desk from me. And so, I asked…
96. Second City Blues
Jul 19, 2018 • 69 min
No, it’s not about Manchester. This is one of those guest episodes we sometimes do, where we repeat a CityMetric-ish episode of another podcast. This week, it’s an episode of Friday 15, the show on which our erstwhile producer Roifield Brown chats to a…
95. 1666 & All That
Jul 11, 2018 • 35 min
“Love this!” someone tweeted me when we recently did an episode on Victorian London. “Please do the Stuarts!” This sounded like an excellent idea, and it was, I’m sure, a coincidence that the person who suggested it was a historian specialising in 17th…
94. The fat of the land
Jun 28, 2018 • 28 min
This week, we’re going back to basics, and ignoring cities to talk about farms. Dr Sarah Taber is a North Carolina-based crop scientist who recently went viral. In a lengthy thread posted to Twitter, she explained why civilisations in different parts of…
93. The Great Northern Rail Crisis
Jun 21, 2018 • 32 min
You wouldn’t necessarily know it reading the news from London, but the north of England’s railway network is in a bit of a mess. Delayed electrification work, a new timetable, mass cancellations, the whole shebang. To explain how bad things are, and how…
92. The Italian Job
Jun 14, 2018 • 31 min
It’s another international episode. Bet you can’t guess from the title where we’re off to this week. Elena Magrini is a researcher at the Centre for Cities, and a native of Bergamo, a city just outside Milan. Her colleague Gabriele Piazza is a native of…
91. Victoriana
Jun 7, 2018 • 29 min
“Can I come on Skylines and talk about the Victorians?” someone asked me the other week, and who am I to refuse an offer like that? So: this week’s guest is Ned Donovan, the foremost primogeniture nerd writing freelance in London today. He wanted to…
90. Glasnost
May 24, 2018 • 35 min
This week, we’re getting out of the British Isles and heading east. Milo Edwards is a British comedian who moved to Moscow and, slightly unexpectedly, found himself a Russian TV star (though one who is only, in his words, “Geordie Shore-level famous”).…
89. Our Town
May 17, 2018 • 33 min
There’s a new urban think tank on the block. The Centre for Towns aims to research economic and social issues in the smaller communities that get less attention from politicians, journalists, and, well, CityMetric. The Centre has a number of founders,…
88. The Post Mortem
May 10, 2018 • 26 min
It’s the English local elections post-mortem episode! You lucky, lucky people. Joined by the New Statesman’s newly returned politics wunderkind Patrick Maguire, I delve into the results in and around cities including Liverpool, Birmingham, Sheffield and…
87. Estuary English
May 3, 2018 • 30 min
As I write, it’s local elections day here in England. There are elections in large chunks of the country, but to my shame I’ve only really been paying attention to two: the London borough ones (where there’s a lot of tension around how they might go for…
86. Industrial revolution, industrial decline
Apr 26, 2018 • 62 min
This is one of our occasional guest episodes in which I hand the reins to somebody else/shamelessly re-release someone else’s hard work. City Talks is the monthly podcast from the Centre for Cities think tank. Last May its host, the Centre’s chief…
85. The unitary state
Apr 18, 2018 • 31 min
I sometimes worry I’ve got into a bit of a rut with this podcast, chatting away about housing and public transport with people who largely agree with me. So this week, to mix things up a bit, I decided to have a fight. Henry Hill is the assistant editor…
84. A load of old bollards
Apr 13, 2018 • 35 min
Don’t get too excited, but this week we’re talking about street furniture. Earlier this year, CityMetric regular Ed Jefferson wrote us a lengthy history of the bollard, taking in the Napoleonic Wars, Welsh devolution and the collapse of construction giant…
83. Four weeks out
Apr 4, 2018 • 30 min
It’s the most wonderful time of the year here in the UK: we’re just four weeks away from this year’s local elections! Celebrate good times, come on. Councils holding elections on Thursday 3 May include the great cities of Birmingham, Manchester,…
82. Blighty
Mar 29, 2018 • 43 min
Thirty episodes ago, I put out what I presented as the first of a two-part crossover. In it, I interviewed Jeff Wood, presenter of the Talking Headways podcast and owner of the San Francisco-based transport consultancy the Overhead Wire, about public…
81. Dad jokes
Mar 22, 2018 • 40 min
My dad died, in January. Which sucks. Since then, I’ve found finding myself cataloguing the various things I got from him, from my love of Only Fools & Horses and the work of Douglas Adams, to being slightly too fond of a drink. It’s strange, in its way,…
80. A local pound for local people
Mar 16, 2018 • 24 min
This week, we’re talking urban economics – or why people who support the Bristol Pound might as well be voting for Donald Trump. I’m joined, via a mildly crackly Skype connection, by Paul Swinney, mackem and head of policy at the Centre for Cities. He…
79. A Primrose Hill By Any Other Name
Mar 8, 2018 • 31 min
This week, we’re talking about a subject we obsess about on CityMetric, but one which has, remarkably, escaped the podcast treatment until now: how we name the districts of our cities. If you’ve got off the London Underground at Holborn recently you may…
78. Live from the crypt
Feb 27, 2018 • 42 min
This week’s podcast is a first: a live show, recorded, warts and all, at the New Local Government Network’s (NLGN) conference on Thursday 22 February. That event took place in the events space at London’s Guildhall - essentially, the town hall for the…
77. It’s Always Sunny
Feb 21, 2018 • 23 min
Once upon a time, Philadelphia was the state capital of Pennsylvania. It was also briefly the capital of the early United States, the country’s financial capital, and its largest city. Today, it’s none of those things – even the state capital long since…
76. Over the cliff
Feb 15, 2018 • 31 min
A couple of unexpectedly big bits of news have emanated from England’s local councils recently. An estate regeneration scheme in the London Borough of Haringey has become the latest front in Labour’s forever war; while Tory-run Northamptonshire council…
75. The Big Freeze
Feb 8, 2018 • 30 min
It’s cold in London this week – but not even nearly as cold as it is in Korea, where the coldest Winter Olympics of all time are about to kick off; or Moscow, which just had record snowfall. Meanwhile, on the other side of the globe, Cape Town is about to…
74. Our Friends In The North
Feb 1, 2018 • 63 min
It’s another crossover episode. With a cast led by Daniel Craig and Christopher Eccleston, Our Friends in the North is one of the all-time great BBC dramas: a 31 year story of social housing policy, Labour infighting, police corruption and municipal…
73. Urbanisation without globalisation
Jan 24, 2018 • 19 min
This week we’re going overseas again to talk about one of the big themes of the 21st century: the development, or otherwise, of Africa. Daniel Knowles is the Economist’s sub-Saharan Africa correspondent. He’s based in Nairobi, Kenya, but has a beat…
72. Eleven Minutes Late
Jan 15, 2018 • 32 min
We apologise for the late arrival of this edition of Skylines. It’s unlikely to be the last time, I’m afraid: some stuff happening in the non-work bit of my life has disrupted my schedule somewhat, but I still hope to get the next episode out by the end…
71. Africa Rising
Jan 4, 2018 • 27 min
New Year’s resolution: this year, we’re going to be more international. To that end, on this week’s podcast, we’re talking about Africa. Nimko Ali is a Somali-born feminist activist and campaigner against female genital mutilation (FGM). She tells me…
70. Merry Xmas Everybody
Dec 20, 2017 • 23 min
You better watch out, you better not cry, you better not pout, I’m telling you why – because for one week only, Stephanie Boland is coming back to the CityMetric podcast. In Prospect magazine’s offices in Westminster (from where she does her own excellent…
69. Nice
Dec 14, 2017 • 32 min
This is another guest-presented episode, at least of sorts. Back when we started this thing in early 2016, we had a proper producer: a guy called Roifield Brown, who makes all sorts of lovely podcasts. One of them is a music and interview-themed one…
68. Fallen empires
Dec 7, 2017 • 14 min
I’ve escaped London for a pre-Christmas minibreak, to visit the beautiful Austrian capital of Vienna. For some reason, visiting a liberal city that was once the centre of the world, but is now just the capital of a small and angry country, reminded me of…
67. The One With The Special Mystery Guest
Nov 30, 2017 • 38 min
I’m very excited about this week’s guest – so excited that one point this was going to be the Christmas special, but I got too excited to wait. I’ve even pitched this guest’s identity as a mystery at the start of the show, so in an ideal world I wouldn’t…
66. Le soixante-sixième
Nov 22, 2017 • 33 min
We can be a bit insular around these parts at times: banging on endlessly about transport in London or mayoral elections elsewhere in the UK. So, this week, we’re crossing the channel. Marie Le Conte is a London-based political journalist, originally from…
65. Section 106
Nov 16, 2017 • 28 min
“That’s some section, that section 106.” “Best there is.” The British government defines “affordable housing” as housing which is priced at no more than 80 per cent of the average local market rent. The eagle-eyed among you may have spotted some problems…
64. Slum networking
Nov 8, 2017 • 15 min
This is a bit of a departure for Skylines: we’ve got a sort of guest host. Joshua Bryant, an environment engineering student at UCL, got in touch to offer me an interview with some experts on slums. And I had an annoying gap in the schedule and, more…
63. “What are the rest of your bad takes?”
Nov 2, 2017 • 28 min
We’ve had a bit of a run of serious, thoughtful episodes of late, so this time we’re going to the opposite extreme. This week, Stephanie joins me to debate some very serious and important questions from the audience, including: What is the ontological…
62. The Missing White Rose
Oct 25, 2017 • 27 min
One of the enduring questions in English cities policy these days is: what’s gone wrong in Yorkshire? Earlier this year, after all, a number of metropolitan regions – those around Birmingham, Manchester and Liverpool among them – all elected their first…
61. Let us play
Oct 18, 2017 • 22 min
We talk a lot – on this podcast, and on the website from which it spun off – about the practical side of cities: buildings and roads and railways and so on. But that’s only half the story, of course. So this week, we’re talking about the other half:…
60. The Adventure of Richard Florida and the New Urban Crisis
Oct 12, 2017 • 25 min
This week, I’m talking to one of the stars of the cities world. Richard Florida is a professor of urban studies at the University of Toronto, as well as the co-founder and editor-at-large of CityMetric’s esteemed American rival, CityLab. He was in London…
59. The Arsonist and the Water Pistol
Oct 5, 2017 • 27 min
You know, it’s easy to forget, after the coughing and the comedian with the P45 and the bit where the sign started disintegrating, that there was a far bigger problem with Theresa May’s speech: it was bad. To be specific, the housing policies the prime…
58. The Eye of the Storm
Sep 28, 2017 • 33 min
There’s been something of a spate of natural disasters recently, from hurricanes to wildfires to floods. So this week, the New Statesman’s environment writer India Bourke joins me to talk about the weather. We discuss whether things really are getting…
57. Uber & out
Sep 22, 2017 • 11 min
Oh, capitalism. You had a good run. But then Transport for London decided to ask Uber to take some responsibility for the safety of its passengers, and thus did what 75 years of Soviet Communism failed to do and overthrew the entire economic system of the…
56. Shanks’s pony
Sep 14, 2017 • 25 min
So, this is a bit anecdotal but I think it holds true nonetheless: walkable cities are more exciting cities. Not only do they tend to be healthier and less polluted than those built around the car: they’re also more likely to have what one can only…
55. Beating the Bounds
Sep 7, 2017 • 25 min
I’m just back from my holidays, and generally having That Sort of Week, so I’m going to be honest: this is another of our more spurious episodes. It’s also one that’s almost literally designed to generate angry letters reading, “Not everyone lives in…
54. White heat
Aug 23, 2017 • 19 min
This week, we’re asking a question for the ages: Why does York look like a chocolate box while nearby Wakefield looks like hell? In the early 1960s, at a time when visions of the future were all concrete and cars, and even York still thought of itself as…
53. The poison sky
Aug 10, 2017 • 40 min
I don’t mean to worry you, but if you live in a city, the air you breathe is probably killing you. As many as 40,000 deaths a year in the UK have been linked to air pollution; the WHO reckons that, in 2012, it was a factor in one in every eight deaths…
52. Transatlantic
Aug 2, 2017 • 40 min
Well, this is new: our first crossover with another podcast. Exciting times. The podcast in question is Talking Headways which, in its own words, “explores the intersection of transportation, urban planning and city living”. It’s hosted by Jeff Wood, who…
51. The slightly delayed 50th episode special
Jul 19, 2017 • 49 min
Why is Leeds is better than Manchester? Where should Crossrail 3 go? Can cities escape their economic destiny? And why are British seaside towns so terrible? All these questions and more are answered, badly, in our slightly late 50th episode special, as…
50. Gimme Shelter
Jul 13, 2017 • 29 min
This is, somehow, the 50th episode of Skylines. That seems quite a lot, doesn’t it? Well done to both you and I for making it this far. This is not, in all honesty, what I intended for this episode: originally, I had hoped Stephanie would come back and we…
49. The strange death of municipal England
Jul 5, 2017 • 38 min
A hundred years ago, England’s municipal governments were the envy of the world. Every city ran its own trams, power and water systems, and the town hall was often the best looking building in town. Today, CityMetric’s excitement about the rise of the…
48. Going Underground
Jun 27, 2017 • 35 min
This week, we’re all about pushing the envelope and breaking new ground. So here’s an entire podcast about the Tube. First up, the clever bit. One time CityMetric James O’Malley has since blossomed into the editor of Gizmodo UK. Earlier this year, he…
47. The Middle Bit
Jun 14, 2017 • 34 min
You know, on this podcast, we’ve talked a lot about the American Midwest considering it’s a place Jonn’s been twice, for a few days each time. So, we figured it was about time we got one of the locals on to tell us about the region, to argue with our…
46. Election special
Jun 7, 2017 • 27 min
Election Special This week, with apologies to international listeners, there is only one story in town. Mere weeks after we stopped banging on about our metro mayors, it’s time for a general election. So I’ve dragged two of the New Statesman’s political…
45. Francophonie
Jun 1, 2017 • 25 min
Stephanie’s been to Paris, and Jonn’s been to Montreal, so this week we’re chatting French-speaking cities. Where does the Parisian Metro stand in the pantheon of underground railways? Why does the whole of Paris smell of wee? Which country is Montreal…
44. SPQR
May 25, 2017 • 28 min
It’s just Jonn this week, which is a problem, because there’s no one to stop him from indulging his sillier ideas. For example: an entire podcast about Ancient Rome. Our guest is Kevin Feeney, a historian of the late Roman Empire based at Yale University,…
43. Mistakes were made
May 12, 2017 • 39 min
Well. We got that a bit wrong, didn’t we? Last week on this podcast, Stephen Bush, Patrick Maguire joined Jonn to make their predictions for last Thursday’s English mayoral elections. This week, we conduct the post-mortem, looking at the actual results…
42. Level Five
May 4, 2017 • 33 min
The big day is here at last: as we write, residents of six English city regions are finally going to the polls to elect their first metro mayors. If you’re a regular listener, you’ve probably been looking forward to this day, either because you think it’s…
41. Bouncing back
Apr 27, 2017 • 35 min
Stephanie’s back! Well, technically she’s in her flat eating ice cream and proof-reading her PhD thesis, but she very kindly agreed to co-host this week’s episode. This week we are talking about de-industrialisation. From the north of England to the…
40. Snap
Apr 20, 2017 • 24 min
In retrospect, I suppose it was inevitable that the entire UK wasn’t going to spend the next two weeks on the edge of its seat about the outcome of the West Midlands mayoral election. Anyway. What does Theresa May’s decision to call a snap general…
39. Shakespeare’s engine
Apr 13, 2017 • 53 min
This week, CityMetric’s tour of the upcoming mayoral elections takes us to the West Midlands: the annoying name for the multi-centred conurbation that takes in Birmingham, Wolverhampton, Coventry and points in between. The West Midlands is the most…
38. Build More Bloody Houses
Apr 6, 2017 • 34 min
It’s Stephanie’s last day on staff at the New Statesman, so that means it’s Jonn’s last opportunity to do something he’s been threatening for a while: to explain to her exactly why Britain has a housing crisis. The reasons include a growing population,…
37. The Mersey Beat
Mar 30, 2017 • 27 min
It’s another metro mayor special: this time, we’re off to Liverpool. Officially, of course, it’s the Liverpool City Region. Unofficially, it’ll probably end up being called Merseyside. It was nearly called the Halton, Knowsley, Liverpool, St Helens,…
36. Keep calm and carry on
Mar 23, 2017 • 17 min
Here we go again. Not for the first time in its history, London has been the victim of a terrorist attack. This time there was no bomb - but there was car, driving into pedestrians on Westminster Bridge, followed by a knife attack at the gates of…
35. The Manc of the hour
Mar 16, 2017 • 28 min
Yesterday, in Newton Heath, Labour’s Andy Burnham launched his manifesto to be the first elected mayor of Greater Manchester. Obviously, nothing can be taken for granted in politics these days – but nonetheless, Manchester is a Labour city, and the…
34. Limps, marriages and deaths
Mar 9, 2017 • 21 min
We don’t want to lie to you, this is one of our sillier episodes. Things we discuss, in no particular order: -What embarrassing thing happened that means Jonn’s been limping for the past two days, and whether this is a sign the street furniture is turning…
33. Parallel histories
Mar 3, 2017 • 15 min
“Is there a podcast this week?” Someone tweeted us yesterday. “Is it about trains? I’d like it to be about trains.” Oh boy have we got good news for you. The first half is very much about trains – or at least, the tracks they run on, as Jonn tells…
32. In the Loop
Feb 23, 2017 • 22 min
“Let’s do an extra podcast when I’m in the States,” she said. “It’ll be easy,” she said. Reader, it was not easy. At risk of demystifying ourselves it took us a surprisingly long time to get to a stage when we could actually hear each other, let alone be…
31. The Iron Road to Europe
Feb 16, 2017 • 34 min
This week on the podcast we are talking about trains. You might think that we talked about trains a mere two episodes back. To which we respond – trains! Trains are great! Woohoo, trains! Okay, so one big reason why we’re back on public transport again is…
30. Now we are one
Feb 2, 2017 • 44 min
This week marks our birthday: Skylines is a whole year old. To mark this momentous occasion, I decided to invite two people who’ve been key to the success of Skylines back, to talk about whatever weird stuff they wanted to. First up, one time co-host…
29. The Permanent Way
Jan 19, 2017 • 38 min
This week, we’re not mucking about: we’re going full-transport nerd. First up Jonn tells Stephanie about his abortive adventures inter-railing in the long hot summer of 1999 - an almost entirely appalling experience about which he briefly considered…
28. New year, new mayors
Jan 6, 2017 • 25 min
This week, it’s cold, it’s January, and everything’s a bit depressing. So to cheer ourselves up, why don’t we have a nice chat about municipal government structures? First up, Jonn talks Stephanie through what is arguably England’s biggest local…
27. Christmas special service
Dec 21, 2016 • 20 min
There’s long been a tradition on British television of Christmas specials. Old characters come back, stories get bigger and more melodramatic, and the whole thing feels just a tiny bit self-indulgent. This is our Christmas special, so, well, you know what…
26. Parklife
Dec 8, 2016 • 39 min
This week’s podcast presented us with an unusual challenge: which album by 90s Britpop four-piece Blur should we name it after? Leisure would work. So would The Great Escape. (13 would be silly because this is episode 26, and the less said about The Magic…
25. The End of the World
Nov 24, 2016 • 47 min
This week, in keeping with the global mood, we’re talking about threats to civilisation, and the things we can do to combat them. First up, Stephanie and Jonn discuss Trump – yes, again – and fail to discuss the disappearance of the ice in the Arctic…
24. Trumpocalypse Now
Nov 14, 2016 • 26 min
This is, like that Saved By the Bell where Jessie got addicted to drugs, another very special episode. Partly it’s because it’s, disappointingly, Stephanie-free. (For various boring travel-related reasons, I’m afraid it’s been pretty much impossible to…
23. Roads, ruins and racism: American Election Special
Nov 7, 2016 • 13 min
This week, Jonn is in America, chasing cool cities along the interstate and catching up with – gulp! – Trump voters. Skylines is the podcast from CityMetric, the New Statesman’s cities site. It’s presented by Jonn Elledge and Stephanie Boland and produced…
22. Northern soul
Oct 20, 2016 • 45 min
This week’s podcast is sort of the conclusion of a two-parter. On the last show, we talked about the history and economy of England’s post-industrial northern cities. This week, we’re north of the Watford Gap once again, but this time we’re talking…
21. North and south
Oct 7, 2016 • 44 min
You know there are people – bad, mean people – who’ve been known to accuse CityMetric of being a bit London-centric. As the world’s leading purveyor of news about minor changes to the tube map, we can’t understand this at all. Anyway. In an attempt to…
20. Before the flood
Sep 23, 2016 • 38 min
This is, as they used to say of the installments of Saved By the Bell in which someone got addicted to drugs, a very special episode. In fact, it’s special for two reasons. Firstly it’s episode 20 (round numbers are cool). Secondly, it’s the first to be…
19. How it all began
Sep 9, 2016 • 45 min
This week’s podcast is a game of two halves. (Stephanie didn’t manage to get a football reference onto the tape so I’m putting one here instead.) First of all, we talk about why it is people move to cities – or to be more specific, why people continue to…
18. Sex* and the city (*gender)
Aug 26, 2016 • 51 min
On this week’s podcast, we’re talking gender. Which of course is not actually the same as sex – the former is social, the latter biological – but until such time as HBO makes a hit sitcom called “Gender and the City”, this is our title and we’re sticking…
17. Kings in the north
Aug 16, 2016 • 22 min
Last week, Britain’s Labour party announced the results of the internal party elections to determine its candidates for three of the new “metro mayor” posts being created next May. Former health secretary Andy Burnham will contest Greater Manchester;…
16. Let the games begin
Aug 11, 2016 • 52 min
So here’s a funny thing. We managed to do an entire podcast about the Olympics in cities, without saying the words “Rio de Janeiro” once. That’s weird, isn’t it? Anyway. In a shameless bid for news relevance and SEO, this week, we’re talking about whether…
15. Band on the run
Jul 29, 2016 • 41 min
So, there are two different reasons why this episode is particularly exciting. One is that it’s the first with new co-host Stephanie Boland. The other is that we’re joined by an actual, literal rock star. Honestly: I write about maps for a living, and now…
14. Barbarexit
Jul 14, 2016 • 26 min
A disaster has befallen the good ship CityMetric: our staff writer Barbara Speed, who has been with us since before we even launched in July 2014, is leaving us. She’s moving on to take up an exciting new job as comment editor of the the i newspaper.…
13. Help! Somebody save us!
Jun 30, 2016 • 34 min
On this week’s podcast, we’re joined by arguably the biggest political theorist writing about cities today. In 2013, Benjamin Barber published If Mayors Ruled the World, a book in which he argued that nation states are increasingly powerless to deal with…
12. Crossing continents
Jun 17, 2016 • 31 min
If you live in Britain – and if you don’t, I sort of envy you right now - you’ll know that it’s a pretty torrid time in politics right now. Next Thursday, there’s a referendum to determine whether the UK should remain a member of the European Union. So,…
11. Fear and loathing in Miami
Jun 9, 2016 • 10 min
A special BONUS episode, in that we’ve not had time to do a proper one yet. Sorry. Aaaanyway. Jonn’s been out of the office for a couple of weeks, reading books by a pool, and gradually taking on a mixed red, white and brown colour scheme more usually…
10. Genius loci
May 26, 2016 • 39 min
You know, there are some people – mean, cruel, wrong people – who might think our podcast gets a little bit, well, nerdy sometimes. Those people should stop whining and take more of an interest in public transport. Anyway. This week, to mix things up a…
9. Cats in a bag
May 13, 2016 • 36 min
This week, I am sorry to tell you, we aren’t actually talking about cats. (Boo.) What we are talking about is the fraught matters of borders and boundaries, identity and institutions – whether the city is one entity or many, and who it is who gets to…
8. Yes we Khan
May 9, 2016 • 15 min
A special BONUS episode! Last Thursday, as you’ll probably know, if you haven’t been living under a rock on the outskirts of Syria Planum, London held a mayoral election. After his 57:43 victory, Labour’s Sadiq Khan has taken over at City Hall, in the…
7. Transports of delight
Apr 28, 2016 • 38 min
This week, we’re talking about how, in a very real, no-honest-this-is-true sense, a city is the product of its transport network. We begin by discussing the relationship between boundaries, commuting patterns, perceptions and maps – and I get slightly…
6. Sound and Vision
Apr 14, 2016 • 38 min
It’s very easy to fall into the trap of seeing cities as physical things – a matter of streets and buildings and transport infrastructure. But they’re about more than that: they’re also about the people inside them, and the things that they create. So…
5. One in five
Mar 31, 2016 • 37 min
This week, we’re talking about one of the biggest stories in the world today – the urbanisation of China. In 2006, American student Wade Shepard found himself lost in an entirely empty city somewhere in western China. When he told his professor about the…
4. When cities attack
Mar 18, 2016 • 30 min
On this week’s podcast, we’re talking about why cities can save the world – and how they can ruin your life. In 2013, the American political theorist Benjamin Barber wrote a book arguing that mayors should rule the world, because they’re better placed to…
3. You are here
Mar 3, 2016 • 32 min
We all knew this was going to happen eventually: this week’s podcast is all about maps. On it, you can hear from Stewart Mader, the founder of the Subway NYNJ campaign to add New Jersey to the subway map, who argues that improved mapping can be a cheap…
2. Not a drop to drink
Feb 18, 2016 • 33 min
This week, we’re talking about something fundamental to city life - something we take for granted so much, we tend to forget about it altogether. This week, we’re talking about water. We talk Linda Tirado, the American writer and activist who spent much…
1. Globalised cities and their discontents
Feb 5, 2016 • 38 min
For our first episode, we take on a question that’s close to many a metropolitan liberal’s heart: why does everyone seem to hate us? To be more specific, what is it about world cities like London that seems to inspire as much loathing as admiration? To…