Hub & Pub ‘Hack’

Parose first Hub & Pub ‘Hack’ last week (28th September) on transport and regeneration at our home, HubWestminster, on Haymarket.

First – we were so pleased with the whole kit and caboodle we’ll be holding another one on November 29th – at the head of the party season.

To launch us into hack-world, Savas Sivetidis gave a thoughtful and erudite canter through his experiences as a planner and regenerator on the southern bank on the Thames. Savas arrived from Greece in 1979 to work as a town planner for Southward Council. Never straying far from the river, he spent 10 years at the helm of Cross River Partnership, only recently deciding to enter a new phase as an elder localstatesman (he’ll forgive me). So his historical analysis, reflecting on the changing fortunes of the southern banks of the Thames from Roman times, through the warehouse-lined era of port-life of the early 20th century and the emergence as a place of offices and leisure at the end of that century took us well beyond the sometimes trite cadences of regeneration ‘policy speak’ (“…a better place to live, work & play”)

His contention is that the lodestar guiding much of what we do today – the creation of jobs – has always been the dominant refrain, propelling the mix of policy and entrepreneurial development that has seen, for example, rental values in Bankside rise to equal to those in the City to the north.  But equally he wanted to stress the role of accidents (events,dear boy, events): like the decision to site the Festival of Britain on the South Bank in 1951, and the fall out from a major political spat in the early 1980’s between the then Prime Minster (Margaret Thatcher) and the Leader of the former Greater London Council (Ken Livingstone).

Brain food that echoed through the quick ‘hack’ that followed around how you measure – or indeed can you measure? – the economic benefits of transport-led-regeneration.  Brain food for Brian Fitzpatrick (Brain and Brian – so close on the keyboard…) one time Head of Transport at Lambeth Council, now a Partner (Highways) at the global built asset consultancy EC Harris who has been pioneering an approach to highways asset management using his Highways Investment Appraisal Tool (HIAT) to move beyond traditional approaches –  still appearing in the TAMP’s – Transport Asset Management Plans) –  that have a default position where the road seems to all intents and purposes to be the customer. (The Road is Not, and Never will be, the Customer).

Taking our starting point as the 26 categories developed by Transport for London for their Valuing Urban Realm Toolkit, fascinating variations in approach emerged, from Smarter Travellers like Tyler Linton from Hackney, regnerators like Gordon Mole from CrossRail. I’ll elaborate on some of the issues next time. We’re very keen to hear from people who came and people who didn’t.

Thanks to everyone who came: to Catherine Greig from Make:Good for facilitating us, Lee Parker for being so fluent at the bar of the Captains Cabin in the pub part of our hack afterwards, and most importantly Savas Sivetidis for giving up his time and his careful thinking on all our behalf’s.

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