IMAG0112The last week here in UK has been dominated by the referendum on Scottish independence. Although the “No” side won by a clear margin (55/45%) the issues behind the referendum have not disappeared, and now there is a political discussion at Westminster about devolution across the UK. Meanwhile, last Wednesday I was speaking in Colwyn Bay at an ESPON on the Road  event that focused on small towns in Wales. In my presentation I drew on EU data that shows why the UK now faces a crisis of territorial cohesion.

New settlement

Today I have been to Nablus and followed the River Jordan down to Jericho. I have spoken to a conference, eaten falafel in the bazaar, talked with the most remarkable mayor I have ever met, and come to better understand the significance 


RAMALLAHI am writing this blog from East Jerusalem. I have been invited over here by theUN-Habitat team based in Ramallah on the Israeli Occupied West Bank of the Jordan. The purpose of the visit is to learn about how planning is practised here, and what might be down to make it a more equitable, fair and transparent process. The visit is linked to a DFID-funded project that is trying to remove the logjam which is preventing Palestinian villagers from developing.

The planning situation in the West Bank is both very complicated but also very simple, so let’s do the simple bit first. The Israelis are building lots of new settlements here while stalling on approval of plans submitted for development in Palestinian villages, and demolishing the unauthorised development that then does take place.

SPEL027My summer holiday reading has been “Buildings of Empire” by Ashley Jackson. As the title suggests, this is a grand tour around landmark examples of the built environment legacy of the British Empire. Twelve fluently written chapters take us from Dublin Castle to the iconic Raffles Hotel in Singapore, before returning the reader to the Empire Stadium at Wembley.

Professor Ashley Jackson is part of the Defence Studies Department at King’s College London. He combines expertise in imperial history with a taste for architectural detail. The result is an enriching, probing and at times amusing account.  The constructions of a colonial power tend to be highly symbolic, expressing values such as power, majesty, but also knowledge and justice. Others read the buildings as exemplars of repression. As Jackson shows these totems to the empire on which the sun never set remain significant urban elements today.

China250If you are 30 years old, then 260 million people have moved from rural China into its cities during your life time. This amounts to more than half of the current EU population. 117M moved in the decade between 2000 and 2010. Environmental pollution in many of these cities is still terrible, and for many migrants the housing conditions remain well below acceptable western norms. However, a case can also be made that this has been the most successful mass-migration from the countryside in human history. But now serious questions are being asked, and reform is on the agenda.

Posted May 26, 2014 by  & filed 

Aalborg, Denmark

“Architecture is for people”. This is how the new Danish Architecture Policy begins. The Danish government sees architecture as defining the country at home and internationally. It is about competitiveness, moving towards sustainability and social cohesion. The new policy depicts architecture as contributing to “the development of the welfare state”, and says that local authorities have a key role to play. “The municipalities set the overall goals and visions for an area’s physical development and implement the realization of the visions in a dialogue with the public and with market players.”

Erasmus+  is an EU programme supporting education, training, youth and sport. In 2015 Cliff worked with the partners in the Young Eyes project to develop a set of Guidelines for the delivery of the project.  

New Evidence on Smart, Sustainable and Inclusive Territories: ESPON results by summer 2010,  First ESPON 2013 Synthesis Report (2010) Co-author.

Territorial insight: Where to focus what types of investments: ESPON Results by early 2013, Second ESPON 2013 Synthesis Report (2013)  Co-author.

Territorial Dynamics in Europe: Gateway functions in Cities, ESPON Territorial Observation No.9, (2013)  Co-author.


Science in support of European Territorial Development and Cohesion, Second ESPON 2013 Scientific Report, December 2013 (2014)  Paper peer review and language editing.

Europe’s Neighbourhood from a Territorial Perspective, Report from the ESPON Internal Seminar in Paphos, Cyprus 5-6 December 2012 (2013) Co-author.

Territorial Dynamics in Europe: European Neighbourhoods, ESPON Territorial Observation No.11, (2014)  Co-author.


Opportunities and threats for Territorial Cohesion: Blue Growth and Urban Poverty, Report from the ESPON Open Seminar in Nafplion - Greece, 4 and 5 June 2014 (2014) Co-author.

Territories finding a New Momentum: Evidence for Policy Development, Growth and Investment, Third ESPON Synthesis Report (2014)  Co-author.