Town Planning Review 87.1 'Best Paper' made OA for a limited time

Posted on January 29, 2016 by Chloe Johnson

The editors of Town Planning Review have chosen “Effects of Public Perception on Urban Planning: Evolution of an Inclusive Planning System During Crises in Latvia.” by M. Liepa-Zemeša and D.B. Hess as the Best Paper for TPR 87.1. It will be Open Access for a limited time only and can be found here.


How do formerly Eastern Bloc countries incorporate public participation in urban planning since the disintegration of the Soviet Union? Dr. Māra Liepa-Zemeša and Dr. Daniel Baldwin Hess address the challenge by investigating the development of the planning system in Latvia after the restoration of the country’s Independence (in 1991). The article traces changes in public perception of urban planning over two decades amid political change and during both economic upturns and downturns. The researchers use events in Latvia and the Baltic States to identify a series of growth stages that post-socialist countries used to establish urban planning systems that are inclusive, equitable, and free of corruption.


In Latvia, city planners adapted to neoliberalization as they learned to manage and direct urban change and expand opportunities for public engagement in planning processes. But in the early 1990s, there was little or no homegrown expertise in democratic city planning, and foreign specialists played a critical role in helping Latvians address planning challenge that arose after the opening of borders. “In the ‘command economy’ of the Soviet Union, the term ‘planning’ suggested centralized authoritarian decision-making without public input, and it was a challenge for urban planners to subsequently educate the public about their ability to participate in public engagement exercises related to city planning,” said Dr. Hess. “People were suspicious and reluctant to participate,” added Dr. Liepa-Zemeša, “and it took a great deal of public education to help people become comfortable with the idea of participation.” Findings from the research suggest that trust among the public in leaders and processes is critical, and that the public is more willing to participate in urban planning activities after first achieving specific individual goals.


The article also explores how elected leaders and professional planning staff in Latvia have improved planning by creating an integrated planning system, organizing public participation campaigns, promoting the development of NGO’s, and emphasizing local benefits of planning actions. The researchers describe how an enhanced atmosphere of inclusion lead to greater public participation in a recent initiative to create a new master plan for Riga, the Latvian capital city. “The complex political background of former socialist states is a fascinating place to study the evolution of public engagement in urban planning,” added Dr. Hess.

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Town Planning Review 86.6 Best Paper has been made Open Access

Posted on December 18, 2015 by Chloe Johnson

Free Town Planning Review paper for a limited time only...


The editors of Town Planning Review have chosen ‘The affordable housing conundrum: shifting policy approaches in Australia’ by Dr Peter Williams from the University of New South Wales, Sydney, to be the Best Paper of Issue 86.6.


Peter Williams has critically assessed the evolution of public policy designed to assist the provision of affordable housing in Australia. Focus of the paper is government policy directed to private low-cost rental housing, with social (public) housing and broader housing ownership affordability issues also considered, as these also impact on this sector of housing tenure. Attention of the investigation is directed on Sydney, a city with significant affordability problems, and hence in need of appropriate policy responses.


The paper demonstrates how the public policy measures adopted to assist affordable housing provision in Sydney have experienced a noticeable shift over time across the spectrum of potential government planning and financial intervention approaches. Successive affordable housing schemes have covered a range of approaches, including: mandatory or compulsory; voluntary or negotiated; and planning and financial incentives. The first, compulsory, approach was introduced in 1995 and involved the application of traditional ‘command regulation’ in the form of a mandatory inclusionary zoning mechanism, to exact an affordable housing contribution from developers, but was abandoned following a successful legal challenge. Effectively this mechanism was a betterment tax to capture part of the unearned increment accruing from planning uplift. Despite 20 years of policy formulation and reformulation since then, Sydney is today further away from adopting a definitive policy which realistically seeks to address the issue of the provision and stock of long-term affordable rental housing. The paper concludes that a solution based on a more nuanced approach – ‘of ‘smarter’ regulation – is required, which uses the range of tools available to planners. However, while voluntary and incentive tools might be adopted where necessary, the basis of any long term solution to affordable housing provision must be mandatory planning mechanisms based on land value capture.


Dr Williams said that “the history of affordable housing policy in Sydney has been a dispiriting progression of avoidable public policy failure. A particularly frustrating aspect of this history is that affordable housing provision is a significant problem requiring decisive government action, yet it has been plagued a succession of vacillating or weak action, and more recently, inaction. Discouragingly, the future prospect of a meaningful policy response looks equally bleak.” He further noted that “policies for affordable housing provision are available – they are just not being implemented. State government in particular has been reluctant to tackle this problem effectively, because of fear of antagonising several interest groups, including developers, some local councils and local resident home owners concerned with impacts on local amenity and property values.”


This paper will be open access for a limited time. You can find it here.

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Series Highlight: 'Migrations and Identities'

Posted on December 16, 2015 by Katherine Pulman

We're kicking off the New Year early here at LUP and bringing some 2016 light to 'Migrations and Identities', a series which began in 2012 and now boasts 6 titles. 

A core theme of the series is the variety of relationships between movement in space – the ‘migration’ of people, communities, ideas and objects – and mentalities (‘identities’ in the broadest sense). It aims to address a broad scholarly audience, with critical and informed interventions into wider debates in contemporary culture as well as in the relevant disciplines. 

One of the titles in this series is Shuttles in the Rocking Loom: Mapping the Black Diaspora in African American and Caribbean Fiction by Jennifer Terry. This book explores the symbolic geographies found within modern black fiction and identifies a significant set of relations between these geographies and communal affiliations, identity politics, and understandings of a diasporic past. To find out more about her research, we asked her some questions...

What prompted you to write this book?

For a long time I had been interested in how literature arising out of the experiences and communities of the black diaspora did all kinds of work via its landscapes and geographies, its journeys and forms of dwelling. My background in African American studies meant that literature from the US was my starting point but very early on in the planning the necessity became clear of addressing this concern in the broader range of writing by black diasporan authors from the Caribbean and Europe as well as North America. I wanted to explore how the symbolic geographies contained in fiction related to, and articulated, understandings of the history of slavery and the black diaspora, and varying identity politics and senses of affiliation. I was also interested in how these examples of narrative perform a kind of mapping, not just in describing setting but more formally through narrative passages, jumps, culminations and connections.

What is the main argument of the book?

I’ve probably just started to answer that in response to the first question! I argue for the significance of spatialised politics in addressing a diaspora usually defined as a spatial dispersion initiated by the slave trade. That is, more particularly, my book poses that cultural responses in the form of fiction make meaning through their geographies and the sites and trajectories that they map out. This premise allows me to explore, for example, the shaping of counter geographies to colonial maps, and the wider issues and positions opened up through representation of place, displacement and belonging. And, while remaining alert to specificities, to trace transnational convergences in terms of diasporic geographical visions. All of this allows a new perspective on a powerful black diaspora imagination, its politics and structures of feeling and articulation.

How does the work of Édouard Glissant and Paul Gilroy in particular change our understanding the black diasporic experience?

 Both have been very influential in the study of black diasporic culture and both offer insights into how that culture arises from historic experience as well as from creative responses and current conditions. Gilroy’s notion of the ‘black Atlantic’ has been a big contributor to a transnational turn in scholarship, while Glissant brings the French Caribbean into focus at the same time as situating it within the Americas as a whole. For me, they provide frameworks helpful in terms of thinking across national borders/cultures and for their spatial aspects. In theorising circulation, exchange and dialogue between different locations in the Atlantic world, Gilroy offers up the suggestive, spatial zone of the ocean as a means of conceptualising the mobile interaction he seeks to examine. Glissant, like Gilroy, views racial slavery as the starting point for a kind of modernity and charts the landscapes of the Caribbean as embodying this conflicted history. By drawing on the writing of both, Glissant’s work in French and attentiveness to colonial structures assists me in addressing some of the elisions of Gilroy’s Anglophone, maritime formation.

How does your approach differ from other research in this area?

One thing that marks it out is sustained attention to a range of black diasporan writers from both the US and the Caribbean, with the ‘Caribbean’ in my book title also encompassing my black British material. I look at fiction by twenty-six authors in total. Part of this breadth comes with the inclusion of Francophone fiction in a field where Anglophone literature has been the far more frequent object of study, or criticism has tended to atomise along language lines. (One of the reasons why my book might be seen as a good fit for the LUP series is the insistence on the plural in ‘Migrations and Identities’.)

My research also offers a new approach in its emphasis on spatial and geographical aspects, and its identification of a form of ‘mapping’ in narrative terms. Bringing together the material that it does, and arguing for convergences of cultural memory, it extends beyond existing briefer examinations of place and space in African American or Caribbean writing. I hope it furthers understanding of a black diasporic imagination in which spatial politics and visions play a significant part.

You reference both Anglophone and Francophone novels in your book. Did you find any differing approaches between the two languages?

In terms of my main arguments in Shuttles in the Rocking Loom, the short answer is no, aside from linguistic differences. But I will also give a longer answer! Given the many different contexts within the diaspora that my material arises out of, I organised my readings and chapters to recognise this. Thus Chapter One focuses only on US African American fiction (in English) and its geographies, while Chapter Two looks at geographical engagement in Caribbean novels. Chapter Two brings together Anglophone and Francophone writing, tracing common concerns, for example relating to landscape and the organisation of crop production and labour in the Caribbean. My third and fourth chapters both explore symbolic geographies that operate powerfully throughout the black diaspora (of sea crossings and contested city spaces respectively), identifying the mapping of different positions but within a shared spatial vision or mode of expression. Thinking back to your question, differences are important but the differences between Anglophone and Francophone novels were no more telling than the differences between the various French Caribbean fictions that I looked at. Indeed, one of the claims of my approach is that by examining black diaspora literatures together we can chart shared awarenesses and patterns as well as variations, and in the process add to understanding of this body of work.


You can find out more about Dr Terry's book and others in the series on the Migrations and Identities page

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❅ 12 Days of Christmas - Militant Liverpool & Liverpool City of Radicals ❅

Posted on December 13, 2015 by Heather Gallagher
Take advantage of our 12 Days of Christmas Event with Day No.7, each book just £5
Use code LIV5 at the checkout.



Militant Liverpool: A City on the Edge

by Diane Frost and Peter North 

In May 1983, in the wake of her victory in the Falklands, Mrs Thatcher won the second of her three general election victories. Liverpool, going not for the first or last time against the grain, elected a Labour council that vowed to be different. In an environment of mass unemployment in which Liverpool felt abandoned by an indifferent government, the council resolved to join others across the land in refusing to set a budget that would hurt the poorest. It was at first wildly popular, but the scene soon became set for a battle between the city and central government that would shape the future of Liverpool. Published to coincide with the thirtieth anniversary of the 1983 election, Militant Liverpool: A City on the Edge sets out an even-handed assessment of events with oral testimonies from many of the key protagonists. Thirty years on, Liverpool has to some extent reinvented itself as a visitor destination, but it is again facing major spending cuts while its deep seated social problems remain. This book sheds new light on what is for some a dark period in the city’s past, best forgotten, while for others is a memory of the city that refused to lie down and die and a continuing inspiration.

An enjoyable and timely read; I read it twice in order to write this review, and the first time I found that I could not put it down. The work is also a good way into a subject that is well known, but perhaps not fully understood, by many.
  Reviews in History

Compiled from interviews with major and minor players, Militant Liverpool offers a punchy and at times gripping account of a city in revolt: the passion, the argument, the high hopes and the bitter disillusion. There's lots of talk now about Liverpool "getting its mojo back". Militant Liverpool makes the case that this process may have been going on for a long time and, for good and ill, Hatton and co were part of it.
Jamie Kenny - The Big Issue in the North



                      Liverpool: City of Radicals                     

      Edited by John Belchem and Bryan Biggs
Uncontrollable, anarchic, separate and alienated from mainstream England, the Liverpool of popular imagination is a hotbed of radicalism and creativity. But is that reputation really justified? Starting in 1911, a year which saw a warship on the Mersey suppressing near revolution in the Liverpool Transport Strike, the remarkable exhibition of paintings by Picasso, Matisse, Cézanne and the European avant-garde alongside works by local artists at the Bluecoat, and the opening of The Liver Building, the first major building in the UK to use reinforced concrete in its construction and crowned by two liver birds that came to symbolise the city’s resilience, this fascinating book looks at one hundred years of radicals and radicalism in Liverpool. Ranging widely across a century of politics, music, football, theatre, architecture and art, Liverpool: City of Radicals concludes with a look at the contemporary city and asks what role radicalism can play in the future of Liverpool.
The reader will come away from this book with a rich understanding of “Mersey pride” and a wish to visit this remarkable city.
Philip Harling   The Historian, Vol. 74, No. 3
University of Kentucky

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❅ 12 Days of Christmas - Scouse: A Social and Cultural History ❅

Posted on December 11, 2015 by Heather Gallagher

Our next offer in our 12 days of Christmas event is...

A Social and Cultural History
by Tony Crowley

Nowhere in Britain is more closely associated with a form of language than Liverpool. Yet the history of language in Liverpool has been obscured by misrepresentation and myth-making and narratives of Liverpool’s linguistic past have scarcely done justice to the rich, complex and fascinating history which produced it. Scouse: A Social and Cultural History presents a ground-breaking and iconoclastic account which challenges many of the forms of received wisdom about language in Liverpool and presents an alternative version of the currently accepted history. Ranging from the mid eighteenth century to the present, the book explores evidence from a host of different sources including the first histories of Liverpool, a rare slaving drama set in the port, a poor house report which records the first use of ‘Scouse’ (the dish), nineteenth century debates on Gladstone’s speech, the ‘lost’ literature of the city, early to mid twentieth century newspaper accounts of Liverpudlian words, idioms and traditions, little-known essays which coined the use of ‘Scouse’ to refer to the language of Liverpool, aspects of popular culture in the 1950s and 60s, the Lern Yerself Scouse series, and examples drawn from contemporary literature. In addition the analysis draws on recent developments within the fields of sociolinguistics and linguistic anthropology - particularly with regard to the study of language and identity and the relationship between language and a sense of place – in order to provide a radically new understanding of ‘Scouse’ in terms of its history, its representation, and its contemporary social and cultural significance.


'Scouse offers a compelling account of how a city’s identity is formed through its language, drawing on a rich range of sources and generating a wealth of unexpected insights.' 
  Key Words 12

'Tony Crowley’s searching book starts with a rigorous study of historic sources, their modern interpretations and the insights of contemporary linguistic theory. The conventional view has been that, in the 1840s, a warm front of Irish immigration came up against an unyielding mass of Lancashire grittiness, rough and dour. So superficially appealing has this explanation been that it’s gone largely unquestioned until now, even by serious historians. Crowley places the emergence of a distinctive Liverpool accent a great deal earlier – but that of “Scouse” as comparatively recent. In doing so, he opens up much wider questions of place, class and identity; of how people are seen and come to see themselves.'
  The Scotsman

'Can there be an archaeology of sound? Tony Crowley raids newspapers, journals, letters and his own memories in an attempt to trace the history of a manner of speaking. In doing so he tells the story of the rise and fall of a whole city, a way of life. This is an eccentric, creative, quixotic, scholarly and ultimately emotional book that is unlike anything else I've ever read.'
Frank Cottrell Boyce  

'An enthralling book... Tony Crowley has written a book many of us have wanted to read for a long time.' 
Michael O'Neil  
Durham University

'Thoroughly researched using an impressive range of sources from antiquarian to contemporary creative writing; and written with fluency and authority. This is the nearest thing to a definitive history of scouse.' 
John Belchem  
University of Liverpool

For more information on Scouse, see here


- Use code SCOUSE to grab this book for £8.50 - 


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