City Deal for Thames Valley Berkshire Confirmed

Margot Tomkinson-Smith
Communications Manager for Thames Valley Berkshire LEP

City Deal for Thames Valley Berkshire Confirmed

On Monday 28 October 2013, Thames Valley Berkshire LEP welcomed the news that the Thames Valley Berkshire City Region has been successful in its City Deal bid.

The announcement was made by Greg Clark, Minister for Cities, at a special event held at Reading Town Hall, which was attended by Council Leaders and representatives from across Berkshire.

So-called ‘City Deals’ are special arrangements negotiated between Central Government and areas/cities, where they are given the powers and tools they need to drive local economic growth. Reading Borough Council was the lead authority in the region, driving forward the successful City Deal bid on behalf of Thames Valley Berkshire ‘City Region’.

The Thames Valley Berkshire City Deal centres around giving Berkshire’s young people the skills they need to access local job opportunities and helping local businesses to get the workforce they need to support growth. This includes both driving down the skills gap that exists which in some cases can mean young people are not accessing employment opportunities that may be available and working with businesses to increase the range of opportunities available.

A key part of the ‘Deal’ will be developing better pathways into work for young people through agencies working better and more collaboratively underpinned by an innovative new mobile web platform ‘ElevateMe’ that has been funded by O2 and developed with young people themselves.

Steve Lamb, Chair for Thames Valley Berkshire LEP added, “The Thames Valley Berkshire City Deal is a positive and exciting opportunity, not just for the local area, but also the sub region as it enhances ability to compete on a global level. It offers an unprecedented shift in control from Whitehall over the way in which our skills system works, so that we can make sure we have a highly skilled workforce which corresponds with business needs in Thames Valley Berkshire, for future growth and economic success.”

via Announcement from Thames Valley Berkshire LEP | LinkedIn.

CCCRdg response; “Consider Climate Change in every action”~Climate Change Centre Reading

Move our beloved NHS landmark from the London Road to a grand rural location in Reading

EXCLUSIVE: Royal Berkshire Hospital reveals shock sell-off plan

Published: 24 Sep 2013 14:55

HEALTH bosses announced shock plans this week to sell off the iconic frontage of the Royal Berkshire Hospital – to turn it into a free secondary school.

Come back later for a news update.

Royal Berkshire Hospital

Can our iconic building turn into a state of art renewable energy building?

Philadelphia County Medical building

Philadelphia County Medical building

More info here:

Will Reading be the European Green Capital 2016?

Rdg CAN!:

– Have a well-established record of achieving high environmental objectives.

– Commit to ambitious goals for future environmental improvement and sustainable development.

– Inspire other cities through new ideas, best practices and experiences.

LOGO CE_Vertical_EN_quadri

Will your city be the European Green Capital 2016? The Commission has launched its search for the 2016 European Green Capital. The European Green Capital Award recognises cities that are at the forefront of environmentally-friendly urban living. The..

Read more here:

Reading 2050: Revealing Reading’s Potential

Following our inaugural Reading 2050 networking event for young property professionals, this report examines Reading’s standing in the UK, areas where the town could be improved and ideas for development going forward.

Barton Willmore have compiled thoughts and ideas from the June networking event alongside some interesting statistics on Reading in the Reading 2050 Introductory Report.


You can download the report here:


Journalism and Climate Change: A conversation about this bad…

There are some big changes happening on the ol’ “Brace For Impact” blog and I thought I’d introduce them myself in my first ever “vlog!”  It’s a bit long, for which I apologize, but as they say: “If I’d had more time, I would have…

Tipping Point from Faun Kime on Vimeo.

UN-Water – Water Thematic Consultation report

This report is a result of sifting through and distilling the hundreds of contributions made in response to dozens of practical questions raised during the 6-months “World We Want” stakeholder consultation. Recommendations emerged for a new development framework that calls for reducing inequalities around water through rights-based approaches to service provision and governance. These approaches should integrate the management of water resources and wastewater, and improvements in water quality, requiring all sectors to break out of their narrow silos.


Download the report here: The Post 2015 Water Thematic Consultation (69 pages)

via Welcome to UN-Water.

Fracking in Sussex – What is Fracking?

Fracking in Sussex – What is Fracking?

@DECCgovuk “Just don´t believe what you read on the Internet”~Francis Egan was not right. Information is Knowledge STOP F-g IT’S OIL OVER #Balcombe
Source BBC

Write to your MP
Write to your local councillor

Pls show a little support to the Community Villagers #Balcombe over the weekend (majority voted against fracking in the BPC).

Pls RT facebook-Climate Change Centre Reading (CCCRdg) Pls “Like” us by visiting our new page  #Balcombe #fracking

George Osborne unveils ‘most generous tax breaks in world’ for fracking

We must have centralised energy policies at ALL COSTS!

@ClimateRDG This is an open request to Reading Climate Change Partnership #Climateready


Anti Fracking – UK anti-fracking animation June 2013. “There’s No Tomorrow”

George Osborne unveils ‘most generous tax breaks in world’ for fracking

Fracking Water Warning As Tax Break Announced

UK Fracking WARNING idiots – Risk of small earthquakes triggered by larger temblors across the globe

Former Mobil VP Warns of Fracking and Climate Change

This Is What Fracking Really Looks Like

Gangplank to a Warm Future

,,and the list goes on and on..

Team CCCRdg

OECD: Green Growth in Stockholm, Sweden

OECD conference in Stockholm on green growth

Green Growth in Cities was the theme of a conference arranged by OECD in Stockholm. Based on the reports which were launched, the conference elaborated on the potential of cities and regions around the world to foster economic growth and reduce environmental impact through innovative policies and political commitment.

H.R.H Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden was present during the Green Growth in Cities – Urban Evolution conference in Stockholm, here with Sten Nordin, the Mayor of Stockholm and Yves Leterme, deputy secretary general of the OECD.

renewable energy, green certificates, climate change mitigation policy, climate change, carbon tax, greenhouse gas emissions

Stockholm was the subject of a case study, find it here


The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)

Sweden has developed an extensive and sound policy framework to limit greenhouse gas emissions. It is now one of the OECD countries with the lowest greenhouse gas emissions per capita and it has successfully managed to decouple GDP growth from emissions growth. However, as Sweden has already significantly lowered its greenhouse gas emissions, the cost of reducing them further could be very high, making it urgent to improve the cost-effectiveness of Sweden’s climate change policies. A strategy to enhance the cost-effectiveness of this policy framework would include: i) reducing differences in carbon prices between sectors and increasing even further the role of market-based instruments; ii) limiting overlap between targets and policies; iii) raising Sweden’s participation in greenhouse gas emission reductions abroad; and iv) improving the assessments of the policy framework. This Working Paper relates to the 2011 OECD Economic Survey of Sweden (


Download full report here: OECD: Green Growth in Stockholm (123 pages)

Updates on Placemaking and Rethinking Cities from the ‘Future of Places’ Forum in Stockholm

Posted on June 23, 2013 by Dan Gilmartin

Stockholm, Sweden

Stockholm, Sweden

I am in Stockholm, Sweden this week with 200+ others from around the world attending the Future of Places conference, a forum established to transform places through placemaking and efforts in public spaces.

After an opening reception this evening at City Hall, things kick-off tomorrow morning. I will update the blog throughout the week with items of interest. I am also presenting to the group on Tuesday about our efforts underway in Michigan to revitalize our state through placemaking and entrepreneurship.

Check back when you can. Twitter users may also want to follow @DPGilmartin, @PPS_Placemaking, and the hashtag #FutureofPlaces.



The end of the meeting was quite interesting, and entertaining. A schism between the global south countries that were represented and those in the north came to the forefront. Many in the global south struggle with the basic elements of public space (namely access and safety). So they come at the issue from a much different direction. A woman who works in Mumbai asked, “how do you create public spaces in a slum that houses 1,500 people per acre?”  Excellent question.  I am sure that these issues will come up again when the group convenes in 2014.

In all the summit was a great experience. I learned much from the participants and look forward to our  continued efforts in placemaking and improving the public realm for everyone. Thanks to the sponsors for making it happen.

  • Andres Duany, never at a loss for opinion, spoke to the group in an effort to recap the event.  Highlights from his observations: 1) ‘Specialists’ ruin cities. You can’t ONLY care about housing, transport, art, etc. It must be about everything; 2) Modernist planning and architecture does not lend itself to people. Chinese planning, which looks in his opinion to mimic Orange County, CA is a collective cruelty on its people; and, 3) Faceless international private sector banks are running on auto pilot, buying commercial property that “fits” their outdated formulas for making money and reeking havoc in the market for new urban and traditional financing.
  • Listening to Katherine Loflin speak about the Knight Foundation’s Soul of the Community report. The true connection between a city and its people can have a positive lasting effect in economic growth, quality of life, and other areas. Findings confirm this.
  • Some themes from Day 2: See Day 1 :-)


  • Placemaking can offer elected officials a long term strategy for political capital AND a platform for short term wins-Peter Smith
  • Adelaide, Australia CEO Peter Smith says his city’s crisis is a crisis of comfort where they have become satisfied with their own expertise. Procedures can crush innovation. He believes that governmental structure needs transformational change, not incremental movement.  True dat.
  • I just shared Michigan’s story of placemaking with the attendees. Stressing that good placemaking is good economics, I focused my talk on how the League and its partners (including MSHDA) are working to move though out private business and various government sectors to create unique, vibrant places. Thanks to PPS, Ax:Son Johnson Foundation, and UN-Habitat for the opportunity to share.
  • There is a focused effort in many Latin American cities to reclaim the street for multi-modal transportation uses that help connect people and places.
  • Hilmy Mohamed, President of the Mayors Association of Sri Lanka, is working to transform his community using a green city concept- composting, green space, botanical gardens, etc.
  • Nice presentation from Dr. Jed Patrick Mabilog, Mayor of Iloilo City in the Philippines (population 500,000). The goal of the Iloilo City project was to engage citizens and grassroots organizations in all plans of urban transformation and growth. Participation was increased through surveys, social networks, consultations with experts and work though task forces. The result was the “My city, my pride” that was meant to provide a sense of empowerment for the people and increase participative government. Accomplishments include a river restoration, the creation of a wetland and bird sanctuary, rehabilitation of a 500-year-old public plaza, new efforts in flood control, the creation of a community college, and additional low income housing.
  • Some themes from Day 1- The public realm must include everyone in the community planning. Often it does not. Gentrification, that ugly word, is alive and must be dealt with when transforming places within communities. Placemaking can be an excellent entry point to dealing with climate change.


  • Regarding financing for city projects there is a major dilemma that is retarding placemaking efforts in cities that require capital. Namely, banks tend to lend to large scale projects that fit an old fashioned formula . Yet, in cities it is often the magic that is produced by one-of-a-kind smaller developments that give places their souls. Something to watch, for sure.
  • Walkable urban place management is a missing level of governance in U.S., according to Chris Leinberger. I agree. That is why our work at the Michigan Municipal League is so relevant. We must figure out how to best deal with places at ever level- the street, neighborhood and city levels.
  • In the US the ‘drivable suburban fringe’ is responsible for most CO2 emissions. The walkable urban core emits only 1/6 as much by comparison- Chris Leinberger
  • Historic places are remarkably similar in how they are structured. Climate and cultural differences aside, they function at the street level in much the same way. These old, largely “unplanned” places create a sort of ‘deformed wheel’ scheme. They are integrated networks.
  • The essence of civic behavior is essentially the main street where people come together. Without it, we might as well not have cities.-Murrain
  • Unless the built environment allows you the ability to transact then you simply can’t do it- which is the whole reason for having public space to begin- Paul Murrain
  • Everyone must be represented in the public domain. As places change or are reprogrammed there is often a crisis of identity among the inhabitants.
  • Diversified patterns of work of today’s white collar workers are changing patterns and needs within cities. Public spaces play a crucial role in adjusting the city to its inhabitants, however displacement is a problem if a city does not take into account the needs and desires of all groups (see European capitals).- Madanipour
  • Ali Madanipour is critical of modernist architecture as it often interrupts public spaces. Modernist space serves the building, not the space around it. Unfriendly to the public sphere. <True
  • Knowledge based workers and tourists view the quality of architecture and public spaces as critically important “soft” attractants. Investments in public spaces is vital ingredient in the local economy. Results are clear.
  • Cities are important to the deindustrialization of western cities and their move towards a service based economy.
  • In the best areas, public spaces are reclaimed from the car for uses like gardening, walking, biking and the like.
  • Recent technology was thought to be the end of cities, yet urban living thrives. Economies of scale, innovation and living opportunities are reasons why. Provision of high quality public space is vitally important to continued quality of life.

Alfredo Billembourg and Hubert Klumoner

Alfredo Billembourg and Hubert Klumoner, UTT

  • Urbanism must break down barriers of poverty and social inequity. Designers must become activist in their work.
  • Slums and barrios around the world are increasingly becoming security hot spots, in addition to unsustainable living areas.
  • One billion people live in squatter cities worldwide. This will double by 2030. 60 to 90 percent of urban growth is in slums.
  • We must “Wake Up” as city leaders. Urbanism cannot be unsustainable, asymmetric, intolerant, problematic- Hubert Klumpner of Urban Think Tank
  • The Summit is the first of three meetings that will lead to an adoption of  “Declaration of Urban Spaces” to be presented in 2016 at Habitat 3.