Monthly Archives: August 2008

Reactions to Tesco pulling out of eco towns

I havent posted on the developments within eco towns recently, but with the decision being delayed until early 2009 and Tescos pulling out there is plenty of comment on media sites and blogs: for example:

Tesco’s decision ‘is good for democracy’
Cambridge Evening News – Cambridge,England,UK
Cllr David Bard, SCDC portfolio holder for new communities, said: “I congratulate Tesco on the decision to withdraw from the eco-towns process following our

Tesco deals blow to eco-towns with exit from scheme
Financial Times – London,England,UK
By Jean Eaglesham Gordon Brown’s eco-towns project suffered another setback yesterday, after Tesco pulled the plug on one of the most high-profile projects.

Property crash opens door to the new council house
Times Online – UK
The news came as Mr Brown’s plan for eco-towns unravelled further when Tesco became the latest developer to withdraw its bid.

Tesco pulls out of eco-towns project
Times Online – UK
Gordon Brown’s plan for eco-towns was unravelling last night, with Tesco withdrawing from one of the proposed greenfield developments.

ELSENHAM: LibDem spokesman to visit “eco Town” site
Harlow & Bishop’s Stortford The Citizen – Harlow,UK
meeting up with Nick Clegg in Chelmsford at the Central Baptist Church, on October 9 with councillors Morson and Dean to talk with him about Ecotowns.”

Tesco withdraws Cambridgeshire eco-town
24dash – Hereford,UK
All the Cambridgeshire local authorities, local MPs, and Cambridgeshire Horizons have objected to Hanley Grange being on the eco-towns list, as have local
See all stories on this topic

Ecotowns: another one bites the dust
Financial Times – London,England,UK
Newsflash: I’ve just been told that Tesco is withdrawing plans for an ecotown at Hanley Grange, near Cambridge. We ran the story last week that the wheels
See all stories on this topic

Another eco-town bites the dust – United Kingdom
By Tom Peterkin Campaigners against eco-towns are celebrating after Tesco abandoned its plans to create one of Gordon Brown’s controversial green

Tesco withdraws bid for Cambridge eco-town – UK
By Joey Gardiner Supermarket Tesco has withdrawn its bid to build one of the Gordon Brown’s eco-towns on the Hanley Grange site near Cambridge.

Eco-town shortlist put back
Evesham Journal – UK
Chris Atkinson, a spokesman for DCLG, confirmed: “The final decision on the potential locations for eco towns will be made in early 2009, after which each


Tesco deals blow to eco-towns scheme
By admin
Tesco deals blow to eco-towns scheme The supermarket chain withdrew its proposed development at Hanley Grange, near Cambridge, from the government project and issued a statement acknowledging local opposition.

Tesco deals blow to eco-towns scheme
August 28 2008 22:59 Gordon Browns eco-towns project suffered another setback on Thursday, after Tesco pulled the plug on one of the most high-profile projects. The supermarket chain withdrew …

Is the eco-town coalition collapsing?
But it’s hard not to regard their actions as a sign that confidence in eco-towns is dwindling. After all, as this Government’s stock falls, and as further questions about the towns’ “green” credentials emerge, it’s no longer good PR

Eco-town plans progress
By admin
Progress continues to be made in planning proposals for the eco-towns project, it has been revealed. In a report by the Eco-Town Challenge Panel – which was created by housing minister Caroline Flint – it was reported that many of the

UK: Tesco drops Eco-town plan
By / TCM
Supermarket giant Tesco announced today that it was dropping its bid to build one of the proposed eco-towns in the United Kingdom.


now wash your hands …

I am always amazed at how a strategically important sector such as Facilities Management has somehow elevated the washroom, toilet maintenance sector to be of utmost strategic import.

Now I can already hear the moans from facilities managers, as this space may be invaded, at the excellent and innovative Welsh Assembly proposal for businesses to open their toilet facilities to the public. But this will surely reinforce the sense of place and community based facilities management, moving from contract-centric services to one of community-centric provision.

A new £385,000 public facilities scheme to encourage businesses to open their toilets to the general public has been announced by Minister for Social Justice and Local Government, Dr Brian Gibbons, today (Wednesday 20 August).

The public facilities scheme will encourage local authorities to work in partnership with businesses to improve the provision of safe, hygienic and accessible toilet facilities. More here

This story was picked up by twitter from @HMGOV the Unofficial service of official news feeds from UK Government

the sustainable way

I am delighted to be supporting the NW premier sustainability conference – The Sustainable Way – scheduled for October 29th – 30th . Details can be found on the event website with registration form, and some great influential key note speakers to be confirmed very shortly, but here are the salient features:

Ambition and aspiration

Sustainable design and construction are no longer quirky one off projects; clients and occupiers expect buildings to be both environmentally sound and cost effective, and there are further expectations on the industry to deliver Zero Carbon Homes linked to sustainable communities and the wider climate change agenda.

Innovation is a key driver of competitive advantage in construction.

The 2008 Sustainable Way conference will provide the platform to encourage the sector to work in collaboration, to help the industry develop and to implement a shared vision and strategy for innovation to create a healthy economic advantage through using sustainable methods rather than working against them.


Designing in sustainability; half day workshop 10am – 3pm 29th October

Site visits 3pm – 5pm optional

Join Rob Cowan (Urban Design Skills) probably Britain’s most experienced urban design trainer and other leading place makers including URBED and Carolyn Butterworth as they explore what makes a place sustainable. Examining current design and quality issues using the Elevate Design Handbook and local and national case studies.

Themes: International master planning, place making, design strategies, sustainability briefs, local distinctiveness.

Audience: Town planners, planning officers, architects, urban designers, master planners, landscape architects, regeneration professionals, community consultants.

Limit capacity please book early to avoid disappointment

29th October Evening event

Lancashire Best Practice Club

Debate the latest issues across sustainability at this sponsored event.

30th October Conference and exhibition 9.30am – 5pm

AM – key note speakers & panel discussion
PM – Seminars, workshop sessions & demonstrations

Listen to key debates across the sustainability sector. Visit workshops on important sector issues with leading figures from Bre, CABE, CIBSE, Catalyst, and more. Learn a new skill in the demonstration zone or upskill in the Networking zone. Visit suppliers and industry innovators in the exhibition areas.

Themes: Sustainable construction nationally & internationally; BSF sustainable schools, onsite waste management plans, ESCO’s & Feed In Tariffs, climate change, biodiversity, public realm, renewable technologies, construction legislation, natural building materials, regeneration, large scale housing refurbishment, heritage renovations, Transition towns.

Audience: Architects, urban designers, planners, housing associations, developers, contractors, local authorities, property consultants, house builders, young professionals, students, community groups.

Exhibition, Networking zone and Demonstrations – Free to college students, apprentices and trainees in the Northwest. Please email for further details.

be2camp and sxsw


Here in the UK SXSW is probably best known as a music festival in Austin Texas, but the ‘event’ is actually three festivals in one with internet interactivity and film . Plans for the SXSW Interactive 09 Festival are under way, and in true interactive, unconference style , with panels open for comment and votes.

I was struck by the panel on Green Building, struck by its similarly to the objectives of be2camp. Looking forward to the possibility of forming a relationship between these two ‘events’

Sustainability requires that green building be profitable. By careful design we are rapidly substituting knowledge and virtualization for matter and energy, building structures that use less material and require less power for construction and operation, and rely more on information systems – opening opportunities for ultra-green builders to compete with non-sustainable conventional techniques, and for creators of information systems that support sustainability.

Be2camp is happening in London on Oct 10th – details here

SXSW 09 Interactive is happening in Austin March 13-17, 2009 – details here

(Voting and comments on the Green Building panel – to ensure it is included in the SXSW 09 schedule closes on August 29th …..)

ultimate job offer?

“Men wanted for hazardous journey. Small wages. Bitter cold. Long months of complete darkness. Constant danger. Safe return doubtful. Honour and recognition in case of success”

Shackleton’s advert for the original crew is surely one of the classic job descriptions, as indeed is the manner in which he selected his team.

And now 100 years later the offer is being made again. The 100 year celebration expedition to retrace Shackleton’s journey to the south pole (well, 97 miles short of !!) is advertising for a member of the public to join the party. Only this time there are no wages! The conditions will be more palatable though. (Read the story on the Guardian site)

Applications can be made on line at

Shackleton has long been a ‘leadership hero’ of mine as he demonstrated many excellent leadership traits which today’s project managers would do well to consider. He has been called the greatest team leader bar none, this despite the fact Shackleton failed in nearly every objective he set himself.

I have even been known over the years to deliver presentations and workshops on Shackleton’s style of leadership and its relevance to today’s construction project management: a style that can be summarised as

Team selection – putting together a dream team
Vision and Emergence
Common Goals and shared understanding
Learning and Sharing
Personal example and connectivity
Manage out conflict
Celebrating and having Fun

the future of conferences?

The organisers of the be2camp event met on-line late Monday evening (well it was breakfast in Sydney, tea time in Illinois, and late here in the UK!) to continue with the development of this project and event.  The agenda and arrangements are now shaping up very nicely. (It was noted that this event development and the communication between the organisers has not yet needed one email between us)

For an excellent  insight as to this type of event, read Pam Broviak’s report of her attendance at a Chicago event. Pam, a Public Works Director in Illinois comments:

I retained more from this conference than I normally would at a more traditional event and met more people

So is the unconference, low cost, free (as in free speech) barcamp event going to replace the high fee corporate control-organised events? .  Time will tell.   But surely, as budgets bite and delegates and organisations question the value from attending high fee conference events, the knowledge gained (and retained) and the networking value, bar camp and other non-conference events will undoubtedly become more common and popular.

Be2Camp – a barcamp type non-confernce event, exploring the use of Web 2.0 approaches in the built environment will be held in London, at the Building Center, Store Street, on October 10th.

Register for free here.

The backstory to be2camp:

The concept for be2camp started as a Twitter conversation between Martin Brown (built environment advisor) and Paul Wilkinson, (Comms Director BIW) following Martin’s attendance at barcamp type events, suggesting we do ‘something’ for the (UK) built environment. This discussion was picked by Jodie Miners in Australia, (Construction Collaborative IT specialist)  again through Twitter, and through conversations within Second Life with Pam Broviak (Director Public Works) from Illinois, USA. The timing of the event has been fixed to coincide with Jodie’s visit to the UK. We do hope Pam will be able to attend, if not she will be coordinating the be2camp Second Life activities. So now you know who to contact, praise or blame!

seren-dipity timelines?

Over the last few days a number of people have asked for information on Dipity or the link to Route to Zero timeline I use in presentations, or have set up timelines such as Paul on his EvolutionExtranet and for be2camp.

Dipity is incredibly easy to use and allows the aggregation of a number of sources ( news feeds, google searches, RSS feeds from blogs etc) into one timeline, as a flip book, a list or even as a google map. It provides a great and quick way to search through any topic, following the news or developments.

It also provide a futures timeline potential, either as a organisational planning tool, or a futures foresight approach. I am working with an organisation to visually map out their business plans, intentions, strategies or milestones, and in discussion with a construction project to record progress on site.  This is an obvious use of timelines, as the Walter Mill Ateliers project demonstrates