I went to an interesting talk the other day. The one thing that stuck in my mind was that ‘a consultant is someone who has flown over the city at 2000 feet; an expert is someone who has stayed for a day’
Council have spent a fortune on consultants lately (or at least before the credit crunch) and there’s a huge history of experimentation in this and that - all the way back to the war - mostly on roads and place to live. Very little of it has stuck. And some of the bits that have stuck, got demolished anyway.
Every sizeable planning application these days goes through a process of ‘public consultation’. Generally a box-ticking exercise - ‘well, we did ask’.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m an architect. My livelihood depends on ticking boxes. But even developer clients get confused about what the city is trying to achieve.
This forum is a vast storehouse of knowledge and experience. About what works and what doesn’t work. Where the failures are. Where the successes are. Now, there’s too much suspicion floating about, about others' motives and political agendas (agendae?). Fact is everyone, everyone, (in the city) wants one thing. Success - for this city.
What is the point of trying to sell houses that people don’t want? None. What is the point of trying to convince people that what they can have, no matter what it is, they have to like? None.
Together, we know more about what makes Liverpool tick than any consultant or any mulit-mega-multinational developer conglomerate somebody-or-other.
But let me get another thing straight. I don’t think people who develop in Liverpool are like that. Liverpool is the kind of place where people want to do what’s right AND to make themselves some money. It’s only when we’ve forgotten the second bit that we’ve got in the dwang. Developers (and architects' clients!) are our friends. They are with us. They cannot sell what we don’t want.
So anyway, I think we need a plan for the city. It’s not this borough or that borough, not ‘meeeeerseyside’ but Liverpool. One City. The place that’s known around the world for what it is. A different place. A (really) unique place. An irreplaceable place. An irrepressible place.
We need a single clear statement of intent. Not, you must do this or you must do that, but a ‘this is what we are and this is want we want to do’.
Council can’t do that. Liverpool Vision can’t do that. The Mersey Partnership can’t do that. Only we can do that (and I’m including everyone that’s been born and brought up here and everyone who has come and enjoyed living here)
I’ve made a start (here) But it’s only my idea. The people here on Yo! Liverpool are the people who can tell the powers that be what they think. What they want to see, yes ok, but more importantly, what works.
Most prosaically and down to brass tacks, if you want to sell to us, this is what we want and you know what? - other people will want it too and Liverpool will certainly be back, and we are certainly a place that gets stuff done and we will be a place that people come to, instead of leaving from.
Now is the time to plan - when it's hitting the fan. Council are all ears.
Do you disagree? Do you have any thing to say? Of course you do.