Below is a Powerpoint presentation of how Newcastle in the NE of England has physically changed from the 1960s to the 2010s. Next to it is a commentary in PDF format that hopefully will provide background so viewers can make better sense of the slide
The first part uses the narrative structure of a route I took when I first visited the city in early 1968 for an interview at Newcastle upon Tyne University where I had applied to study Town and Country Planning (I was accepted).
I walked from Newcastle Central station through the city centre to the Claremont Tower on the campus. Pictures from around that time are compared to roughly the same scene in recent years. Ones featuring trolley buses or trolley bus wires will, however, be pre-1966 when the last service ran.
The second part spotlights some other changes, with a few slides at the end exploring changes already in the pipeline or being touted by the council and other forces in the city. Some issues are posed about the nature of change, its goals and related decision-making structures. Although Newcastle got off lightly compared to many Brtish cities in terms of ‘civic vandalism’, many of the changes were steps away from the sustainable common good, sometimes making the city even less resilient in terms of coming ecological challenges. Too often the needs of the private car dominated all else, for example.
Current plans and projections also tend to ignore the ecological ‘facts of life’ and how the future will be very different to what is widely assumed by leading decision-makers and indeed the general public. We need a radically different vision if civilised living is to be sustained and a viable home created by other forms of life with whom we share both our local ‘patch’ and the Earth as a whole.