Podcast: New year, new mayors

Manchester Town Hall. Image: Getty.

It’s cold, it’s January, and everything’s a bit depressing. So to cheer ourselves up, why don’t we have a nice chat about municipal government structures?

First up, I talk Stephanie through what is arguably England’s biggest local government shake up in 40 years: plans for “metro mayors” in Manchester, Liverpool, Birmingham and selected other cities. We talk about why it is that, just four months before the elections, it’s remarkably unclear exactly which cities are actually going to get the new mayors; why some of the big ones definitely won’t; and to cap it all, we’re probably a bit gratuitously mean about Yorkshire.

After that, to lighten the mood, Stephanie shares some stories of weird local government initiatives from around the world, including “the guy who tried to ban death” and “the foot powder that got itself elected mayor”.

And finally, we talk about Transport for London’s tube bylaws for basically no reason at all.

The episode itself is below. You can subscribe to the podcast on AcastiTunes, or RSS. Enjoy.

Skylines is supported by 100 Resilient Cities. Pioneered by the Rockefeller Foundation, 100RC is dedicated to helping cities around the world become more resilient to the physical, social and economic challenges that are a growing part of the 21st century.

You can find out more at its website.


 

 
 
 
 

Podcast: SPQR

Rome celebrates its birthday in 2014. Image: Getty.

It’s just me this week, which is a problem, because there’s no one to stop me from indulging his sillier ideas. For example: an entire podcast about Ancient Rome.

Our guest is Kevin Feeney, a historian of the late Roman Empire based at Yale University, Connecticut. He gives us a whistlestop tour of Imperial Rome, with occasional side trips to other ancient cities. We also discuss other important matters such as the nature of Roman emergency services; whether the Emperor Claudius was all that Robert Graves made him out to be; why ancient Britain sucked; and, inevitably, why the whole enterprise fell apart.

Then we round off with the audience participation bit. This week we’re asking: which cities or places from history would you like to visit and why?

The episode itself is below. You can subscribe to the podcast on AcastiTunes, or RSS. Oh – and if you’d like to give us a nice review on iTunes, we’d really like that very much, thanks. Enjoy.

 

Skylines is supported by 100 Resilient Cities. Pioneered by the Rockefeller Foundation, 100RC is dedicated to helping cities around the world become more resilient to the physical, social and economic challenges that are a growing part of the 21st century.

You can find out more at its website.