Podcast: After Grenfell and advanced Sheffield

In memoriam. Image: Getty.

In the early hours of 14 June 2017, a fire broke out in a west London tower block; 72 people died in the resulting conflagration, many of them, tragically, because they had followed the official safety instructions to remain in their homes.

At the time the Grenfell fire felt like a turning point in Britain’s attitude to social housing. Two years on, though, precious little seems to have changed.

Stuart Hodkinson, an associate professor at the University of Leeds, has spent a decade talking to estate residents about their experience of regeneration and maintenance of social housing estates at the hands of private firms. He tells me how a disaster like Grenfell could have come to happen – and whether something similar could happen again.

Also this week: Paul Swinney of the Centre for Cities tells me about Sheffield’s world-leading Advanced Manufacturing Park, which brings experts from different industries together with academics from the city’s universities to undertake joint research. The park is already a leader in its field – so can it help pull Sheffield out of its economic doldrums?

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

Jonn Elledge is the editor of CityMetric. He is on Twitter as @jonnelledge and on Facebook as JonnElledgeWrites.

Skylines is produced by Nick Hilton.

Want more of this stuff? Follow CityMetric on Twitter or Facebook.



What we're reading: Understanding how the coronavirus spreads in public spaces

Risk assessment: It’s a holiday weekend in the US and UK, and where the weather is nice, people will surely want to go out. Vox has a handy chart for understanding the risks of coronavirus in different settings.

Covid-proofing: Social distancing has proven to be an effective way to slow the coronavirus, but it’s an emergency method that can’t stay in place forever. In order to get the economy going again, offices, restaurants and entertainment venues will need a dramatic overhaul. The Atlantic shares ideas to make that happen.

Vacation ghost town: With no indication of when people can safely travel again, resort towns are bracing for a summer unlike any other. CityLab reports that this weekend is the start of a critical period for vacation hotspots, but residents and businesses there expect tough times ahead.