151 episodes

Skylines is the podcast from the New Statesman's urbanism site. Every two weeks, Jonn Elledge, colleagues and guests discuss the politics & workings of cities and test their contention that maps are a great topic for radio.

Skylines, the CityMetric podcast Acast

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    • 4.7, 139 Ratings

Skylines is the podcast from the New Statesman's urbanism site. Every two weeks, Jonn Elledge, colleagues and guests discuss the politics & workings of cities and test their contention that maps are a great topic for radio.

    150. So Long, And Thanks For All The Fish

    150. So Long, And Thanks For All The Fish

    Casablanca is 102 minutes long. Citizen Kane runs for 119. This, the 150th and final episode of Skylines, the CityMetric podcast, is longer than either, at 124. You lucky, lucky people.
    I’ve loved doing this show over the last four and a bit years – it’s been a great opportunity to chat to interesting people about everything from transport and housing to smart cities and regional identities, with the odd argument about the tube or episode about ancient history thrown in for flavour. But for all sorts of reasons – not least of which is that I’ve stepped down as editor of CityMetric – this felt like the right time to stop.
    I wanted to go out with a bang, though, and to hell with worrying about self-indulgence. So in this final, feature-length episode of Skylines you will hear:
    - Barbara Speed, my first co-host and the opinion editor of the I Paper, on her enduring love of baked goods chain Greggs;
    - Our founding producer Roifield Brown, on the podcast’s origins, his native Birmingham and his love of San Francisco;
    - New Statesman political correspondent Patrick Maguire on the rise of the metro mayor, and a movie about both zombies AND public transport;
    - The Guardian’s media editor Jim Waterson, one of our more frequent guests, on why Britain’s transport network is quite good, actually;
    - New Statesman political editor Stephen Bush on the best and worst cities for party conferences;
    - The New Statesman’s former environmental writer India Bourke on the joy of nature;
    - The Centre for Cities’ Paul Swinney on the town/city divide;
    - Our current producer Nick Hilton on the fun he’s had turning my rubbish into a podcast;
    - An interview with myself, about my favourite things about doing the show, conducted Agnes Frimston (who, when not being my wonderful and tolerant partner co-hosts the Chatham House podcast, Undercurrents);
    - And last, but very definitely not least, Sommer Mathis, CityMetric’s new editor in chief, on how she got into urbanism and her plans for the site.
    All that, plus some clips from listeners, and some previously unreleased bits of my entirely excellent former co-host Stephanie Boland.
    Thanks for tuning into Skylines these last few years. I’m gonna miss you guys.
    Skylines is the podcast from CityMetric, the New Statesman’s cities site. It’s presented by Jonn Elledge and produced by Nick Hilton.
     
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    • 2 hrs 4 min
    149. No Exit

    149. No Exit

    Partly because of the crisis, partly for reasons we’ll come to in a moment, our production schedule on Skylines has got a bit lax. So the first of this week’s interviews – with my pal Claire Cocks in Palermo, about what lockdown, Italian-flavour, looks like – is already a little out of date. Italy, unlike the UK, has begun lifting its lockdown. 


    But it’s still a fascinating insight into both what a stricter lockdown looks like, and also into how great Palermo would be if she were allowed to see it at all – so I’ve kept the interview, but added a brief update from Claire about what the situation there is like now.


    Our second interview is with Hala El Akl, a senior associate at PLP Architecture and chair of the ULI’s UK Urban Art Forum. She tells us exactly why cities should be paying more attention to the role of arts and culture, and what she hopes to do with the role.


    Before I go – the explanation for the lax schedule I mentioned. In case you’ve missed the announcements on social media: Skylines is coming to an end. I’ve handed over the reins at CityMetric to the new editorial team, led by the outstanding Sommer Mathis, and the next episode will be number 150. For those and a host of other reasons, this felt like the right time to stop.


    But don’t worry, because our final episode is going to be an absolute monster, in which I speak to all sorts of people who’ve been involved in the show in some capacity over the last four and a bit years years, about their favourite episodes, what they would have liked to have spoken about but didn’t, and also, inevitably, the tube. It’s the messy self-indulgent send off this podcast deserves, and I hope the final product is as much fun to listen to as it was to record.


    Incidentally – as part of that I’m going to include some clips from listeners, being nice and/or mocking me in an amusing fashion. If you’d like to be one of them, email me your clip to jonnelledge at gmail dot com under the subject line “Final Skylines”.


    Skylines is the podcast from CityMetric, the New Statesman’s cities site. It’s presented by Jonn Elledge and produced by Nick Hilton.
     
    See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

    • 37 min
    148. Graphs of doom

    148. Graphs of doom

    I’m still locked down, and so, I assume, are you, so this week’s show is a game of two-halves.


    In the present, I speak to my lockdown companion, my partner Agnes Frimston – who, as it happens, co-hosts the newly weekly Chatham House podcast Undercurrents – about how much fun she’s having being shut in a one-bedroom flat with me with no end in sight. We also talk about the various coping strategies the world at large is developing to help it get through lockdown; how public services are faring; and how the crisis might change the world and its politics.


    We also put on mousturising face masks. While recording. It was that kind of day.


    After that, an interview, from the before times. Back in March, I spoke with Donna Hall, the former chief executive of Wigan council and chair of the New Local Government Network. We talked about the interlocking crises – budgets, social care, and so forth – that were afflicting England’s councils even before the pandemic arrived. Once we’re out of this mess, such issues are, I fear, only going to get worse.


    Skylines is the podcast from CityMetric, the New Statesman’s cities site. It’s presented by Jonn Elledge and produced by Nick Hilton.
     
    See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

    • 37 min
    147. Lockdown

    147. Lockdown

    Apologies for the fact this week’s podcast is a little bit late. But in my defence, both time and the calendar have lost all meaning.


    Anyway. Something like a third of the world is currently in lockdown to deal with the coronavirus crisis, including Skylines’ little corner of it. So on the assumption that she didn’t have anywhere more fun to be right now, this seemed a good moment to invite my former co-host Stephanie Boland to Skype back into the podcast for the first time in about a year and a half. We discuss the strangeness of London, and its entirely empty transport system, in lockdown; how the UK government is doing at handling the crisis; and how it may, or may not, change the world and its politics.


    If you enjoyed this one and are a relatively recent subscriber to Skylines, then why not check out some episodes from Stephanie’s era as co-host? You can hear more of her in episodes 15-38, plus 51, 63, 100, and probably some more that I’ve forgotten because it was ages ago.


    On a different matter – the pandemic has meant a year’s delay to all this year’s English mayoral elections. That sadly means that the mayoral walks series is almost certainly finished, for the moment. But I nonetheless hope to persuade Sadiq Khan and Shaun Bailey to go for a walk with me at some point in the future. It’s good to have goals, isn’t it?


    Skylines is the podcast from CityMetric, the New Statesman's cities site. It's presented by Jonn Elledge and produced by Nick Hilton.
     
    See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

    • 30 min
    146. London mayoral walks #3: Rory Stewart has his porridge

    146. London mayoral walks #3: Rory Stewart has his porridge

    The mayoral walks mini-series began in an act of trolling. Rory Stewart launched his campaign to be mayor of London through the unusual strategy of walking all over London and tweeting about it; I have spent large chunks of my life walking all over London and tweeting about it; Twitter at large suggested we combine forces, and maybe turn it into a podcast. 


    And, once a couple of other candidates had helpfully put the pressure on by offering to go for a walk with me too, Stewart agreed. And suddenly what had started by taking the mick on Twitter because I was bored had become an actual thing.


    Alas, when the day finally came we were defeated by London’s famous weather: on the appointed morning, Friday 28 February, it was bucketing down, which isn’t really a good match with the Skylines recording equipment, also known as “my phone”. So instead this podcast was recorded in a cafe in South Kensington.


    During its course, I asked Rory why he felt London was crying out for a former Tory Cabinet minister as its independent mayor; why he had chosen to campaign by walking and, more recently, asking to sleep one night a week in other Londoners’ houses; and whether he thinks he really has a hope of defeating Sadiq Khan. All that, and we also chatted about his proposals to sort out the capital’’s housing and transport systems, and Rory ate some porridge, too.


    Incidentally, there’s a moment in this one when the candidate is unexpectedly enthusiastic about my proposals that we start giving the Overground network different line names and we have to stop talking about it before it takes over the entire podcast. Though we did discuss it for ten minutes after recording.


    This may be the last of my mayoral “walks”. I’m talking to the staffs of both Khan and his Tory rival Shaun Bailey, and am open to approaches from other candidates desperate for coverage... But at time of writing nothing else has been agreed. We shall see. If you happen to see someone running for mayor, send them my way, would you?


    Skylines is the podcast from CityMetric, the New Statesman's cities site. It's presented by Jonn Elledge and produced by Nick Hilton.
     
    See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

    • 31 min
    145. The Great Manchester Mayoral Election

    145. The Great Manchester Mayoral Election

    In all the excitement over the London mayoral election, and Brexit, and coronavirus, and the end of civilisation as we know it, it might have escaped you that there are mayoral elections due in other English cities in early May. So, on this week’s podcast, we're looking at one of those. 


    The last time Skylines spoke to Jen Williams, politics and investigations editor of the Manchester Evening News, it was to talk about exactly what had gone wrong with the northern rail network. Since that's still going wrong (lol), that’s our starting point this week, too. But we swiftly move on to talking about our real topic: Greater Manchester’s upcoming mayoral election and Andy Burnham’s record as mayor, as well as homelessness, policing and, my personal favourite, bus regulation. 


    If you’re on Twitter and you don't follow Jen already, by the way, you’re doing it wrong: she’s on @JenWilliamsMEN. Next time, all being well, I’m off for a walk with independent London mayoral candidate Rory Stewart.


    Skylines is the podcast from CityMetric, the New Statesman's cities site. It's presented by Jonn Elledge and produced by Nick Hilton.
     
    See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

    • 34 min

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5
139 Ratings

139 Ratings

Tom_1357 ,

Great show on urbanism

I really enjoy this - in particular as someone living in London who is interested in urbanism. Sounds like Jonn is leaving it though which will be a shame.

Geordiebristolian ,

Always Interesting

Great to hear from a journalist who's interested in the same things I am. Always interesting, thoughtful and funny with it. Really enjoyed the recent one about my adopted home town, the great Newcatle upon Tyne. Nice one Jonn!

Evan 654773 ,

Great fun

Jonn Elledge once described the platonic ideal of the podcast as him apologising for the poor sound quality of an interview, but the interviews tend to be so interesting that it doesn't really matter. Well worth your time.

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