The £36bn question

My article for Building magazine on the many flaws in the government’s healthcare reforms turned out to be very timely – by the time it appeared, they’d had a major rethink. Indeed, there was so much to say on the unanswered questions in the Health and Social Care Bill that the article ended up expanding over five pages, and that was only looking at a relatively non-emotive aspect of the plans: what exactly is going to happen to the £36bn-worth of property owned by the Primary Care Trusts once they’re gone?

The rich will always be with us

Everyone’s jumping on the sustainability bandwagon these days – and insurers are no exception. In June, I wrote for Insurance Times’ Property Focus on their unlikely forays into Energy Performance Certificates for buildings, as well as the Teflon-resilience of the super-rich in the recession, and the cast of thousands working behind the scenes to settle a big fire claim.

Any flavour as long as it’s Pizza Express

In January, I wrote an article for Time Out about something that’s been worrying me for a while: how chain restaurants are devouring the streets of London. During the construction boom, big “mixed use” schemes that claimed to be transforming vast swathes of the city were all the rage. What developers didn’t mention was that they would be transforming everywhere into exactly the same place. Now you walk through New Street Square and it’s almost identical to Bankside, and Spitalfields, and the South Bank, and Paternoster Square… I took to the streets to find out why developers display such a depressing, and dangerous, lack of imagination.