Thursday, 1 October 2009


Welcome to my blog! The book was published three months ago so I feel it’s well overdue. The idea is that it will provide a place to talk about the wide range of issues raised by Ground Control.

I thought I’d kick off with this email I received the other night from a photographer acquaintance called Lee Garland:
“I decided to come down to Spinningfields to take some photos this evening, and lasted 10mins before the security guard descended upon me. Some of his choicest phrases so far: (he's still standing in front of me) "pack that up NOW and **** off" and my personal favourite "have you always been a dickhead?" whilst he held his hand over my camera lens. What I find most ironic is the fact I'm standing outside of the Guardian's Manchester office!”

The spread of private security in privately owned places has been one of the themes which resonated most with people since the book came out. When I was interviewed about this on Broadcasting House Paddy O’Connell could not believe the way security guards ejected the BBC from the South Bank, as you can hear here.

Right now, I’m about to go and talk about the book to a community group in Walthamstow and tomorrow I’m off to Manchester, to talk to the ‘Institute of Place Management’ at Manchester Metropolitan University. It should be interesting as they’re a business school and I suspect some of the audience will vehemently disagree with my take on the private management of cities. I’ll blog and let you know.


  1. I was about to write that I really enjoyed your book, but I'm not certain that's quite the right word for a work which had me shouting "Oh for f***'s sake!" out loud.

    However it was a terrific read, and cleared away an awful lot of long standing puzzlement about issues like why new developments resemble fortresses (I had no idea about 'secured by design') and why are there so many security guards.

    One question, though: why did you give up on twitter?

  2. I'm glad you liked the book. Twitter - hasn't really grabbed me. Suspect it's linked to having a blackberry, which I'm trying to avoid...