Author Archives: jesssteele

21 years of regeneration – revisited

It’s 21 years since I published Turning the Tide: The History of Everyday Deptford. At that point ‘the present’ was full of regeneration programmes. What was their impact? What did we learn? What should be done differently in future? On April … Continue reading

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Deptford Dockyard Clock in Thamesmead

And here is the Deptford Dockyard clock in situ in Thamesmead town centre.

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Deptford Dockyard clocktower

The 18th century Deptford Dockyard clock on its way down river to its new home in Thamesmead, 1986. It was given to Thamesmead by the GLC as they faced abolition “as something to remember the GLC by”

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Sitting in a ditch watching stars

After a good start with weekly blogs I seem to have fallen into Abeyance. It feels like a ditch I want to climb out of. It’s been a stunning couple of months – which is probably why I feel like … Continue reading

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Delinquent ownership – a PS about the council role

When it comes to dealing with derelict and disused buildings and land, Councils are in a practically impossible position (but that’s quite normal for local government!). They have a set of ‘powers’ that are theoretically available but technically complex. In … Continue reading

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Precious Buildings at Risk through Irresponsible Ownership

In this country we would never let someone drive a car that was uninsured or dangerous. That’s why we have the MOT system and DVLA to keep records of car ownership.  Yet we allow hundreds of owners to keep buildings … Continue reading

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The People’s Piers

I was taken aback by the level of interest in the Bank Holiday launch of my Coops UK Fresh Ideas pamphlet ‘The People’s Piers’. Given the coverage – Guardian, Times, Mirror, Daily Mail, BBC News, ITN, etc – I should … Continue reading

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Tackling irresponsible ownership

Tackling irresponsible ownership Continue reading

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No resting place but a challenge constantly renewed

“The Great Society is not a resting place… a finished work. It is a challenge constantly renewed, beckoning us towards a destiny where the meaning of our lives matches the marvellous products of our labor.” – Lindon Johnson Not a … Continue reading

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Stories as Community Action

Pier Campaign – story version Last week a couple of trustees of the Hastings Pier & White Rock Trust were filmed for a BBC piece to be shown in the autumn which may turn into a longer documentary. It felt … Continue reading

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A month on the Jericho Road

So it’s been a month since launching Jericho Road Solutions and I’m in reflective mood. I chose to leave a good job at Locality and start out on my own because I want to be directly involved in local transformations … Continue reading

Posted in Community Organisers, Hastings Pier, Jericho Road Solutions, Locality, Meanwhile, Seaside, Self-renovating neighbourhoods, Thinking | 1 Comment

The Spaces Between – Boundary Spanning 20 years ago

My biography always begins “Jess Steele bridges policy and practice to develop new intellectual territory, ventures and programmes…” I have always been interested in boundary-spanning – cross-sectoral, cross-community, inter-generational work; match-making between public, private and third sectors; travelling and translating … Continue reading

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Pier-to-Pier peer learning

I think we just won a competition on the basis of a good pun. But my co-conspirators say it’s because what we’re doing is really important and worthwhile and brilliant. Could be both?! I’ve always been a believer in peer … Continue reading

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Manchester Greater

I just had the second launch of Jericho Road Solutions – this time in Manchester. Another basement of another pub, this time very informal and no high-heeled speeches on wobbly tables. But with great people – community organisers from cohort … Continue reading

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Speech at the launch of Jericho Road Solutions, 15th May 2013

Welcome, and thank you for coming to wet the baby’s head. I’m going to revisit a speech I first gave in November 2010 which was the first time I used the Jericho Road quote. Goes to show you never know … Continue reading

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Is this real? The evil of targets

I was forwarded this by one of our community organisers. As I read it I kept thinking this cannot be true. I hope it is fake but I have a horrible feeling that it’s a true reflection of JobCentre/DWP culture … Continue reading

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Welfare reform & communities

Today’s second speech was at Respublica’s event to launch Julian Dobson’s excellent report “Responsible Recovery: A social contract for local growth”. Welfare reform and communities Jess Steele, Locality Innovation Director & Chair of CREATE Consortium I’ve worked for the past … Continue reading

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East London – 10 years of regeneration

I gave two speeches today. The first was at an event organised by Community Links in Canning Town. REGENERATION OF EAST LONDON [I’m going to see if you can multi-task! While I’m talking, sketch a little map of a bit … Continue reading

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Ba-Ba-Boom! Huzzah! Wow! OMG! Thank the Gods!

Sometimes when things work out well we can hardly believe it’s because of us. We want to feel the thunderbolt and praise Thor! I’m really pleased that tonight Hastings Pier was saved. This is how I felt when I knew: … Continue reading

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Self-renovating neighbourhoods

The old regeneration is dead, or should be. New regeneration will be driven by local people as agents of neighbourhood change, connected through solidarity networks, with the state and markets as enablers. It will focus on the fine grain of the lived neighbourhood, abjuring all silos and proactively weaving new fabrics of ownership and responsibility for the built and social environment. Inspired by stories of ‘accidental’ renewal arising from the clear self-interest of groups of local people, this paper introduces the self-renovating neighbourhood. It defines regeneration as the unleashing of trapped resources to nurture transformational local change, and makes a call to action to unlock people, land and buildings, and common bond equity capital to rebuild Britain from the ground up. Continue reading

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