My name is Richard Walker and this website sets down who I am finding to be the more interesting thinkers on how things should change “after the pandemic”, across a range of topics that are of interest to me. It has a UK focus. The initial set of topics/categories is:
- Places: The foundational economy/community wealth building/strengthening local economies; green and liveable housing and town planning; the future of town centres; UK spatial inequalities, spatial development and ‘levelling up’.
- Nature: Climate change, land management, recreation and rewilding.
- Money: The new economics, the coronavirus bailout, tax justice and offshore.
- Politics: The post-Corbyn opposition, UK constitutional and democratic reform, the media.
Pre-coronavirus there was an amazing proliferation of people and organisations working across these topics and producing output online, with a remarkable amount of the best thought not coming from conventional institutions and not being covered by conventional news sources. A complex ecosystem: the more you dug, the more you found. There was and is strength and richness in that diversity, but there was and is also a real problem of fragmentation. The overwhelming volume of information was causing bewilderment as much as enlightenment, and overall the combined impact was ending up being less than the sum of its parts.
Now the sources are turning their minds to adapting their ideas to the needs – and the opportunities, such as they are – of the new world post-coronavirus. Locked down and logged in, you can see the output starting to flow: indeed, there is something of a gold rush to get in early and stake out claims on the new landscape.
Is one of the opportunities now the chance to keep on top of the ecosystem’s output of new thinking, and for it to have impact equal to or more than the sum of its parts? When even getting a full overview is nigh impossible, the idea of overcoming the fragmentation to achieve any kind of synthesis – never mind building a consensus across society on a programme of change – seems fanciful. But some progress needs to be made in this area, or the billionaires now making their plans to gain ‘full spectrum dominance’ of the future will scoop the pot.
Meanwhile, this ecosystem of thinkers and activists, which has strength in its diversity and ability to evolve quickly, is also fragile. Few of them have deep pockets and the coronavirus recession poses a real threat to their income and ability to keep going. The risk that it will be swept away must be mitigated.
One person with one website obviously cannot solve these problems. Changing the geographical metaphor, all I can do is try to provide a map of a specific part of the intellectual archipelago and a record of one person’s course across it.
There is no ambition to ‘own the synthesis’ – just to offer a small contribution to that common project. The number of items added to the site will grow slowly and despite best efforts, potentially haphazardly. I do not claim to be a great expert in any of these topics, and my choice of thinkers and content on them is, and can only be, a purely personal selection. But if they are of interest to you too, then please read on.