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– with my pal Claire Cocks in Palermo, about what lockdown, Italian-flavour, looks like – is already a little out of date.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.

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