Christmas markets 'part of wave of structured, sponsored events taking over public spaces'

A claim that Christmas markets are part of a wave of "structured and sponsored events in the open spaces of British cities" features in today's newspaper round-up.

Rowan Moore, The Observer’s architecture correspondent, writes that Christmas markets, "along with big screens for World Cups and Wimbledon, temporary stages, ice rinks, film screenings and cultural and commercial pop-ups, are part of a wave of structured and sponsored events in the open spaces of British cities that have been growing in popularity for most of this century". He adds that some of these are "promoted by the developers who control what are known as privately owned public spaces, or Pops. Others are mounted by private companies with the approval of local authorities in charge of long-established squares and parks."

An article in The Times (subscription) reports that "the over-budget HS2 rail link will bring fewer benefits to northern England than cheaper plans to improve rail links between key cities in the region, a survey of so-called ‘red wall’ voters has found". The paper says the survey, by the Royal Society for the encouragement of arts, manufacturing and commerce and the One Powerhouse Consortium, found that, "only 32 per cent of those questioned believed that the HS2 link from London to Birmingham, Manchester and Leeds would ‘benefit their area’". It also found that "only 43 per cent of respondents believed that Northern Powerhouse Rail — or HS3 — linking Liverpool, Manchester, Leeds, Sheffield and Hull would have a galvanising effect on their area, either."

An article in The Financial Times (subscription) says that transport planners are using data aggregation tools "to improve cycling and walking infrastructure". The piece says that, using data gathered from cyclists, "planners can observe changes, such as many cyclists avoiding a direct route, to see where roads may be dangerous".

Another article in the FT  says that the transport pledges in the main political parties’ election manifestos "look like pie in the sky". It says that experts have flagged concerns about spending pledges around rail improvements and how realistic pledges to fully electrify the rail network are. 

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