What is “New Municipalism”? In this first of a new series Ross seeks clarification from scholar-activists Bertie Russell and Matt Thompson who give us a conceptual and historical take on this new urban movement, offering reflections on UK examples like Preston.

The interview was recorded at the end of August 2019 at the Royal Geographers Society / Institute of British Geographers Annual Conference Annual Conference in London.


Dr Bertie Russell is a research associate at the University of Sheffield’s Urban Institute. He has recently worked on the ESRC Jam & Justice project and as part of MISTRA Urban Futures. His research interests include municipalism (with a recent paper in Antipode entitled Beyond the Local Trap: New Municipalism and the Rise of the Fearless Cities and a forthcoming paper in Soundings) and new models of economic democracy (with a recent co-authored policy report published by Common Wealth entitled Public-Common Partnerships: Building New Circuits of Collective Ownership). He is an editorial community member of Minim, and has published recently in Open Democracy, Red Pepper, ROAR, Citymetric, Novara and The Conversation.

Dr Matt Thompson is a Leverhulme Research Fellow at the University of Liverpool’s Heseltine Institute for Public Policy, Practice and Place. As a geographer and recovering urban planner, he is interested in municipalism, cooperative economies, social innovation, urban regeneration and housing. He is the author of Reconstructing Public Housing: Liverpool’s hidden history of collective alternatives (Liverpool University Press 2020), an article in IJURR on Playing with the Rules of the Game and one forthcoming in Progress in Human Geography asking What’s so new about New Municipalism?