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This week's editor

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Rosemary Bechler is openDemocracy’s Editor.

Planning is the problem

The new urbanism represented by Richard Rogers is shallow and authoritarian. Its impulse to confine people in high-density settlements has disastrous social and economic effects. The truly radical answer is to dismantle the planning system, allow people to live where they wish, and nurture a creative mix between town and country. Let Swindon breathe, the Yorkshire Dales thrive, and Glasgow flourish!

Disinterring the past

The artist Arshile Gorky was a complex figure in denial of his past, haunted by a tragic history yet creating images of vigour and freshness that still astonish. Fifty years on, a fellow Armenian explores his mystery - and infuses her own ancestors with new life.

Where's the passion, where's the fairness in our politics?

Politicians? Vicky would stop them running things at all. Labour looked promising once. But to a single mother, battling racism and postcode health, they’ve failed to deliver fairness. She gives us her perspective in the following interview.

The real world of public service

While it is attractive to toy with the idea of broadcasting left to a free market it is clear that this cannot maintain diversity of output.

Inside the palace of glass

The international conferences of the new world order are regularly seen through the eyes of media, protestors, and spin-doctors. But what is it like to be a participant? The director of the Overseas Development Institute was in Amsterdam to discuss poverty with the World Bank. This is his witty, compelling account.

Europe and German Imperialism - A reply to Pat Mizak

The arguments against European Integration and the European Central Bank are weak. The rejection of the Nice Treaty has only shown that people are ill-informed.

Public broadcasting: imperfect but essential

The British experience shows that the public service model can offer a foundation of excellence across the broadcasting spectrum – as well as keeping us all honest. The story of Independent Television News reveals how commercial invention and imaginative regulation once worked in concert. Can they do so again?

Best of both worlds

She dislikes politics but always votes, believes in monarchy but is caustic about the royals. In her interview, this farm manager’s wife tells us that playing bridge with Minnesota on the net is second nature. But is there a place in her world view for the London ivory tower?

Ignorance and Arrogance: Europe's Twin Pillars

The majority of Europeans think - peddle more slowly and have a clear sense of direction.

On the beat, with the public

This police officer would not have her 24-hour job any other way, even in a small town with no respite from drugs, alcohol, racism, and petty crime. But why does she see the answer in changing the culture of government? Read her answers here.

Justice in the world's light

The man who ruled Chile for twenty years was brought to account by judges in Spain and Britain, and ultimately Chile itself, for crimes against humanity. Does this globalising of justice run roughshod over national sovereignty? The architects of Pinochet’s arrest tell their story. The piece is followed by two responses from openDemocracy readers.General Augusto Pinochet was Chile’s president – some would say dictator – from 1973 to 1990. In the Autumn of 1998, he visited London for a medical check.

Ireland and Europe

The Irish 'no' vote sparks off some thoughts on Europe from openDemocracy readers.

Bringing oxygen into the magic circle

The debate about public service broadcasting has been conducted in a pre-web frame. The whole argument is being altered by the experiences of new forms of public information as we go digital, says the British Film Institute’s head of education.

Yugoslavia and Europe : breaking up, making up

A decade of war and dissolution in ex-Yugoslavia makes the region the test of whether a post-Cold War Europe is possible. What will Europe become when the Balkans is no longer its simple mirror-image?

Troubled links to the narrow land

Everyone outside Israel with a stake in the country walks on eggshells in times of crisis. But what happens to memory and hope in the perspective of violence without end? A thoughtful report from the emotional front line.

We are all the future

Resisting new supermarkets and seeing a plc purchasing her health centre has taught this Worcester Woman far more about the modern world than Westminster’s childish waffle. In this interview, she reveals that democracy for her means accountability and an end to facelessness. But how to breach the circle of power?

Ireland's 'no' is EU's opportunity

The Irish people’s rejection of the Nice treaty is a roadblock to EU reform and enlargement. It is also a demand for a new political culture in the EU. Will the politicians and bureaucrats at last respond to democratic challenge?

Wanted: clear minds on divided lives

The British election campaign is no time for philosophical argument. Even so, Tony Blair explicitly rejected the idea that overall growing inequality should diminish. A bleary-eyed young Millbank organiser emerges into the sunlight to ask: can the left afford to agree with him?

Voting alone

Turnout is down across the world. The ‘crisis of democracy’ is more than a cliché. But is the problem not too little choice for potential voters, but too much?

Jennifer Lopez: my part in her downfall

In 1999, on the cusp of global fame, the singer-actress Jennifer Lopez was interviewed in her native New York by an obscure music journalist from London. Where is she now? We don’t know. But the latter rose dizzily to work for openDemocracy, and tells here the tale of a celebrity encounter with a difference.

Mr. Town meets Mr. Country

From BSE to foot & mouth, from hunting to the Countryside Alliance, from Maff to Defra - out of crisis the countryside has moved to the top of the political agenda. But where is the Urban Alliance? Are the cities losing their way? And how can the fractured relationship of the last decade be healed in the next?

It's idealism that's the problem

Worcester has offered tradition, homeliness, and prosperity to this proud Englishwoman and journalist. But she tells in this interview how her tranquillity is disturbed by threats to her country’s well-being.

Abolish the secret ballot

The secret ballot once empowered people, now it exposes voting to manipulation. As UK turnout dips below 60% and e-democracy spreads around the world, let’s take public possession of how we vote instead of hiding it away.

Swedish public service - for seniors only?

Public service TV goes hand in hand with established, nationally based political systems. It is the medium for the nation not for the network society.

Enlightened regulation: the future Indian way?

India’s broadcasting media, driven by advertising and international business, has exploded into diverse life in the last decade. The public broadcasters, once so powerful, are drifting. Is there a role for regulation?

In Kosovo, statehood is the solvent for war

This report from the front line of the post-war shift from war to politics in Kosovo challenges Western media stereotypes of its Albanian majority.

Polishing the precious jewel

From Cathedral to farmers’ market, the city is a source of secure identity for this Worcester woman we interviewed. But how do her Christian values and nostalgia for the 1950s face up to today’s violence, materialism – and Tony Blair?

Swedes do it better

“My cow wants fun” said the writer of children’s books - and people listened. The head of the Federation of Swedish Farmers explains how her country’s history and culture planted the seeds of an ethical food system.

Taxation without representation?

The licence fee for out-of-touch public service: taxation without representation?

Not good enough

We need public service broadcasting to be protected more than ever. The commercialisation of the BBC and C4 are reasons to fight for them.