We are hearing a lot about development at the moment. The Mayor of London has released an audacious paper about what London should look like. From the Olympics to the airports debate everyone is excited about the modernising face of London. And yet too often ordinary people are promised affordable homes, then shut out of the development process whilst space is eaten up by unaccountable giants.
The grim reality of London's private renting crisis was graphically exposed to the wider world this June when in Islington we banned a tiny 'shoebox' flat from being rented out. In the widely-shared photo from the letting agent's site, you could see the bed blocking the cupboard doors under the hob; the fact it was snapped up, in less than a day, for £737 a month was a cruel expression of the desperation so many tenants' face.
When the recession hit, it wiped out livelihoods and decimated entire markets. In the face of a global slump, Britain's housing sector was no exception; buyers couldn't afford to buy and builders couldn't afford to build. Over the course of several years, the pace of the property market dropped from jet stream to tumbleweed and the UK was left with an increasingly problematic housing deficit.
Britain is rightly proud of its track record of job creation, but a successful 21st Century economy requires more. Ahead of the 2015 Election, it is time for all parties to face up to the changing face of the labour market, and set out their commitments to building a more sustainable, productive and robust economy that offers opportunities for all workers, and cities, throughout the UK.
Opening the London papers on the commute home, the almost daily stories about the housing crisis facing London make for ever more gloomy reading. Housing is becoming too expensive for all but the richest Londoners with tenants in the private sector spending 59 per cent of their wages on rent.
Despite London's housing crisis being one of the black marks on Boris Johnson's mayoral legacy, the key to making housing in our capital more affordable is straightforward and widely agreed - to increase supply and ensure this supply is genuinely affordable to your average person.
It is demeaning, they argue, to stand in line for a food parcel. But is it really any less demeaning to stand in a not dissimilar line at the door of a job centre or welfare office. Don't both turn people into state dependents?
'Northern Flight' has seldom left my mind since it finished. It provides an emotive exploration of the issues that lie at the heart of the city's identity. Patrick's words to me at the end of our interview have filled my thoughts and followed me through the streets of this beautiful city: "Liverpool is a city that tells you that you can do something, rather than that you can't."
There are words that have all the impact of a car alarm going off in the middle of the night. They scream at you, but most of the time they mean nothing. One such word is 'transformation'.
There are plenty of reasons why guys annoy us once we're living with them - and your complaints will, most likely, be legit. However, girls aren't exactly easy to live with, either. In fact, people in general are difficult to live with. So how about we all cut each other some slack?
Being a "good landlord" is not one that seeks to make excessive profit out of their tenants, nor play with their security. But in this overheated property market, all the power lies with the person who owns the property, and why wouldn't they want to make the biggest return they can?
Rewind a few decades to when the Conservatives, under Margaret Thatcher, were selling off council houses under the Right To Buy scheme. The then Secretary of State for the Environment, Michael Heseltine, said that home ownership helps to foster "attitudes of independence and self-reliance, the bedrock of a free society".
The election itself will inevitably focus on issues that matter most to voters - from jobs and housing to wages and welfare. But it is less well recognised that the election in 2015 will be determined primarily in our urban areas, and that the fortunes of each of the major political parties depend upon how they perform in, and help support, UK cities.
You struggle, scrimp and save, and battle against all the odds to somehow obtain that illusive dream of homeownership...your very own piece of Britain. But as a nation we are under siege, surrounded by an invading army waiting to steal away that which we worked so hard to achieve. This grim hoard hails from the land of HMRC and its army is inheritance tax...
Because social housing - having been handed to unaccountable private landlords - is in such short supply, it is now available only to those in the most dire, desperate need. Every other tenant is in the hands of unregulated rental agents who are seemingly infinitely creative in their ability to dream up new charges.
Wouldn't it be great to see a high street full of local shops, owned and operated by local people and offering a real interesting insight into their skills, dreams and ambitions? Wouldn't it be great for there to be less betting shops, estate agents and insurance brokers?