This morning I was messing around on google maps, as I often do, when I came across Stoke-On-Trent. It’s somewhere I went to quite often in my childhood and adolescence, but I haven’t been there in years. On a whim, media buff that I am, I decided to tap ‘Stoke-On-Trent’ into Youtube. I expected to find the usual range of city tours and local business adds, but I have to say what I found appalled me: video upon video documenting an abandoned, derelict city. From what I saw, the city has been totally left to ruin. The contrast with what i’m now used to in this clean, shiny metropolis, is what strikes me the most: I mean, what on earth happened? How could any local council or government let a city go to waste like that? Of course, the reasons behind such a collapse in a city’s fortunes will always be complex, but with cities like London and Manchester clearly booming (for the moment at least) why are cities like Stoke-On-Trent being allowed to go through such harsh, devastating declines? The Guardian has done an interesting video series looking at the city (second link), and you have to see their point when they speculate that such mismatches in investment may have been one of the reasons why so many people in Stoke voted for Brexit. Either way, I find the sight of such dereliction, with row upon row of boarded up shops and houses, chilling.