Dave Hill, formerly the Guardian's award-winning London commentator, is behind the 'On London' website, and online publication that seeks to report and explain how this extraordinary and complex city is changing in these momentous times. Here he explains what the site is trying to achieve, and why he's running a crowdfunding campaign to provide extra resources.
London’s infinite capacity for change and renewal, its endless churn and swirl, are central to its appeal – at least, they are to me, who escaped into the city from small town attitudes in 1979 and have never wished to leave.
Yet the speed of its evolution in recent years has created concern as well as excitement. London’s population and economy have boomed, but these signs of success have also engendered problems, anxieties and resistance.
Public transport is overcrowded, the right kinds of housing are in short supply and, at the same time, redevelopment schemes that might address some of these troubles are often the focus of local and wider political opposition.
It’s hard to navigate this complex landscape, and too much of the journalism about the city these days feels shallow and populist when what’s required is depth and nuance.
I started my website On London
just over a year ago in order to fill that gap after my award-winning columns about the capital for the Guardian were discontinued. During that time I believe the site has begun to establish itself as a respected source of fair reporting and commentary about the big issues facing London, written by a variety of contributors from a range of informed perspectives.
I have been helped in this endeavour by the London Society, including one its luminaries, Peter Murray, who has written some excellent pieces for me. the Society and I are also collaborating on putting on events later this year, including a debate about what Brexit will mean for London.
This is quite an honour for me – the London Society is over 100 years old and On London
has only existed for 13 months. But I hope very much that it can keep going and growing for a while yet. For that to happen I need the help of readers and others.
I am currently running a five-week, all-or-nothing crowdfunding campaign with the aim of raising £25,000 by no later than 08:22 on 8 March. If fellow London Society members, colleagues and friends feel able to donate I would be enormously grateful. The Crowdfunder web page is here: https://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/on-london-co-uk