City Council met last night to consider a presentation by planner Seth Galloway on the city's Urban Design Program. The goal of the design framework being drawn up by the advisory Urban Design steering committee is to make London more "liveable," which Galloway promises in return will attract people and economic development. Galloway clearly has a bright future in City Hall by demonstrating a firm grasp on the buzzwords and conceits that motivate politicians to suppose that it is within not only their mandate but their capacity to manage the city's attractions and economic development, to say nothing of incontestably meaningless concepts like liveability. Like the improbable Creative Cities doctrine that preceded it, and which it certainly does nothing to dispel, the idea of liveability as suggested by Galloway completely reverses cause and effect — in reality, it is economic opportunities that attract people, who in return make a city liveable through the exercise of their choices and aspirations. As far as planning goes, liveability may mean nothing more at the moment than approving certain amiable housing designs but, just as with the idea of creativity, the term is abstract and intangible enough to rationalize whatever concrete and non-negotiable restrictions and taxes politicians would like to convey with it. In other words, sacrificing the first link in the chain of liveability cause and effect.