Barry Cooper

Born in 1937, Barry lived through World War II, aware of swarms of German bombers in the sky, seeing Coventry burning in the distance, watching endless convoys of new military vehicles passing by from the factory at Longbridge, with his father away at war. He is only aware now of the so-called “austerity” he lived through for 30 years.

Starting work as a 16-year-old at Birmingham Corporation, he trained as a Municipal Engineer. Followed by National Service in the Royal Artillery.

Then, onward and upward. He was Head of Transportation at Southampton City Council, Deputy County Planning Officer at Oxfordshire County Council, and Director of Transport Studies at the University of Wales.

He was a Chartered Engineer and a member of the Institution of Civil Engineers, the Institute of Municipal Engineers, the Institute of Highway Engineers and the Institute of Transport. He resigned from these professional institutions at his retirement age 65.

He was a member of the Executive Committee of the Town and Country Planning Association (TCPA) in the 1980s.  He was a member of the New Communities Group of the TCPA, where he began to develop his thinking about the future, which he quickly realised was outside the mainstream of futurist thinking. which sees the future as a version of the past.

He won a Commendation for his entry in a competition about Tomorrow’s New Communities,  presented by the Prince of Wales. Now the King.

He and his wife set up a company in desperation at the awfulness of hierarchies. They ran a direct marketing company, which won the Direct Marketing Intelligence Award for the Best Use of Internet Technology in 1999.  (The Automobile Association was second.)

Convinced that there must be a better way of doing things, Barry spent 45 years researching bottom-up thinking, finding out how to see things from the grassroots. He regularly contributed to the Radix Think Tank for the Radical Centre (RADIX), which published over 60 of his pieces.