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Episode Info:

Baby it's cold outside – or at least it was, in certain parts of the world, when we recorded this, ho hum.

Anyway, that's the week's topic. Inspired by the polar vortex, which has seen temperatures of -30C in the US Midwest, we're chatting extremes of weather, with the New Statesman's US editor Nicky Woolf and its in-house midwesterner Sarah Manavis. We also talk about extreme heat and, this being CityMetric, manage a long and detailed argument about which temperature scale is actually better.

(I'm not going to lie to you: everyone was in a particularly unruly mood that day, and at one point I had to leave the recording for a moment to deal with an editorial problem, so I'm a bit nervous of what they said behind my back. What's more, there was a problem with Nicky's mic that means his words are accompanied by a low hiss as if he's speaking parseltongue, and the process of editing that out means he sounds like he was literally phoning it in. All things considered, I am slightly terrified to hear the results of this one, but there we are.)

Also this week, I talk to Paul Swinney of the Centre for Cities about the other big freeze (DYSWIDT?) affecting British politics: austerity. Just how much damage has it done to our cities?

The conversation was inspired in large part by this year's addition of the Centre's annual Cities Outlook report. You can find that here.

Skylines is the podcast from the New Statesman’s cities site, CityMetric. It’s hosted by Jonn Elledge and produced by Nick Hilton.

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