Monday 19 May 2008

Cities are Back?

Just a quick post today regarding the issue of whether British 'cities are back'. Since the report of the Urban Task Force in 1999 and the much-cited 'urban renaissance' cities have been back on the agenda but in a more positive light than in the past. People now seem to want to live in them again, city-centre living has been given a new lease of life and huge amounts of public and private cash have been spent doing them up. However, is all of this a good thing? I would say that overall it is but I just wonder how sustainable it is. What are the implications if it all goes wrong and investors and people flood out of the cities once more? What if people don't really want to live in the shadow of tower blocks forever. What if it is not really a renaissance?

I took this picture in Glasgow in July 2004. Contrast between 1960's tower blocks at Red Road and 2000's new builds. Quite striking I think. An illustration of how urban policy plays out in reality. We'll have to wait and see how the urban renaissance pans out but for now I suppose we ought to wish it all the best and keep track of how things go.