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Leeds must look to America for urban inspiration, says Koetter

Leeds should learn from the urban design of American cities, according to Fred Koetter, one of the brains behind a radical vision for the city.

The Boston-based architect of Koetter Kim & Associates wants to create tree-lined boulevards, build a new skyscraper district and reinvigorate the city's waterfront.

This urban vision has been developed together with Leeds civic architect John Thorp within the Yorkshire Forward renaissance programme. The aim is to make Leeds an internationally and nationally competitive city.

'The new dimension is to consider development right across the city region, not just the centre, ' Thorp said. 'We wanted to imagine how to apply the principles established for the centre to a village and vice versa, to bring those aspirations for the wider landscape into the heart of the city.' However, the idea has received a mixed reception. Leeds-based Irena Bauman, of Bauman Lyons Architects, said: 'I have been impressed with how quickly Koetter Kim has understood the city. However, what's next? We have a masterplan but I'm not convinced we have the mechanisms in place to deliver it, and Yorkshire Forward hasn't involved local architects in this - the people who are going to have to work up the vision.'

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