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Milton Keynes (Critics Choice 16.08.07)

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Milton Keynes’ differences are its strength

Perhaps it’s an infection of some kind, but casual visitors to Milton Keynes seem compelled to write about the place with a negative twist. Andrew Mead (Critic’s Choice, AJ 16.08.07) says: ‘what still seems to be missing in Milton Keynes’ centre is any animated public space; the shopping mall and boulevards dominate.’ They are the major animated public spaces. The ‘mall’, as Mead calls it, is a grid of covered streets with two major squares (one open to the sky) and is treated by English Heritage as Grade II* and one of the great public buildings (alas now privatised) of the second Elizabethan age.

The boulevards are wide, generous and beautiful, and full of people coming and going in cars, buses and by slow modes. The boulevards too need listing; they are being systematically damaged, but that is another story. Milton Keynes is unlike anywhere else in the UK, and this is its strength. Who wants to be like everywhere else?
David Lock, managing director, David Lock Associates

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