English Partnerships has completed a 'comprehensive survey of all brownfield land in the country suitable for mixed-use housing' as a boost to deputy prime minister John Prescott's latest pronouncements on housing targets (AJ 9.3.00).
The regeneration agency's development director David Shelton told architects, planners and developers at a seminar 'Making Urban Renaissance Happen, ' at the MIPIM conference in Cannes last week, that in London's case this amounts to some 2279ha and a total of 8843ha in the wider South-east region.
'In preparation for the launch of the government's Urban White Paper this autumn, EP has been putting in place some fundamental building blocks', said Shelton.
'We've been working with this initiative to see how to make the urban renaissance happen.'
The survey aims to he lp in form reg iona l deve lopment agencies in their economic strategies and will also aid in the sequential testing of land ushered in last week by John Prescott's calls for building on brownfield rather than the 'politically unacceptable' greenfield sites.
Richard Burdett, director of the Cities Programme at the LSE, added that 'design, design and design' had to be at the heart of such regeneration and that Richard Rogers' Urban Task Force and EP's work heralded a 'sea-change' in the area.Densities need to be greater than the current English urban average of 23 units per hectare, and clusters need to be built around public transport hubs - with a useful model being Portland in Oregon, USA.
The conference also included a presentation from Marianne Neville-Rolfe, chief executive of the New East Manchester urban regeneration company. Her task is to turn around the deprived urban area, and part of that will come, she hopes, via a new EDAW masterplan for the zone around the Arup Associates-designed new stadium for the 2002 Commonwealth Games.
The other urban regeneration companies, Liverpool and Sheffield, are also running masterplanning competitions. The first company to be set up, Liverpool Vision, is working with SOM on a strategic plan to 'radically transform' the heart of the city, and Liverpool is bidding for the title of European City of Culture in 2008 as part of that scheme. Investment in the city centre is expected to top £2 billion over the next eight years.
EPchairman Sir Alan Cockshaw said that before the end of this year government will also announce a further three or four such regeneration companies, but added that London will have to wait until the new GLA is set up.
Theoretically the capital may get several such companies.'English Partnerships' role will be to make sure there's joined-up thinking across departments', he said.