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A biblical response can save the inner city

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The Jekyll and Hyde nature of the city (Martin Pawley, AJ, 20.6.02) is nothing new, and can be traced throughout history. Even the Bible can be viewed as 'A Tale of Two Cities' from when Cain, the murderer, is accredited with building the first city, through the Old Testament conflict between Jerusalem and Babylon, and ending with heaven described as the New Jerusalem built by God.

'Fundamental changes in human behaviour' are indeed necessary for the positive aspects of cities to overcome the negative, and this theme of changed behaviour is what the Bible is all about.

A biblically based concern for the poor, as the prophets had, and is outlined in 'Proverbs', is necessary if British inner urban areas, and outer estates, are not to be deserted or taken over by fascism - and if Third World cities are not to be breeding grounds for terrorists.

The poor and marginalised, whether in British or Third World cities, have a right to their share of British and global wealth. Politicians, economists, planners and architects, indeed all responsible citizens, should seek to enable and empower them to meet their own aspirations. Pockets of affordable housing alone are not enough.

Leslie Barker, Wembley

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