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City champ

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Lord Rogers issued a clarion call for the future of city living in Sunday's Observer , demanding, among other things, the secondment of 2,000 professionals to learn about best practice urban regeneration abroad, and the creation of a network of regional resource centres. All good stuff, but like any government champion, he cannot resist trying to put the knife into the Conservatives, who get all the blame for urban degeneration. Their 'scorched earth urban policy has left a terrible legacy', he claims, in which cities are 'fragmented, poorly designed and socially divisive'. To be fair, Lord R does refer to 'misguided post-war social engineering that wreaked havoc'; what he does not say is that it was Labour, and Labour local authorities, who undertook much of what he now sees as a terrible mistake. Actually you can make a good case for arguing that it was the Conservatives who got a grip on this mess by instituting urban development corporations, tax incentives, and encouraging private practices to do design work for local authorities.

Blaming everything on the Tories is bad history. But all power to the Rogers elbow on the thrust of the argument: we cannot go on treating cities as pariahs. They are where we all, more or less, live.

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