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City myths

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AJ publisher Paul Finch listed a series of myths about the task of regenerating cities, peddled by those in love with sprawl, greenfield development and car use (the latter to be restricted to the rich via road pricing as well as penal petrol duties). A selection of the myths includes. 1) Central city populations are falling - not in London they're not. 2) Decontaminating land is too expensive to contemplate. Untrue.

It is already happening. 3) The only people who want to live in city centres are loft luvvies. Tell that to the queues waiting to get into the Barbican. 4) Inner city equals deprivation. That is why you only pay £1.2m per ha for sites in Stoke Newington. 5) The alternative to the dispersed city is the medieval warren. Pull the other one. 6) Density equals overcrowding. This obviously explains falling house prices in Eaton Square. Space forbids further examples but readers are invited to add their own by writing to Astragal. Of course, there are myths about city regeneration too, and a mutually inclusive approach is surely what is required - and was ably demonstrated by Kees Christiansee in his excellent talk, simultaneously urban and urbane.

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