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Cultural cleansing of our cities

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I was worried to read about the plans to regenerate Piccadilly Gardens in Manchester (aj 13.5.99).

I wonder what relevance this grand sweeping architectural gesture has to this particular city at this particular time. Have any of the people involved really considered what Manchester - a rainy city in the north west of England, rich in cultural and social diversity - really wants?

Have any of them asked the question: Where are all the tramps going to go?

Undoubtedly this is a slick looking scheme that glows and impresses on paper but are we not in danger of conducting a quiet, polite, English form of 'ethnic cleansing' with such gentrifying, non-contextual, 'regenerative' schemes? Have we completely lost the notion that a city belongs to its inhabitants and inhabitants belong to their city?

Joanna Day


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