Terry Farrell is to launch plans for an urban design council that he hopes will win government funding to promote good architecture and make cities financial and cultural powerhouses.
Farrell, who will unveil his plans during Urban Design Week next month, vowed it would 'promote and inspire rather than manage and administer'.
He told the aj: 'There are so many overlapping interest areas and lobby groups that we need a national focus. Cities are too important to be left in a totally free situation.'
Farrell, who chairs the Urban Design Alliance, said: 'The government is funding work into brownfield development. This is important but it is one item on the agenda. I'm interested in the wider agenda of urban design.
'The government gives £400,000 funding to the Design Council on the grounds that good design is worth so much in exports. But cities are great wealth generators and can put themselves prominently on the world stage.'
He will talk about his plans at udal's first annual conference on 15 October at the riba. The alliance, which also includes engineering, surveying, landscape and planning professional groups, the Urban Design Group and the Civic Trust, aims to improve urban living.
The conference will be headed by some of the biggest names in architecture including Richard MacCormac, Charles Jencks and Deyan Sudjic. The lse's Ricky Burdett will explore what went wrong in the post-war era, and AJ editor Paul Finch will chair a debate on urban renaissance.
The conference forms the heart of a week-long programme of events between 10 and 17 October. These range from guided walks in London, to an urban workshop in Leeds and visits to Greenwich Peninsula.
Conference details can be obtained from Samantha McDonough, riba, tel: 0171 307 3677.
Urban Week details can be obtained from the Resource for Urban Design Information: http://rudi.herts.ac.uk/