In the last two decades Hulme, an area of Manchester, has often been at the centre of controversy. Once a byword for inner-city despair it is now a metaphor for urban regeneration. Its unloved deck-access flats have been replaced by more than 1100 new housing-association homes - designed to a large extent by the tenants themselves - along with new shops, health and community facilities.
Now the North British Housing Association and The Guinness Trust have published Trick or Treat? which documents the changes and shows how City Challenge, the latest stage in the history of Hulme, could achieve a sustainable solution to some of the most complex social, economic and physical problems to be found in inner-city Britain. It is written by Rob Ramwell and Hilary Saltburn who were closely involved with Hulme City Challenge and have worked for several years in social housing and urban regeneration.
Their book draws on the views of the many people involved, from local residents to government ministers, and demonstrates how complex issues such as partnership building and engaging the community had to be combined with a rigorous timescale and an innovative and demanding design framework to rebuild an entire urban neighbourhood.
The real achievement, write the authors, is not that Hulme is special, but that it has become 'normal'. While not disguising the fact that there were problems along the way, the book celebrates the efforts that were made to reach this normality.
Trick or Treat costs £12.50 plus £3.00 p&p from North British Housing Association, Customer Services Desk, 7th Floor, Paragon House, 48 Seymour Grove, Manchester M16 0LN, tel 0161 886 4500. A price reduction is available for Hulme residents.