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Intermittent . . .

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Arts minister Alan Howarth has described the RIBA's political contacts and relationships as 'intermittent', but that did not stop him opening the institute's latest show, 'Making Cities Work', last week. The exhibition features the work of Andrew Wright, Ove Arup & Partners and landscaper Grant Associates on a major urban remediation scheme in Bilston in the Black Country. Backed with DETR money, the project is about to go live for commercial/ residential development. At the symposium preceding the opening, it emerged that large numbers of government-funded remediation schemes to date have wasted money on a prodigious scale - because no masterplan has been undertaken to determine final use (and topography). This means doing remediation and then digging up the site all over again when development has been approved.

Proper planning would not only produce better results, but save tens of millions of pounds.

Incidentally, where was the president when the minister arrived at No 66? I hear he was taking a nap in the presidential suite, prior to the RIBA Council supper at the Royal Academy. As noted here last week, the postprandial debate invited those present to 'deplore sustainability'.

Happily there was no vote . . .

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