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Regeneration needs a truly holistic approach

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In his editorial (AJ 1/8.8.02), David Taylor writes about the contribution high-profile buildings make to the regeneration of cities. Valued as they may be, they will not bring about urban regeneration unless they form part of a much wider social and economic programme.

Regeneration will occur when a city can attract and retain successful people and businesses to strengthen its economy and redress poverty.

This requires an holistic approach to regeneration in which the police, teachers, health workers, private businesses and public services all work together to reduce crime and disadvantage, and educate young people to participate in civic life.

While a fine physical environment is also critical to a city's success, this depends more on the creation - and maintenance - of attractive housing, local parks and civic spaces, clean and efficient transport and excellence in urban design. Landmark projects can be good for image and esteem, but regeneration depends on a very broad coalition of inputs and, above all, on the active participation of the citizens themselves.

Les Sparks, Birmingham

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