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Rousing the troops

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AJ spoke to Rouse about his achievements and hopes for the organisation's future

'CABE has succeeded all my expectations and continues to grow in a number of areas.

A highlight of my time at CABE was setting up CABE Space and I hope that will go from strength to strength. It's the quality of spaces that are the biggest driver for the quality of the built environment. Getting that right is the key.

Another highlight, which came right at the start, was the launch of the Prime Minister's Better Public Buildings campaign.

Having the prime minister say design is important, and again, more recently, hearing the deputy prime minister speaking passionately about urban design, was an extraordinary moment.

The design review committee is our gold standard and Paul Finch has shown great leadership. The next development will be thematic design reviews - not just looking at specific projects but at building types. First up will be town-centre retail, high-density housing and masterplanning.

A big underdeveloped area is skills development - training professionals to become project managers. I'd hope to see the creation of a generation of 200-400 existing professionals - architects, landscape architects, planners - equipped to lead regeneration projects from a design approach.

I had hoped to have it set up by 2003/04, but the government decided we were not ready. It wanted to take a good look before investing significant resources in it.

There has been a huge shift in the last four years in the level of interest and consciousness of design, not just in government but also in the public. We have been working with the BBC and Channel 4 to get architecture into more mainstream programming. And there's definitely potential for architecture's profile to grow even further.'

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