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Things are different outside the capital

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letters

I am pleased to see Astragal springing to the defence of the Royal Fine Art Commission in commenting on the dcms Comprehensive Spending Review (aj 30.7.98). The rfac does a wonderful job in exposing and, as Astragal puts it, 'opposing rubbish'.

I take issue on one point in your editorial, however. You identify in the document a 'desperate need to be regional as though somehow things were different outside the capital'. I have to tell you that they are!

However the design review role is to be pursued in the future, I hope it will advocate architecture that responds to local context. I imagine the rfac agrees that regional distinctiveness is something to cherish and encourage.

This requires proper analysis and understanding of a locality and the establishment of urban-design frameworks which respect local morphology. These can provide a context for new buildings which reinforce the uniqueness of a place.

Here in Birmingham we enjoy many of the characteristics that make our city different from London. I hope new development will strengthen those characteristics and sustain our regional identity.

LES SPARKS

Birmingham

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