Lord Rogers' reported proposal that the RIBA should take on the leadership role in enforcing the Urban White Paper (AJ 08.02.01) is welcome in demonstrating his faith in the institute and its status. However, the Urban Design Alliance (UDAL) is much better placed to do this.
The UDAL represents the seven main organisations involved in urban design - the RIBA, the Royal Town Planning Institute, the Landscape Institute, the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors, the Institute of Civil Engineers, the Urban Design Group and the Civic Trust. It has the ear and support of government; and this year it has a lively, action-orientated chairman in Mark Whitby, the president-elect of the ICE.
The RIBA's work would do much more for urban design and the White Paper if carried out in conjunction with the other institutes and professions.
Last November, Lord Rogers called for the creation of an urban lobby group. This already exists in the UDAL and has done since several of us combined to set it up in 1997. Lord Rogers' support would be greatly valued.
Your report was tied in to a proposal for practice fee subscription. This was widely debated in the 1980s, was shown to be unpopular and unworkable, and turned down at a RIBA special general meeting. I do not believe that it would be any different today.
David Rock, Camp 5, Norfolk