Leading analysts at the London School of Economics and Political Science today gave the publication of the government's Urban Task Force final report Towards an Urban Renaissance a warm reception.
Experts from the LSE welcomed the report as a 'step in the right direction.' Tony Travers, Director of LSE London, said: 'The Urban Task Force's commitment to increasing density is a big step forward. More people living in our cities and towns will mean better public services, more shops, and an all round higher quality of life. Better still, the more people want to live in towns and cities, the less people will despoil the countryside. The British have always been suspicious of cities. They shouldn't be. Cities are generally civilised, productive, and exciting places.'
Other elements of the report attracting praise were the commitment to a design-led urban regeneration process and the designation of special urban policy areas. 'Our experience in regeneration has shown us that a clear, long-term approach linking economic, social, and physical goals is necessary,' said Mark Kleinman, senior lecturer and member of LSE London.
The LSE is closely involved in advising several regeneration projects throughout the country. The School also regularly hosts seminars by likely candidates for the London mayoralty.
'The Task Force has recognised a critical element in how we think about and how we make cities - that issues of design, economics, and social cohesion are inextricably linked,' said Jeff Lehman, of the LSE's Cities Programme. 'Only by recognising these links can we expect to understand what makes some parts of cities work and others not work. We can take lessons in this from other successful European cities, such as Barcelona.'
The LSE's Cities Programme recently hosted a seminar at which two former Mayors and the current Mayor of Barcelona reinforced this need for a joined-up approach.
The Cities Programme teaches a Master's course in City Design and Social Science that attempts to link the often-disparate fields of architecture, engineering, and social science. Students have undertaken studio projects proposing design strategies for areas in London such as Parliament Square, Bermondsey Market, and Drury Lane. Speakers on the course have included senior design professionals, politicians, local government executives, financiers, and others from diverse fields linked by a shared interest in cities.
Note to Editors
For further information please contact Tony Travers on tel: 020 7955 7570 or Mark Kleinman on tel: 020 7955 7383.
29 June 1999