24 November 2011

Is Britain becoming Los Angeles?

Recently the architect Richard Rogers attacked the British government’s planning reforms and warned that Britain could 'very easily' become to resemble the ghettoes of Los Angeles with 'rust belts and towns joining each other'. Cities such as Birmingham and Milton Keynes, Bristol and Bath would also begin to merge under the current prospect of the policies and foster an enormous sprawl. Rogers argues that 'cities are the engines of the economy, the heart of our culture and places of innovation. If the framework is not greatly improved it will lead to the breakdown and fragmentation of cities and neighbourhoods as well as the erosion of the countryside.' Until now the fears over the plans had been limited to the countryside. Rogers is the first person to voice concern about the effect upon major cities, as the Mail online article tells. Instead of uncontrolled planning, Rogers pleads for the re-development of derelict areas and buildings in the inner cities.  I would doubt that Lord Rogers also had in mind the benefit cuts that result in an exodus of inner-city working class people to the city’s fringes, as discussed in my recent post. Maybe I do him injustice, but I would have reasons to believe that he is not (always) thinking of re-developments that benefit the socially and economically disadvantaged.