Headlines: September 24th, 1999

Property developers and planners have been told to visit Birmingham for an
example of how to build in harmony with the people who live in a city.

Culture Secretary Chris Smith told architects at an Urban Design Alliance
conference in London that people do not just want good buildings to live in
themselves, but the right mix of facilities, access and quality public space
around their home.

And he praised Birmingham’s city centre as a successful example of this
approach: ‘Birmingham shows what can be done when co-operation, imagination
and determination come together. An extensive traffic-free core, exciting
public art and beautifully proportioned buildings – old and new – have
created a city centre that comforts, inspires and, most importantly, works.’

He said: ‘And in securing quality, developers must take the public into
their confidence. We want to hear the voice of the community at an early
stage, helping to shape its environment rather than forever fighting a
rearguard action. This is the only way we shall achieve radical improvement
in the built environment.’