Headlines: November 1st, 2002

Ideas pioneered in 24 English towns and cities for tackling urban problems have been brought together in five new reports – Partners in Urban Renaissance – which are the focus of an Urban Summit taking place in Birmingham.The event, which continues today, has been described as the most important urban regeneration conference ever held in this country. It is looking at all aspects of improving modern town and city life including housing, transport, culture, health, open spaces and jobs.

Urban regeneration minister Tony McNulty said, “The Partners in Urban Renaissance project has been a unique opportunity to take the pulse in 24 very different places across England. We have got out there to talk to people and to see for ourselves, to listen, to learn and to share experiences. The challenge now is to take the lessons from these reports and apply them to towns and cities crying out for change.”

The conference has attracted 1,500 delegates from across England representing councils, community groups, charities, developers, house builders, architects, designers and academics.

The project was launched a year ago with the aim of taking a holistic approach to urban renaissance, looking at physical, social, economic and environmental factors rather than focusing on a single issue.

Mr. McNulty paid tribute to the pioneering work of the towns and cities involved. “We could not have done it without their contribution and commitment. The range of success stories they have provided in the Case Studies Report is impressive indeed,” he said.

The minister said he had visited a number of the places to see what had been achieved. “I know I don’t have to go to Barcelona to see what quality and sustainable urban renaissance looks like. There are plenty of great examples in England in places as diverse as Sheffield, Newcastle, Kings Lynn, and Stoke on Trent,” he added, but, he said, a great deal of work still needed to be done. “This project shows there are unresolved issues we need to turn our minds to if we are to bring everywhere up to the standard of the best and to deliver sustainable communities.”