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Let’s listen to the experts to regenerate our cities more effectively


A new book explores regeneration from theperspective of practitioners. The books's compiler Waheed Nazir explians why it's important to learn from the people at the heart of major schemes

By 2050, 89 per cent of the UK’s population will be living in an urban area (World Health Organisation). At the same time the UK will see its population grow by 10 million people (ONS), taking it to over 75 million.

In planning for this growth, we will need to respond strategically to the issue of climate change, address the deep-rooted socio-economic disparities felt across many communities and enhance our ageing infrastructure.

The next 30 years will bring significant change and represent a huge challenge to those of us working in the built environment profession. We will need to focus our minds to ensure that cities are sustainable places to live and work as well as great places to visit.

This may be daunting but I am optimistic about the future. Having worked in planning and regeneration for over 20 years I have seen first-hand our ability to create great places across the UK.

"Having worked in planning and regeneration for over 20 years I have seen first-hand our ability to create great places across the UK"

Where success has been achieved it has, in my mind, been the result of clear vision, strong leadership, and the formation of lasting partnerships. It has needed collaboration between the public and private sectors, a commitment to investing in physical and social infrastructure, and access to financial capital.

There are many great projects that have demonstrated these key facets; be it the 2012 Olympic Games, the regeneration of Kings Cross, or the rejuvenation of Birmingham and Manchester.  

However the ability of those working in the profession or studying a built environment course to get access to a practitioners perspectives is limited. This is why I wanted to produce a book that captures the knowledge of those at the forefront of delivering transformational development.

The book, Regenerating Cities, aims to share the knowledge of ten leading figures from the industry with young people and today’s professionals.  

It sets out to demonstrate, through case studies and personal stories, the key roles that both the public and private sectors play in the regeneration agenda; the value of collaboration and partnership working; and how utilising private capital and managing delivery risk can drive forward sustained regeneration.

The process of co-authoring and editing this book has being challenging but immensely rewarding. It has  reinforced my belief that we have many great examples to learn from in the UK, led by some truly inspiring leaders in the field of planning and regeneration.

Regenerating Cities has been published by Outstanding and is available on Amazon and at www.outstandingbooks.co.uk.

Waheed Nazir is director of planning and regeneration at Birmingham City Council

Image credit | iStock


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