Tuesday, 15 April 2008

Towards New Urban Futures

Amid all the controversy over the Beijing Olympics this summer, over China's Human Rights record, its actions in Tibet and the terrible air pollution in the host city, it is good to see London 2012 getting some recognition for responsible development.

The city that once had the dubious distinction of having the world's worst air pollution has been steadily cleaning up its act over the last few decades is now using the Olympics to regenerate what is probably its most depressed and most polluted area. The Lower Lea Valley, a vast area of dumpsite canals, graffiti and rubbish strewn, post industrial scrubland, is being transformed in to integrated urban units of low rise family housing, mixed employment and parkland with local renewable power generation and a variety of transport links; there will be new schools, retail outlets, both large and small.

All in all this is a holistic approach to urban regeneration, where people and environment are the twin chambers of the heart of these new communities. Regeneration projects like this can be Britain's new towns for the new millennium.

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