Some years ago I attended a number of presentations on the pending urban regeneration of various northern city centres, i.e. places north of the Watford Gap service station. The phrase 'urban renaissance' was used repeatedly by different speakers.
Since then I have witnessed a number of award winning schemes be constructed. These have proven to be very successful for the investors, developers and retailers (and shoppers).
In a number of cases, however, very little seems to have replaced the retail outlets that relocated to these new retail centres. Therefore, easing the planning laws (as the the Centre for Cities thinktank proposes) could be one means by which these vacant retail units/streets could become part of a much wider and sustained 'urban renaissance'.
Cities in the north and the Midlands have been transformed by a period of rapid regeneration that has seen population and jobs growth far exceed that of London since the turn of the century, according to a new report. The Centre for Cities thinktank said urban renaissance in Manchester, Leeds, Birmingham and Liverpool had been so marked that problems of urban decay had been replaced by a need to find room for further expansion.