Urban Task Force
The Urban Task Force (UTF) was established to identify the causes of urban decline – particularly in regional inner city areas and communities – and establish a vision for cities in England, founded on the principles of design excellence, social well-being and environmental responsibility within appropriate delivery, fiscal and legal frameworks. It was tasked to recommend practical solutions to bring people back into cities towns and urban neighbourhoods, particularly in terms of how to meet a requirement for millions of new households and how to address the growing challenge of suburban sprawl consuming greenfield sites at an alarming rate.
The UTF’s proposed changes covered design, transport, management, regeneration, skills, planning and investment. They stated that towns and cities should be well designed, be more compact, better connected and support a range of diverse uses within a sustainable urban environment that is well integrated with public transport and adaptable to change. The process of change should combine strengthened democratic local leadership with an increased commitment to public participation. There must be an increase in investment in urban areas, using public finance to attract the market. All government initiatives which affect towns and cities should demonstrate a shared commitment to an urban renaissance. The report also indicated that this ‘renaissance’ required a change of culture – through education, debate, information and participation. It is about skills, beliefs and values, not just policies. The necessity for urban growth provides an opportunity to reconfigure English cities and communities and the Urban Task Force’s report was conceived as a comprehensive package championing an holistic approach to urban regeneration and informing future Government policy in urban development.
UK cities have clearly undergone a significant transformation in recent decades. Attractive, well-lit public spaces have emerged in many city centres, often served by trams and light rail systems and animated by restaurants and cafes, encouraging people to meet and exchange ideas. Dedicated cycle networks can now be found in many towns, simultaneously creating safer environments for residents and encouraging them to be less reliant on cars. A strong focus on the redevelopment of brownfield sites has – in many cases – resulted in the radical regeneration of urban areas – particularly inner cities – as well as the revitalisation of previously run-down city quarters as mixed-use schemes. More people are moving back into the centre of cities and there is a growing awareness about the role of good design in creating socially inclusive environments. Nonetheless, much of what has been achieved thus far has been piecemeal and city planners need to develop a more concerted, joined-up approach to encourage change – not only in the physical fabric of our cities but in the minds of those who inhabit them.
|Dates||1999 - 2005|
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