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Regeneration means demolition, MPs told

REGERATION OF run down UK cities will call for demolition and major reconstruction, leading engineers told MPs at the ICE this week.

Politicians, planners and developers must face up to the fact that urban regeneration calls for major remodelling of the existing fabric, said managing director of consultant Parkman's infrastructure division Graham Kilner.

'We have to look at flattening, ' he told the dozen MPs representing north west constituencies at a lunchtime networking session with the North West local association.

Kilner endorsed the views of ICE president and chairman of regeneration initiative Liverpool Vision Joe Dwyer, who drove home the need for more than just renewal. 'Renewing implies a continuation, a return to a previous state. It will not do, ' Dwyer stated.

'Our towns and cities are not ancient, and did not evolve over long periods of time. They are the specific products of a particular, recent industrial past, ' Dwyer explained.

'While this past still has a strong resonance in our culture, it does not provide us with an adequate platform on which to build a new future.

'Urban renaissance carries a much stronger message, ' Dwyer continued. 'It means rebirth rather than replacement.'

Dwyer and Kilner focused on Liverpool and Manchester to demonstrate the need for, and the results of, renaissance.

'Confident societies generally express that confidence in their infrastructure. We lost confidence after the War, and it shows, ' Kilner said. Rebuilding this confidence is where civil engineers can really show their worth, he claimed.

'The particular role of the engineer is to understand the needs of society and find ways of meeting them, ' Kilner said. 'The results may often be mundane, but they have another important function, one which we sometimes lose sight of, ' he said.

'Our works pass very clear and powerful messages that things are changing.'

Dwyer told the MPs the that responsibility for change was a shared one. 'The city is at the heart of both our professions, ' he said. 'Therefore it is right that we should meet, talk and work together to fulfil our obligations and responsibilities to it'.

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