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Whitby sails into stormy seas


I was pleased to have my attention drawn to the evidence Mark Whitby gave to the House of Commons inquiry into walking in towns and congratulate the ICE on getting its name in front of the select committee.

I have been involved in the Designing Streets for People initiative and it is important work.

It was perhaps not made clear in the report (NCE 3 May) that Designing Streets for People is a fundamental rethink on how we manage our towns and cities. We try to encourage other organisations to work with us in delivering a better public realm.

It is already having an effect.

The Department of the Environment Transport and the Regions (DETR) has noted the recommendations and has commissioned the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment (CABE) to investigate the barriers to better quality street environments.

The PlaceCheck/Street Partnerships system recommended in the report looks likely to become a national campaign. The House Builders Federation is now in talks with the ICE, County Surveyors' Society, Technical Advisors Group and DETR over innovations in design and administration. We expect more initiatives to follow.

It is important that civil engineers lead the agenda for change to bring about cities with living streets where the car is balanced with other uses.

Here is an indication that we are on target. Well done, Mark.

Edward Chorlton, president CSS, chairman of the urban design alliance, designing streets for people working party, One Great George Street, London, SW1P 3AA

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