Housing, Planning and Urban Renaissance
In Chapter 5 it was shown that sustainable development is a key planning objective throughout the world. In advanced economies, and in Europe and America in particular, less urban sprawl and more compact energy-saving residential development have been viewed as important components of this environmental agenda. In this chapter we review ideas about combining compact development with an improved quality of urban living. These have been objectives of urban renaissance in Britain and new urbanism and smart growth in America. The essence of these concepts will be examined, with an emphasis on the aims and instruments of urban renaissance. In Britain, the government-appointed Urban Task Force, in its report Towards an Urban Renaissance (DETR, 1999a), set out a vision for improved urban living. This vision, in which towns and cities provide a high quality of life and accommodate an increased proportion of new housing development, was endorsed by the White Paper Our Towns and Cities: The Future: Delivering an Urban Renaissance (DETR, 2000a). In this chapter the meaning and implications of urban renaissance are reviewed. Three related issues are then be examined: promoting brownfield residential development, the role of urban capacity studies, and the low demand for housing in some urban areas.
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