In the past quarter century, the physical and social regeneration of British cities has

ascended the political agenda to a status it has not held since the long aftermath of the

Second World War. Issues of deindustrialization, unemployment, depopulation and

the decay of physical infrastructure have become the grounds on which successive

policies and programmes have been developed. The aim has been to reverse this

decline and the sprawl which results and revive the status of cities as desirable places

for homes, workplaces and entertainment. The role of urban design in this process has

shifted also, from having a negative reputation (a product of unsuccessful com-

prehensive redevelopment projects) to being seen as the discipline through which

social aspirations can be realized physically. Yet few examples of urban regeneration

display any consistent quality in urban design. Most consist of discontinuous frag-

ments of rival commercial developments cheek by jowl with the decayed remnants

of previous visions for the city. In a broader perspective, the radical changes to cities

introduced in the twentieth century are phenomena which still affect the urban

psyche throughout the world. However, it is possible to assert that these changes

are themselves only stages in a process which began with the industrialization of

the city in the late eighteenth century. It will be tantalizing to observe in the new

century what urban manifestations recent ideological transformations will have.