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BBC: "Why does regeneration create so many ugly buildings?"

Link to BBC web site

"Why has urban regeneration created so many ugly, bland buildings in the last 20 years, asks architectural critic Owen Hatherley. 

"A gigantic shopping mall complex, clad in wipe-clean surfaces, which suddenly subsumed around half of the city centre, swallowing everything else in its path, from office blocks to Georgian streets to factories. 

"It had a strange, cancerous effect on the area around - retail parks, vast empty car parks with long buildings behind them. You couldn't walk here, you could only drive."

"Under New Labour the future seemed to revive, at least briefly. ... What made it different was the gap between quality and quantity. Go to many of the new schemes, and you recognise that the order of modernism has been reversed.

"For better or worse, the buildings of the 1960s were designed from the inside out. Even the most reviled of blocks contain spacious apartments. Even the most alarming crumbling concrete hulks have residents who will say: 'But they're lovely inside.'

"The new blocks are designed from the outside in, irregular windows and brightly-coloured cladding hide the tiny, mean proportions and a total lack of planning for human use. Now the cladding materials are falling off, and the debts on the buy-to-lets are being called in. Was this another failed attempt at building cities of the future? Of building cities at all?"

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