The Urban Renaissance Revisited: Richard Rogers and the Idea of Planning as a Public Good

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


Richard Rogers’ leadership of the Urban Task Force at the invitation of Deputy Prime Minister John
Prescott in 1998 and its subsequent report Towards an Urban Renaissance was heralded at the time as an
opportunity to champion ‘a holistic approach to urban regeneration’. The UTF’s brief was to tackle three
specific urban challenges: 1. The decline of regional inner-city areas and communities. 2. The need to
provide homes for up to 4 million additional households. 3. Suburban sprawl and associated social and
economic decline within inner-city areas. Supporters of the Rogers’ report point to the implementation of
‘PPG3’ which sought to direct policy away from new build development on greenfield sites towards higher
density development using brownfield or urban sites. Towards an Urban Renaissance led to an Urban
White Paper and an Urban Summit, as well as Michael Parkinson’s influential ‘State of The Cities’ report.
The Urban Task Force also paved the way for the establishment in England of the Commission for
Architecture and the Built Environment (CABE) in 1999, before it was merged with the Design Council in
2010. In this paper I consider the extent to which Rogers’ ambitions in Towards an Urban Renaissance
were realised in practice, what were the obstacles to success in the decades that followed and what are
the prospects for planning as a public good nearly 25 years on.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationArchitecture, the Urban and the Politics of Public Space
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2022
EventArchitecture, the urban, and the politics of public space - University of York, York, United Kingdom
Duration: 26 May 202227 May 2022


ConferenceArchitecture, the urban, and the politics of public space
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
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