This book, published in 1980, is an iconoclastic account of one of the pillars of the welfare state, British town and country planning, between 1945 and 1975. Always a fine balance between central control and market forces, it was challenged by strains within and between the environmental professions and protest by people dispossessed or alienated by re-shaped urban environments. Remaking Cities critiques the export of western-style planning to the developing world and reviews initiatives rooted in different understandings of ‘growth’ appearing in those years.
Nearly forty years on, many of the same issues beset us, notably the depressingly familiar inner city problem, despite countless reports, funds and ‘programmes’. But now our infrastructure and services, once publicly owned, are privatised and fragmented, and local government progressively relegated. The very core of planning, development control, is being pared in a struggle to regain the ‘growth’ which led to our current crisis. This gives fresh importance to the need for new modes of creating liveable, sustainable environments, emphasised in this important work.