The BURA ‘Futures’ Debate

Tall buildings (small).jpg The 2006 British Urban Regeneration Conference (BURA) conference ‘Futures’ Debate raised many important issues. Critical to all these, if regeneration is ultimately to be effective, will be increasing focus on (1) the implications of global warming and sustainability, and (2) the challenging task of mutual ‘translation’ between the many stakeholders in any developing programme, to ensure that understandings and ideas are shared and can evolve.
I went to the ‘Futures’ Debate at the British Urban Regeneration Association (BURA) Annual Conference in Milton Keynes, on October 11th. The debate was a vigorous affair, chaired and led by BURA Director Jackie Sadek, a woman who knows how to keep the exchange of ideas flowing.
The format comprised an introductory address by Government Minister Richard Caborn, two minute slots each for six leading regeneration practitioners, and responses from a ‘jury’ of expert witnesses. Then the discussion was opened to the floor – more than a hundred practitioners and attendant media representatives from around the country and beyond.
The central issue under debate was how we all perceived the future agenda of regeneration in the U.K.
The event was, as Jackie Sadek herself said, a ‘rollercoaster’ of deeply informed give-and-take, covering matters from the micro and to the massively macro. No single brief report could do it justice, but I will try here to give a feel for the ideas which in retrospect caught my attention, at least.
Keeping the Government’s attention

Leadership and ‘guidance’ from on high were felt by several speakers to be missing from the regeneration agenda. There’s plenty of regulation – to judge from comments, some of it outdated – but too little real enablement. Some said that governmental attention spans are too short; regeneration is a long-term proposition. Others criticised the ‘constant’ changes which they saw in regulation and funding, and wished for more attention to large-scale infrastructure.
No-one, however, suggested that the government is not committed to regeneration as a seriously long-term venture; and most speakers thought it can be demonstrated by ‘real’ examples that regeneration does work. There’s scope here for dialogue at the highest levels, if common positions between protagonist practitioners can be elucidated.
Silos and scale
Regeneration still is not joined up, if we are to believe the comments of many speakers. We continue to operate in silos (including fiscally; no

Posted on November 5, 2006, in British Urban Regeneration Association (BURA), Equality, Diversity And Inclusion, Regeneration, Renewal And Resilience. Bookmark the permalink. Comments Off on The BURA ‘Futures’ Debate.

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