Is regeneration a myth?

Is regeneration a myth?

I was at some event, and one of the people attending, someone who actually lived in one of these areas that was being regenerated, said that the best thing to do would simply be to knock down the whole place. These places are often deeply unloved, even by those that live there.

The money spent on regenerating some places, you could probably have gold plated them over the years. And yet they persist as deprived areas for generations, they were deprived when I was young, half a lifetime later, I come back and it is still the same places that are run-down despite the best efforts to regenerate and shed loads of money.

We are told that regeneration has worked, for example a run down but thriving community is regenerated with dockside houses for the middle classes, and some posh restaurants. Have you really regenerated anything, or is it just a landgrab by the middle classes, shoving aside those without money, to get new houses with nice views.

Or the gorbals gets art, big arty developments. But the south side of the Clyde still feels like a post-blitz city.

Is it handy in policy terms to lump together lots of deprived people into a deprived area, and then anything you do there, is well targeted at the most deprived. But is that good for anyone, you are not deprived because you live in a bad area, nor are you well off because you don't.

Are areas deprived, because it offends our refined middle class sensibilities.

People apparently loved the gorbals, but they knocked down the tenements to build high rises, and all sense of community was lost.

Central heating does not equal civilisation, you are not deprived living in Brideshead simply because the heating is something out of Evelyn Waugh. Similarly Cold Comfort Farm, is it deprived.

Is it just that some places are more flagrant in their deprivation, or do some communities just work better, being better designed and laid out, more livable and human. Do we all want to live round a village square, sitting on the deck chair watching the village cricket team.

Why do architects design housing that they would not live in themselves, for example council housing that is so grim that you would struggle to sell it on the open market. Tower blocks that are no more than a box to exist in.

Should our houses be boxes to thrive in, our communities big boxes to thrive in. Are we predictable little sprouting seeds that just need the barest of moist cloth to exist on, or something wilder and stranger that does not really know what it wants.