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Renewal and Regionality: Cruickshank and Seward in Manchester

Brook, Richard (2018) Renewal and Regionality: Cruickshank and Seward in Manchester. In: The Transformation of Urban Britain Since 1945, 09 July 2013 - 10 July 2103, University of Leicester, Centre for Urban History. (Unpublished)

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Abstract

This proposal seeks to begin an examination of the role of Comprehensive Development Area (CDA) allocation in the shaping of renewal cities. The term renewal here is used to mean cities that began the most significant part of their post-war development after 1959 (Manchester, Liverpool, Newcastle, Sheffield, Glasgow etc.) These cities not only share characteristics in terms of the tempo of their post-war development, but can also be seen to be city regions in their own right. In this sense are their particular regional nuances in policy, in planning, in economics and in architecture that are distinct but also have commonality? Manchester will be used as a case study with which to start to unfold the relationships between the afforded statutory powers, the formal processes of allocation, the informal processes of developer led lobbying and the role of architects in this situation. There are several key questions attached to this enquiry [1] What were the conditions that meant rebuilding did not really commence until almost 15 years after the end of WWII? [2] Why, if powers to allocate CDAs were awarded under the 1947 Town and Country Planning Act, were these powers not employed sooner by local authorities? [3] What were the influencing factors in terms of selecting areas to be designated as CDAs? [4] What was the role of the architect in the processes of allocation, of lobbying and of development? [5] What was the relationship between CDA allocation and other planning led decisions of the period? Of the six designated CDAs in Manchester, the architectural practice of Cruickshank and Seward were appointed to develop two of them and had significant influence in a third. Of the two in which they were the only appointed architects, one was built and another failed to be realised. An examination of the political and economic structures around these two particular instances may reveal some answers to the questions posed above – often unbuilt projects have as much to say about a period in question as those which were completed. Cruickshank and Seward themselves may be described as regionally dominant during the period from 1960-74 and as such perhaps provided a useful conduit to the predominantly London based development companies. Thus the role of the regional architect in socio-cultural, economic and political setting, termed here as regionality, will also be explored.

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