So Sheffield is to have a new development plan to set out how the city should grow to 2034.
But will planners pause to reflect that two decades of multi-million pound “investments” has had little discernible effect on economic growth whatsoever?
Can anyone say that the mid-90s investment of almost £1 billion in roads, trams and the lower Don Valley was the most effective way to improve the city’s job situation?
I am not disputing that Government cuts have hit Sheffield hard, but why do we not consider how other cities have successfully attracted investment?
Firstly, they don’t design out-of-town shopping centres that dwarf the city centre retail quarter.
They don’t subscribe to 1960s dogma that maximising traffic flow and minimising parking charges encourage growth – they recognise that healthy, active and lively cities are not made by building more roads, or subsidising cheap parking.
These cities do everything they can to support a high density of economic activity in central areas. This means making it pleasant for lots of people to get around within a small area, (walking and cycling), and they invest to make city centres lively, colourful, engaging places that attract young, skilled and talented people, rather than spending millions subsidising the building of soulless out-of-town hypermarkets, motorways and warehouses.
By making cities more liveable, these cities, like Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Groningen, Cologne, Bristol and Edinburgh, have accelerated jobs and growth. But will Sheffield’s planners prefer to stick with outdated dogma?
Minto Road, Hillsborough, Sheffield, S6