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Press

Urban Summit

31 October 2002

Pathfinders invited to become beacons of sustainable regeneration

The Sustainable Development Commission is offering a unique opportunity for the nine
Pathfinder areas of severe housing deprivation to become UK leaders in sustainable
regeneration.

The Government has chosen nine Pathfinder areas to tackle severe low demand and abandoned housing. Following discussions with ODPM, the Commission is proposing to work in partnership with them and to develop a project that demonstrates an integrated approach to regeneration, addressing equally the social, economic and environmental needs of communities.

Speaking at the Urban Summit in Birmingham, the Commission's Chairman Jonathon Porritt said:

'We applaud what the Pathfinder areas will be seeking to achieve: to turn around their
areas, against all the odds, by reversing the trends that cause people to abandon their communities. But we are offering to help them to go further and to take a fully integrated approach to the regeneration of their areas: the economy, the environment and social issues.


'This is not easy. But we are offering to work closely with them to blaze a trail in that
wider enterprise."


Also at the Urban Summit, the Commission publishes its 'Vision for Sustainable Regeneration'. This calls for a new approach that considers not only social and economic inequalities within society, but also environmental inequalities and the link between quality of the local environment and poverty.

The Commission believes that this link between the environmental and the social and economic goals of regeneration has been overlooked. It provides the final piece of the jigsaw in creating successful and truly sustainable forms of regeneration. Only through
applying this approach can lasting improvements to the quality of life of communities be achieved which address the complex causes, and not just the symptoms, of deprivation.

To make this vision a reality, the Commission is offering to support the nine Pathfinders
through the guidance of a panel of experienced advisors, and dedicated support from a
member of the Commission. This partnership will also develop a practical demonstration
project expanding on existing project targets to incorporate other sustainable aims,
including:

- Tackling issues of local environmental justice;
- Radically reducing the area's carbon emissions and becoming a leader in tackling the
impact of climate change;
- Considering the environmental and social benefits of renovation over demolition, of
reusing land and infrastructure, and of using recycled and local materials;
- Incorporating public transport networks, cycling routes and green spaces/ corridors;
- Considering the potential for sustainable and healthier food sourcing.

Note to Editors

The Sustainable Development Commission (SDC) is the Government's independent sustainable development advisor, reporting to Tony Blair and the devolved administration leaders. SDC's remit is to advocate sustainable development across all sectors in the UK, review progress towards it, and build consensus on the actions needed for further progress. SDC is currently working in the areas of regeneration, climate change, energy policy, health
and food and farming.

Sustainable development provides a framework for redirecting our economies to enable everyone to meet their basic needs and improve their quality of life, while ensuring that the natural resources upon which they depend are maintained and enhanced, both for their benefit and for that of future generations.

The Commission's regeneration work programme aims to demonstrate that adoption of a sustainable development perspective can encourage a more holistic approach to regeneration. A discussion paper 'Vision for sustainable regeneration: environment and poverty - the missing link' which will be published at the Urban Summit, includes a set of principles for sustainable regeneration. We have sent our vision document to key regeneration practitioners who have broadly endorsed it. We are now undertaking research to identify the barriers to achieving sustainable regeneration as well as identify good practice where these have been overcome. Based on this work we aim to put forward a series of recommendations to government and regeneration practitioners.

The Commission's themed session at the Urban Summit aims to raise understanding of what sustainable regeneration means in practice, and what added value it can bring - with illustrations of how it can be achieved on the ground.

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