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'Make No Little Plans' The Incomplete but Continuing Renaissance of Liverpool

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Liverpool is an endlessly fascinating, challenging city. It has a grip on people's imaginations in a way few other cities do – nationally or internationally. During the past century the city went from the second city of the greatest empire the world had ever seen into a post imperial period of economic decline and political despair. But it has emerged Phoenix-like as one of the most signi ficant examples of urban renaissance in the UK. Its story has many lessons for the external world. This paper examines this continuing if incomplete renaissance of Liverpool. It assesses the economic decline that caused its physical, social, and political fragmentation during the 1970s and the many plans since then seeking to revive and reconnect it. It charts the city's fall in the 1980s, its gradual normalization in the 1990s, its extraordinary success as a European city in the first part of this century and its eff orts to remain ambitious in an age of austerity. It identi fies the key drivers of change, in particular local, national, and European regeneration initiatives and plans. It asks what needs to be done to continue the renaissance in terms of productivity, place, and people. It examines the current risks to the city in the light of the impact of Brexit, COVID, the loss of UNESCO World Heritage Status as well as its recent political crises and the imposition of Government Commissioners. A key message from the Liverpool story for governments and other cities is that renaissance is possible even in the most diffi cult circumstances, and that public resources, commitment, and planning have a large part to play.


Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: December 1, 2022

More about this publication?
  • Built Environment is published quarterly in March, June, September and December. With an emphasis on crossing disciplinary boundaries and providing global perspective, each issue focuses on a single subject of contemporary interest to practitioners, academics and students working in a wide range of disciplines. Issues are guest-edited by established international experts who not only commission contributions, but also oversee the peer-reviewing process in collaboration with the Editors.

    Subject areas include: architecture; conservation; economic development; environmental planning; health; housing; regeneration; social issues; spatial planning; sustainability; urban design; and transport. All issues include reviews of recent publications.

    The journal is abstracted in Geo Abstracts, Sage Urban Studies Abstracts, and Journal of Planning Literature, and is indexed in the Avery Index to Architectural Publications.

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