Letters: Urban revival key

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The Independent Culture
Urban revival key

Sir: If Britain's cities are to be made better places to live, people's health must be central to efforts at improving them. Too often urban regeneration work has ignored health issues, concentrating more on the built environment than the things that matter most to people, like good health and strong communities.

Last week's Urban Task Force report is a welcome blueprint for turning around neglected areas of our cities (report, 30 June). Yet the absence of measures directly aimed at improving the health of people living in polluted, stressful, deprived environments creates a big gap.

If the Government is serious about having "joined-up" policies, it will need to make connections between health and the urban revival now. We need action to make fresh, healthy food available in every part of the country; we need to involve the new primary care groups in plans to revive run-down areas; and we need to ensure everyone living in the cities has access to high-quality health services that are sensitive to their needs.

The charities King's Fund and Sustain have launched a report showing that more food could be grown in urban areas. Growing food in cities need not be an Arcadian fantasy but a practical way of improving the health, environment and economy of urban Britain. With proper support from government, it could make a real difference to people's lives.


Grants Director, King's Fund


Projects Director, Sustain

London W1