Letter: Poor playground for developers

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Sir: Adam LeBor and Angela Lambert (Architecture, 6 January) paint an unfair picture of the activities taking place in Budapest. It is not true to say that 'as Budapest becomes a developer's playground the culture of the city is being eroded'.

We and a number of other consultants actively involved in Budapest and other cities in central and eastern Europe are acutely aware both of the horrors of 'system building' under Communism and the pre-Soviet legacy of wonderful architecture which has not been properly maintained for 40 years or more. Those of us who have been involved with the historic centres of cities such as London and Paris are well aware of the need to create development projects that result in urban fabric renewal rather than unsympathetic new constructions.

Perhaps the most misleading impression is that Budapest is experiencing a development boom. In most parts of central and eastern Europe property values and development risks do not justify large-scale developments. The real challenge is to start refurbishing many wonderful urban structures with very limited financial resources and a very thin level of demand from occupiers. Unfortunately, over the next decade, many fine buildings will continue to decay because the economy will not support investment renovations.

Yours sincerely,


London, W1

6 January