The UK's rapid return to city centre living By Paul Swinney & Andrew Carter

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Paul Swinney & Andrew Carter

A generation ago many UK city centres were dreary and dilapidated places, with a reputation for crime. Now, they are among the most desirable areas of the country to live. What's changed?
Take a walk through the centre of cities like Manchester, Liverpool and Birmingham and you will see smart new high-rise apartments, office blocks and the ever-present cranes building still more.
At street level are cafes, bars, restaurants and gyms serving their often young and affluent customers - the people who increasingly define these areas.
Only 30 years ago inner city populations that had grown rapidly in the late 19th and early 20th Centuries had dwindled - the residents leaving cramped, urban housing for more spacious suburbs and new towns.
The reversal that has taken place - especially in the north of England and the Midlands - demonstrates a dramatic urban renaissance and a shift in how people want to live.
Since the start of the 21st Century the population of many town and city centres has doubled in size, while the population of the UK has increased by 10%. (Full list at bottom of story).

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