Readers' reactions

October 6, 2000

Last week in The THES ... Rick Trainor argued that the Millennium Dome offers great opportunities to higher education

Judith Watson Brighton

Rick Trainor correctly identifies a "pivotal role" for higher education in the regeneration of places such as the Thames Gateway. Higher education has something unique to offer local regeneration: staff and students who have - or ought to have - time and space to reflect, and freedom to speak and write critically.

Professor Trainor's defence of the Dome is perhaps not the best example of academic reflection applied to regeneration. I understand that the University of Greenwich made various suggestions about the content of the exhibition that were all ignored in favour of the dumbed-down effort that has so dramatically flopped. If universities want to be recognised as players in the regeneration game, they first need to establish street-cred by honest self-criticism about their relationship with their local communities. Greenwich could start by examining the long-term role of its tower-block "campuses" in the regeneration of the Woolwich area.

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