There is a rising concern about how town centres seem to have lost many of their traditional functions - as meeting places, as centres of social, political and cultural life, and as the very focus of the urban "public realm". They seem to have become shopping and commercial centres by day and near-deserted ghost towns by night. Civic culture is in crisis with rising street crime, fear of going out at night, unreliable public transport, inappropriate town planning, the growth of domestic leisure and social and demographic splintering. Ken Worpole argues that the relationship between people and places, between citizenship and public space the values of cultural diversity and cosmopolitanism have been lost in a preoccupation with land-use planning and "race to the finish" local economic growth. He offers a new agenda for cultural and civic renewal in our towns and cities.