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Where we live now

Britain's biggest cities enjoyed a revival in the 1990s but people with money and choice continue fleeing to the suburbs and beyond

By Nicholas Schoon   September 2002

Since the industrial revolution began in these islands, the history of most of its cities has been one of desertion by people with choice and money. The cities are where our wealth was created, where the middle class was formed and grew. But even as their populations exploded, as they sucked people from the land into their stinking, lethal centres, most of those who succeeded in life were getting out. With them went their standards, money, children and talents.

We are still fleeing the city. The population of Britain’s eight largest conurbations fell by 2m between 1961 and 1991. In…

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