How will our architectural legacy be judged?
My colleague David Sillito made this film about dereliction in city centres caused by property developers running out of credit. The report shines a light on the plight of the centre of Bradford, which looks as though it's been the victim of an overnight bombing raid.
Bradford's story is not unique; all around the country you can find derelict, inhospitable urban landscapes created by developers whose ambitions outstripped their bank balances. Will this, and the rapid growth of nondescript out-of-town warehouse shops be seen as the architectural bequest that tells the story of our times?
Architecture reflects the society for which it was created: a truthful legacy of an age. So what about now and the built environment of the early 21st Century? The Georgians had a plan; so did the Victorians - but do we?
Are one-off "statement" buildings created at the expense of a coherent architectural master-plan for a community? Are new buildings adding to a neighbourhood so that it gels functionally and visually?
There is no shortage of brilliant architects, old and young, who have the passion and vision required. But many feel that their ambition to make buildings that are sensitive and thoughtful to their surroundings - which add to, not diminish, the place in which they are built - is not shared by planners and developers.
Last year, Richard Rogers resigned his position as an adviser to the London mayor, in part because he was frustrated by the lack of urgency in implementing an architectural strategy for the city's public realm. Another leading architect I spoke to said that political leadership is vital - that the grand vision has to come from the top.
Of course, there are many visionary developers. For example, Peter Millican collaborated on London's Kings Place with architects Jeremy Dixon and Ed Jones, who also re-shaped the Royal Opera House and National Portrait Gallery. The result is an office block with additional services that has made a positive contribution to that part of the city.
Similarly, I was in Nottingham this week - listen here or watch here - at the twelve-week-old gallery, Nottingham Contemporary. At a cost of just under £20m and designed by Adam Caruso and Peter St John, it appears to be a welcome addition to the old lace-market area in the city centre; the council says that it has brought more visitors and trade for the shops.
But the feeling remains that profit, expediency or the desire to commission a "landmark" building is all-too-often put before the broader architectural concerns of a local community. And as David's report shows, inadequate planning can destroy the heart of a city.
It would be good to have your views. What do you think will be the architectural legacy of our age?