I came to this thread late so have not really got the overall gist of what was being argued, but...as an older poster my take on my city is that in the centre, we seemed to tread water for many years whilst all the other major cities were having expensive redevelopment. We now seem to be catching up but to put a football analogy on it we are now at the top of the Championship pushing for promotion. However, the same can't be said for the rest of the city which in many areas is far worse now than before. Areas like the Wicker, which was once a busy thriving offshoot of the market area and a gateway to another thriving area along Attercliffe Common. These are now almost deserted because of traffic and parking restrictions that have made it very difficult for pedestrians to access and the destruction of shops and communities in the Attercliffe area which have rendered it a nothing area, populated by a few small businesses, a couple of retail parks and latterly some university buildings. The council had a monster chance to regenerate that area when it had the opportunity to build a stadium for the world student games. Wednesday or United could have been playing there today as Man City and West ham are in their new homes. But they chose the only option that would ensure it's future failure. The result is that the Wicker and the adjacent area up Spital hill towards Burngreave and then onwards down to Pitsmoor, Firvale, and on to Firth Park have now become one long ethnic ghetto which does little for the integration of minorities into the city and doesn't encourage development in those areas. Areas like Heeley Bottom, once a thriving out of town shopping area are now little more than a slum clearance project. Further up into Woodseats where the once vibrant shopping area is now devoid of any community feeling at all and has become a slow moving traffic jam. Firth Park centre has likewise lost it's vibrancy and looks squalid. Anyone who has taken the Supertram to the match cannot have failed to notice the drab exteriors of the few remaining shops and abandoned pubs along Middlewood Road as far as Hillsborough centre, then once again, a previous vibrant shopping centre is now an row of charity shops and estate agents. I could go on.
The SCC has indeed made efforts over the past two decades to improve the city centre but has virtually ignored the outlying districts.
A simple decision to rigourously enforce litter and graffiti laws would make a huge difference to our city and make it a much nicer place to live. Enforcing laws to make owners and landlords look after empty buildings and keep them in good condition would vastly improve the environment. There are derelict buildings that to my knowledge have been like that for twenty years. The bottom of Broad Street springs to mind. Make the owners either refurbish the buildings or clear the site and put compulsory purchase orders on the land. Make extra efforts to keep street furniture and railings to a minimum and maintain them properly. Send teams out to destroy the weeds that seem to line every major road into the city. These things aren't rocket science, they just need the will to do it.