With reference to examples, evaluate the success or otherwise of urban regeneration schemes in combating the causes and consequences of urban decline
With reference to examples, evaluate the success or otherwise of urban regeneration schemes in combating the causes and consequences of urban decline. (40 marks) Urban decline can be defined as the drastic decline of a city into infirmity and disrepair. It is usually characterised by increased unemployment, depopulation, deindustrialization, increased crime and political disenfranchisement. Not only does it cause these problems but also it can make the area look unattractive – consequently less people being enticed to the area.
This can then lead to a vicious cycle. The causes of these factors, which ultimately cause urban decline, can be: educated workers keep moving to the suburbs to avoid crime, poor schools, taxes and racial tensions. These businesses also find that building new facilities in the suburbs is much cheaper than refurbishing old buildings for their needs. There are many reasons to move out of the city but only a few reasons to stay.
When a city or an urban area sinks into decline, the council has the choice to regenerate the area to entice people back into the area. When regeneration is considered in the context of ‘urban,’ it involves the rebirth or renewal of urban areas and settlements. Urban regeneration is primarily concerned with regenerating cities and early/inner ring suburbs facing periods of decline. The term urban regeneration covers everything from creating desirable homes in city centers to finding new uses for our formal industrial heartlands.
When regenerating an area the following principles are nearly always followed: coordination between various sectors, creating a holistic vision, regenerating people rather than a place, creating partnerships across all levels of government, building public sector capacity and leadership, and engaging the local community in the planning process. One way to regenerate an area is by property-led regeneration. Property-led regeneration schemes involve building or improving property in the area to change its image and improve the local environment.
This was particularly successful in the London Docklands. During the 19th century, London’s port was one of the busiest in the world and warehouses, industries and high density and poor quality housing etc. surrounded the docks. By the end of the 1950s, there was a significant decline with many of the docks derelict and abandoned; there were also many jobs lost and poor living conditions still remaining. Access to the rest of London was poor with narrow roads, which were heavily congested, and a lack of public transport was becoming a huge problem.
Whilst the LDDC was responsible for the planning and redevelopment of the Docklands areas, other organisation have also been involved in the redevelopment process, these included: ? landowners, designers and developers, investors, local people and central government. In docklands, economic regeneration was seen as a priority and the government felt that property developers would know how to develop land in ways that would attract businesses. Jobs would be creates, and wealth, it was argued would ‘trickle down’ to poorer communities.
It focused on the creation of employment- the regeneration of existing housing stock and the creation of new affordable housing. The government action also supported urban regeneration: tax breaks, deregulation and also working hours could be changed depending on the business. The Environmental Regeneration? probed successful with a network of pedestrian and cycle routes through the area with access to the river and dock edge through waterside walkways?
, creation of pedestrian bridges? and creation of new open spaces (150ha)?. There was also a water based Ecology Park and London’s first bird sanctuary at East India Dock Basin – one of 17 conservation areas set up? , planting of 200,000 trees (the area has now received many awards for architecture, conservation and landscaping). The Economic Regeneration was also very successful. Unemployment had fallen from 14% to 7.
4% with a doubling in employment and numbers of businesses; there was a ‘transport revolution’ – opening of the Docklands Light Railway in 1987 – now carrying 35,000 passengers a week;? ?7. 7 billion in private sector investment? – 2,700 businesses trading? ; major new roads including link to the M11? ; building of the City Airport in the former Royal Docks (500,000+ passengers a year)? ; attraction of financial and high-tech firms; TV studios and newspapers such as The Guardian now have offices in the prestigious Canary Wharf business complex.