Urban Regeneration/renewal -Case of United Kingdom Essay

Introduction

In this section, we shall define the key terms, urban regeneration/urban renewal and urban development and try to see the correlation between the terms. We shall then briefly look at the town of King’s Lynn.

Urban Regeneration defined

The encyclopedia Britannica, defines urban renewal as “comprehensive scheme to redress a complex of urban problems, including unsanitary, deficient, or obsolete housing; inadequate transportation, sanitation, and other services and facilities; haphazard land use; traffic congestion; and the sociological correlates of urban decay, such as crime.1

Definition of Urban renewal

The Webster’s new world dictionary defines regeneration as “to cause to be completely renewed, or restored or reformed” 2. Urban regeneration therefore means, to completely renew, restore or reform an urban area.

Urban renewal focuses of infrastructure only while urban renewal is more comprehensive and focuses on practical outputs aimed at improving the economic and social wellbeing of the particular urban population. Urban regeneration therefore goes beyond urban renewal.

It aims at addressing issues of poverty, poor housing, and sanitation in slums, crime, unemployment, discrimination, stigma and low quality of life in a particular urban set up. Urban regeneration seeks to minimize these problems if not eliminating them. 3

Urban development

Urban development can be defined as the process of controlling land use in urban area including transport networks aimed at bringing orderliness in the urban area. It involves research, strategy formation, implementation and evaluation.

Urban Development and Regeneration

The two terminologies are closely related and in some cases can be difficult to clearly demarcate the differences, if any between these concepts4. We can say that urban regeneration is a form of urban development, but urban development can cover a wider scope and goes beyond just regeneration but involves the generation of new things.

Case Study of King’s Lynn Urban Regeneration and Development Strategy

Introduction

In this case study we shall look at a combined development and regeneration strategy as applied in this seaport town. The strategy is broadly a development strategy but is majorly a regeneration strategy. This is a sea port town in the north of England, 156 km to the north of London and has population of 43,000. It is largely a market town.

Main actions in the Urban Regeneration and Development Strategy

There are four actions that form the strategy for regeneration of King’s Lynn and they are:

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Maximum utility of the existing facilities – this is by creation of a marina at Boal Quay, increment and diversification of activities in the South Quay and reinstating the historical structures with the aim of improving the image of the town.

Developing the town center by improving the existing residential structures that are dilapidated and also putting up modern residential buildings to meet the current and future needs of the city.

Economic development through job creation; this is by strengthening the town center with the aim of having an increased viability of the entire town and the market shops as this will improve development in the town center.

An improved transport system through The King’s Lynn Area Transport and Land Use Strategy (KLATS) which will see the creation improved parking space by use of multi-story buildings for parking which will replace the ground parking that currently exist5. Provisions of better bus transport system, creation of better train system across and around town are some examples of existing urban regeneration.

A ferry system will also be established between The West Lynn and King’s Lynn to facilitate transport between the two ends of the city.

Worldwide Urban Development Strategies in New Zealand

This section describes the Urban Development strategies as applied in New Zealand. It also presents the aims and objective of the strategies.

The Greater Christ church Urban Development Strategy (GCUDS)

This strategy aims at creating a paradigm shift from business as usual, an approach to a focused strategic plan aimed at protection of the environment and development of society core values. The themes of this strategy are:

  • Making sure the area remains an attractive place to work in through investment and recreation in order to promote business growth.
  • Ease of accessibility and movement
  • Protection of the environment from potential hazards that would hinder growth.

These themes are focused on improved and sustained quality of life for the inhabitants and bettering the economic environment.

The Western Bay of Plenty Smart Growth Strategy (2002)

This strategy focuses on the need to create a balance between provision of land & housing services, commerce, productivity in the rural, community activities and recreation in order to improve accessibility to the needed services and minimize pollution through emissions particularly form vehicles.

These Urban Development Strategies are wide and cover a range of outcomes, indicating how urban systems interact, how commercial and housing systems are distributed, how transport systems are developed and managed6. They also focus on environmental protection and management of resources such as water and finally they promote social wellbeing of the local people.

These policies were beyond standard models and rules that had previously been used in development. Countries that have adopted the UDS approach are capable of meeting the competitive demands arising between cities at national, regional and international level.

The essential elements of concern urban regeneration and development strategy

Consultation between the implementing agencies and the locals is of essential for the successful implementation of renewal schemes. The local people are mostly excluded either directly or through representative groups. This is not in line with government regulations which require that the local community be voluntarily involved and their interests be taken into account.

Secondly there is need to target the benefits of regeneration to the target people. It is important that the schemes such housing development, job creation and other benefits be reaped by the locals7. Currently there are no elaborate mechanisms to translate the development projects into utility in order to have the benefits downstream to the target people.

Thirdly, there is the assumption that physical development translates into urban regeneration or tendency to over depend on physical development as the prime mover of urban renewal. This leads to little or no emphasis on broad dimensions such as social issues like crime, local entrepreneurship.

Research has suggested that in United Kingdom, a large percentage of the over ten billion spent on urban regeneration in the 1980s has largely gone to waste due to poor socio-economic infrastructure in the urban thus undermining property investment.

If urban renewal through development projects marginalizes certain groups, it can lead to an upsurge in crime as has been experienced in Dublin. In Ireland, the economic development has hardly reached the targeted population resulting in socio-economic imbalances.

Bibliography

Efere, Prince. Urban Regeneration. London : Trans-Atlantic College, 2004.

Hurd, Nixon. Sustainable Economic Development Strategies. New York: Global Urban Development, 2005.

Joan, Parpal. Simulation of urban development in the City of Rome. The Journal of Transport and Land Use, 2007.Pg 1010: 87-97.

Mats, Karlsson. Urban Development Strategies. Barcelona: Cities Allliance, 2011.

Mitlin, John. Study of Urban Renewal Schemes by KPMG. Islandbridge: Combat Poverty Agency,1996.

Thompson, Diana. Participatory approaches in Urban Areas. London: International Institute of Environmental Development, 1995.

Zaremski, Carol. Differenciation between forms of Urban Developement. New York: HarperCollins 2006. Pg 315.

Footnotes

1 Mitlin, John. Study of Urban Renewal Schemes by KPMG. (Islandbridge: Combat Poverty Agency, 1996), 120.

2 Zaremski, Carol. Differenciation between forms of Urban Developement. (New York: HarperCollins, 2006), 315.

3 Zaremski, Carol. Differenciation between forms of Urban Developement. (New York: HarperCollins, 2006), 315.

4 Joan, Parpal. Simulation of urban development in the City of Rome. (Washington: The Journal of Transport and Land Use, 2007), 1010: 87-97.

5 Thompson, Diana..Participatory approaches in Urban Areas. (London: International Institute of Environmental Development, 1995), 253.

6 Hurd, Nixon. Sustainable Economic Development Strategies. (New York: Global Urban Development, 2005), 89.

7 Hurd, Nixon. Sustainable Economic Development Strategies. (New York: Global Urban Development, 2005), 89.