Skip to content

Urban decline and regeneration within urban areas

Urban decline and regeneration within urban areas

Specification

Urban decline and regeneration within urban areas
Characteristics and causes of urban decline.
Urban regeneration: gentrification, property-led regeneration schemes, partnership schemes between local and national governments and the private sector.

What you need to know:

Urban decline

urban decline urban-void-748x365

Characteristics :
• High numbers of people moving from an area
• Boarded-up shops and housing
• Empty/derelict properties
• Empty/unused factories and derelict land
• Reduction in service provision, e.g. closure of schools
• Poor examination results
• High levels of crime, vandalism, graffiti
• Residents feel politically marginalised, abandoned by the state.

Inner cities

urban decline Camden_NJ_poverty

Problems facing inner cities include:
Population loss: this has occurred as the younger, more mobile, more skilled and more affluent population have moved out of the UK’s inner cities in search of housing and employment in a more pleasant environment. Between 1951 and 1981 the UK’s largest conurbations lost 35% of their population.
Poor physical environment: the physical environment of inner cities can also be somewhat unappealing and intimidating.
Political problems: inner cities have some of the lowest election turnouts in the UK, perhaps illustrating the degree to which residents feel neglected. In the 2010 parliamentary elections, the turnout in Hackney was only 61%

Causes of Economic decline
Population loss: this has occurred as the younger, more mobile, more skilled and more affluent population have moved out of the UK’s inner cities in search of housing and employment in a more pleasant environment. Between 1951 and 1981 the UK’s largest conurbations lost 35% of their population.
Changes in employment. Many inner city areas were associated with traditional manufacturing industries based on coal, steam power and railways. With their demise large numbers of jobs were lost. High unemployment creates a downward spiral.
• The growth of service industries in rural areas and small towns
• A shortage of suitable land and premises in urban areas for new industries
• The restructuring of industry, and the geographical movement of investment to new locations in the UK and overseas e.g. the movement of lighter, hi-tech and service-based industries to peripheral areas of cities. Such areas can provide more space for development and expansion at a cheaper price and with better access than the inner city.

Causes of social decline
outmigration of younger, affluent people from inner areas of cities
suburbanisation and counter-urbanisation
• those left behind are the old, the less skilled and the poor.
Economic decline of these areas has led to social decline.

Urban doughnut (the hollow centre due to mass exodus from the city) – https://www.greenleft.org.au/node/3755

Causes of a poor physical environment
• Areas of low-quality housing, empty and derelict properties, vacant factories and unsightly, overgrown wasteland
• Although most of the old slum property has been removed, it has been replaced by characterless large scale low quality developments that have rapidly decayed.
• High levels of crime, vandalism, dereliction, graffiti and fly-posting

urban decay graffiti
• Construction of urban motorways that separate communities
• Flyovers, underpasses and networks of pedestrian walkways that are often deemed dangerous
• All the above contribute to the bleak concrete-dominated landscape which is unattractive to investors.

Studentification

The YouTube clip shows studentification: Studentification of Swansea

http://www.independent.co.uk/student/news/gown-town-durham-locals-fear-losing-their-city-to-studentification-9198068.html

http://www.independent.co.uk/student/news/gown-town-durham-locals-fear-losing-their-city-to-studentification-9198068.html

Studentification and gentrification are similar phenomenon however studentification can have adverse effects on a city.

Studentification: the process by which specific neighbourhoods become dominated by student residential occupation. The term ‘studentification’ was established by Smith (2002) to describe the growth of high concentrations of students within the localities of Higher Education Institutions, often accommodated within Houses of Multiple Occupancy (HMOs), but increasingly in purpose built student flats.

There are four dimensions to the studentification process:

l Social: the replacement and/or displacement of established residents with a transient, generally young and single, social grouping

2 Cultural: the growth of concentrations of young people with shared cultures and lifestyles, and consumption practices, which in turn results in the increase of certain types of retail and service infrastructure

3 Physical: the downgrading or upgrading of the physical environment, depending on the local context;

4 Economic: the inflation of property prices and a change in the balance of the housing stock resulting in neighbourhoods becoming dominated by private rented accommodation and houses in multiple occupation, and decreasing levels of owner-occupation.

On the whole, students tend to increase the levels of spending in the local economy and improve the opportunities for spin-off companies, educational, cultural and other arts events, concerts and performances, sporting events and facilities and so on. However, the negative effects of ‘studentification’ are evident in several towns and cities across the UK. These are inter-connected and can be summarised in the following way:

Urban regeneration:

• Gentrification is a term that was coined by the sociologist Ruth Glass in London in 1964; ‘One by one, many of the working-class quarters of London have been invaded by the middle-classes – upper and lower. Shabby, modest mews and cottages – two rooms up and two down – have been taken over, when their leases have expired, and have become elegant, expensive residences…. Once this process of ‘gentrification’ starts in a district it goes on rapidly until all or most of the original working-class occupiers are displaced and the whole social character of the district is changed.’

Gentrificationhttp://geography.about.com/od/urbaneconomicgeography/a/gentrification.htm

Since that time, this process of wealthy individuals being attracted by the character of inner city Victorian and Edwardian housing as well as the proximity to the CBD and work places has spread to all major UK cities. The new residents tend to have more disposable income than the former occupants and so there is an upgrading of local services (wine bars, restaurants etc). They also tend to have more influence over council decision-making and so the area is improved through better street lighting, traffic calming measures etc.

Brixton – Once notorious for violent riots, today Brixton in south London is as much home to its post-war Caribbean community as it is to a new set of wealthy commuters.

Chasing cool (gentrification) – http://www.economist.com/blogs/blighty/2014/04/gentrification-london

It is advisable to have a case study of an example of an area that has undergone gentrification. You must be able to:
– Describe the nature of the area before gentrification
– Give reasons why people were initially attracted back to the area
– Describe some of the improvements that took place
– Have examples of business enterprises that moved into the area because of the developments
– Describe a range of attitudes to the developments. Groups with attitudes could be:
• The incomers
• The original inhabitants
• Local business people
• The local authority

Evaluate the success of the changes that have taken place based on physical, economic and social criteria.

• Property-led regeneration schemes can be defined as: ‘the assembly of finance, land, building materials and labour to produce or improve buildings for occupation and investment purposes.’ The best examples of these in the UK are the Urban Development Corporations (UDCs). These were set up in the 1980s and early 1990s to take responsibility for the physical, economic and social regeneration of selected inner-city areas with large amounts of derelict and vacant land. They were given:

– Planning powers that by-passed local government
– The power to compulsorily purchase land without the approval of the local authority
– Public money to purchase and develop land sufficiently to attract private companies.

The “other” urban doughnut with a sweet jam fillinghttp://www.economist.com/node/940671

Huge amounts of money were spent on 13 of these UDCs with varying success. Critics said they focused too heavily on physical change while disregarding social regeneration. As a result, the scheme often failed to tackle localised unemployment.

It is advisable to have a case study of an example of a property-led scheme. You must be able to:
• State why the scheme was set up (targets)
• Describe some of the property-led improvements that have taken place
• Have examples of private companies that moved in because of the developments
• Describe a range of attitudes to the development
• Evaluate the success of the scheme based on physical, economic and social criteria.

Examples of this form of regeneration are
Sheffield: http://www.sheffield.gov.uk/planning-and-city-development/regeneration
Manchester: http://www.manchester.gov.uk/info/200079/regeneration/1492/about_regeneration_in_manchester/1

• Partnerships bring together the leaders of key agencies and representative umbrella organisations to work together collaboratively to improve the quality of life in UK cities. There were 31 City Challenge Partnerships which ran in deprived urban areas between 1992 and 1998. Each Partnership was eligible to bid for £37.5m over five years and, including levered-in funds, spent over £240m on average in each of their targeted areas. The City Challenge was the forerunner to the Single Regeneration Budget (SRB), itself having gone through 6 ‘Rounds’ before being replaced.

It is advisable to have a case study of an example of a partnership scheme. You must be able to:
• State why the partnership was set up (targets)
• Know the various groups that make up the partnership and the reason for their being in the partnership
• Describe some of the developments that have taken place
• Have examples of private companies/individuals that have been affected by the developments
• Describe a range of attitudes to the developments
• Evaluate the success of the scheme based on economic and social criteria.

Examples of this form of regeneration include

The Manchester Partnership: http://www.manchesterpartnership.org.uk/3128/pages/community-strategy-2006-2015.aspx

Southampton: http://www.southampton-connect.com/

Questions:

9. Using the photograph only, comment on the characteristics of the urban landscape and suggest how it could be improved. (7 marks)

image
10. Using examples, suggest reasons for urban decline (8 marks)

11. Describe, with examples, the concept of ‘gentrification’ in an urban area. (8 marks)

12. Evaluate the effectiveness of one urban regeneration scheme or policy that you have studied. (10 marks)

13. Evaluate the success of one partnership scheme in achieving urban regeneration (10 marks)

14. With reference to examples, evaluate the success (or lack of it) of urban regeneration schemes in combating the causes and consequences of urban decline. (40 marks)

 

Leave a Comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: