Urban change and conflict: evaluating the role of partnerships in urban regeneration in the UK
Routledge, Carfax Publishing
Faculty of Community Services, Education and Social Sciences
School of International, Cultural and Community Studies
Over the past twenty or so years, the focus of urban regeneration in the UK has changed from being based on outcomes that primarily involved property redevelopment – by either the public or private sectors – to a broader mix of issues and a far greater emphasis on the process of urban regeneration and the partnership ideal. The evaluation undertaken here takes a critical stance towards the ways in which the partnership principle has been adopted and the policy guidance that requires it as a near-compulsory model. It is argued that, to date, there is little interest in the managerial effectiveness of partnerships and the broader implications of this for regeneration policy. A survey of the contemporary regeneration literature is undertaken to highlight the partial and inconclusive nature of most existing evaluations of partnerships, particularly given the emphasis on the role of local community leaders in the formulation and implementation of partnership projects. Then, some wider issues of the ‘political economy’ of urban policy are considered in the context of the partnership approach. This is followed by a juxtaposition of trends in property development in general with urban regeneration partnership management processes. Finally, it is concluded that the partnership ideal is a useful policy device but that it has to be thought through more clearly and applied in specific contexts, rather than seen as the best and universally applicable model of urban regeneration.