(January 2010) The connections and disconnections of ‘joined-up’ regeneration
Since New Labour have come to power in the UK in 1997, they have promoted the idea of ‘joining-up’. This implies that in order to improve the effectiveness of urban regeneration and activities such as public service delivery, the plethora of different organisations and agencies involved in the process must work together to ensure effective coordination of policy.
Regeneration is not a neutral activity; it takes place in a structured environment which favours certain strategies over others. There are also a number of different frameworks that are in place which will focus action on the ground. These frameworks will range from national level, to city level, and also down into the neighbourhood, creating a complicated and heavily structured environment. All of these different frameworks will in theory guide the different organisations involved with the regeneration towards a common strategy, helping to coordinate their actions and reduce the number of disconnections that may occur.
However, due to the complications that are involved, it is possible for a number of disconnections to appear in the process. Where these disconnections appear there is a chance that gaps and absences may appear in the regeneration, reducing efficiency. This will result in the regeneration falling below its potential, so it is important that mechanisms are in place to avoid this. However, whilst regeneration is taking place using a multitude of organisations there is always the chance that this will occur.
The research that I am completing aims to explore the complexities of how different national, regional and city level priorities come together at the neighbourhood level. This will be completed using a case study approach, focussing on a single city, and then a small number of neighbourhoods within the city. The research will explore the connections and disconnections that are created in neighbourhood regeneration, and also between different spaces of the city. This will involve looking at how both the different scales of policy coordinate together, as well as how the organisations implementing the regeneration in the neighbourhoods coordinate.
This research will be completed in a number of different phases. Initially research will be completed at the city level. A general picture of how regeneration priorities and strategic needs are decided upon can be gained, which will provide a general overview of the regeneration process. Following this, more detailed research will then be completed in two case study areas within the city. This will allow for more detailed information to be gained on how regeneration is implemented within the neighbourhood, exploring how the process works with different policy mixes and in areas of different challenges and potential. The research will mainly be completed by using semi-structured interviews. This will allow for people involved in the regeneration, and also residents in affected areas to be questioned. From this, the networks that are created can be built up, highlighting connections and disconnections.