Volume 14 (2020-21)

Each volume of Journal of Urban Regeneration and Renewal consists of four 100-page issues published in both print and online. Articles scheduled for Volume 14 are available to view on the Forthcoming content page. 

The Articles published in Volume 14 include:

Volume 14 Number 2

  • Editorial: COVID-19 and regenerating towns and cities
    Andrew Tallon, Editor
  • Papers:
    What is wrong with housing in Eastern Europe today?
    David Ireland, Chief Executive, World Habitat

    The fall of communism in Eastern Europe was one of the most significant and dramatic events in the second half of the 20th century. While it has brought huge improvements in people’s lives, it has also led to serious housing shortages, resulting in a severe lack of affordable housing and rapidly rising homelessness. The author discusses the main implications of this and highlights the current situation in two former communist countries. Here he focuses on the approaches taken at a sub-government level, including how communities are working to take control and design and build homes themselves.
    Keywords: housing, communism, homelessness, community-led housing, Bratislava, Slovenia

  • Remote work: An example of how to identify a downtown-related trend breeze that probably will outlast the COVID-19 crisis
    N. David Milder, Founder and President, Danth

    Crises are well known for their ability to create significant economic, social and political changes. In their midst, however, it is often difficult to identify those new trends that will last well beyond the crisis. That can make planning to resolve major problems difficult until the crisis eases or passes. To facilitate useful contingent planning, this paper outlines a process for identifying those trend breezes most likely to endure and be true and impactful trends. It then applies this analytical process to the huge increase in remote working that the COVID-19 pandemic has sparked. The analysis demonstrates that remote work was growing before the crisis, has other trends that reinforce it and that employees and employers have strong non-health reasons to continue a robust level of its use. Moreover, remote work probably will have significant economic impacts on urban, suburban and rural communities long after the pandemic eases. It thrives best in the industries most dependent on creative/knowledge workers and a critical mass of them are now committed to remote working. Employers that refuse to oblige them are likely to have a more difficult time recruiting and retaining such highly skilled and much sought after workers, especially since they are already in short supply.
    Keywords: remote work, trends, trend breezes, open offices, broadband, creative workers, knowledge workers

  • Understanding the conceptual and procedural framework of urban infill development
    Amirreza Farshchin, Faculty member, Academic Centre for Education and Raziyeh Ramezani, Assistant Professor, Azad University North/University of Kharazmi

    Since the 1970s, various internal development strategies have been tried for tackling the problem of city sprawl that resulted from the Second World War. One remedy was infill development, a subsidiary of the smart growth approach. Based on an analytical-descriptive method and a study of theoretical and practical literature, this research aims to discover a conceptual framework for infill development, discuss the theoretical background which has shaped and developed the concept of infill development and, while reviewing the general process of infill development, explain the key procedural concepts (partnership, capacity assessment, phasing) within the context of analysing several case studies. As a conclusion, this paper offers two principles which are dominate in infill development and form the different stages of the infill process: ‘improvement’ and ‘contextualism’. In the context of sustainable development, environmental preservation and other relevant issues, understanding the procedural framework of an urban infill development approach can provide a new, systematic perspective for future urban development policy making.
    Keywords: infill development, procedure, internal development, smart growth, contextualism, improvement

  • The importance of studying human perception when designing high-rises and their surrounding environment: The case study of Amman city
    Bushra Zalloom, Associate Professor, Zarqa University

    In recent decades, the cityscape of Amman, the capital of Jordan, has been transformed, especially in terms of high-rise buildings, urban regeneration projects and shopping malls. This paper focuses on the design of high-rise buildings in Amman and explores how the areas surrounding the high-rises are designed and perceived by users. It tries to justify the reasons behind the rejection of these blocks by the citizens of Amman. It also discusses some of the outcomes of the high-density mixed-used (HDMU) strategy that was implemented by the Greater Amman Municipality (GAM) in 2008 to organise the high-rises’ location and design. The paper proposes a set of design strategies for the outdoor spaces surrounding the high-rises to reduce their impact on the adjacent environment and make them more acceptable to the citizens, including strengthening the image of the landscape elements and weakening the visual effect of the buildings’ mass. To achieve the research’s aim, the paper describes how these masses emerged in Amman, followed by an analysis of the HDMU strategy’s strength and weakness. It further discusses human recognition as a tool that helps in humanising the outdoor spaces surrounding the high-rises, and finally, it assesses the current status of the high-rises in Amman based on recognition factors.
    Keywords: high-rises, urban regeneration, HDMU strategy, human perception, outdoor spaces

  • Determining the centre (City–CBD) and other subcentres in the city of Pristina
    Ibrahim Ramadani, Professor, Arsim Ejupi, Professor, Valbon Bytyqi, Assistant Professor and Ferim Gashi, Professor, University of Pristina

    This paper aims to find ways to determine the business area of Pristina (City–CDB) and the secondary centres for two neighbourhoods of the city as business areas are regarded as focal points of urban development and socioeconomic organisation in both neighbourhoods or cities in general. It is assumed that some parts of the city need to consolidate their subcentres, along with the reconstruction of some of the neighbourhoods, in order to fulfil their functions and provide the necessary infrastructure for high quality urban life. Authorities should pay particular attention to the application of the neighbourhood form and the implementation of this concept in spatial and regulatory plans, since these principles enable the development, management and rational use of the urban environment. Being complex organisational systems, cities require the causal interpretations of theories and planning laws with different planning parameters, leading towards the sustainable development of urban centres and the efficient use of urban areas. Appropriate urban planning, efficient land management, useful infrastructure, site protection and services are fundamental for suitable and sustainable housing within both urban expansion and urban densification. Development control and urban organisation help realise sustainable urban centres. They help to improve the living environment, increase land use efficiency, equitable land urban access and enhance neighbourhood characteristics and social wellbeing. This paper describes the functional organisation of Pristina and its urban evolution.
    Keywords: city, subcentre, regeneration, urban organisation, sustainable, nucleus

  • Coping with urban poverty: Housing transformation and home-based enterprises in poor residential neighbourhoods of Akure, Nigeria
    Hezekiah Adedayo Ayoola, Senior Lecturer and Alexander Adeyemi Fakere, Senior Lecturer, Federal University of Technology

    This paper investigates how spaces meant for residential purposes have been transformed for other uses, particularly home-based enterprises (HBEs). The paper shows that the houses in poor residential neighbourhoods provide residents with both home and workplace for livelihood. This is practised by the majority of people living in the core urban residential neighbourhoods in Akure, Nigeria. This paper attempts to identify different kinds of HBEs and analyses how spaces are used for other functions than they were initially designed to perform. Empirical data was sourced from four core residential neighbourhoods in Akure, Nigeria as a case study to examine how spaces for domestic purpose were used for commercial activities, the size and nature of HBEs. The study revealed that most households in the core residential neighbourhoods engage in one or more HBEs and many of the houses in the study area have witnessed significant transformation to allow for double functioning of the property.
    Keywords: home-based enterprises, housing transformation, poverty, residential neighbourhoods, urban poverty

  • Urban identity in the holy cities of Iraq: Analysis of architectural design trends in the city of Karbala
    Sabeeh Lafta Farhan, Assistant Professor and Vice Chancellor, Wasit University and Zuhair A. Nasar, Senior Lecturer, University of Kufa

    The issues associated with the urban identity of cities are particularly important in the context of historic holy cities, where the social and cultural changes of modernity have profound impacts on the urban transformation of traditional urban fabric and structure. This paper investigates trends of architectural design in the city of Karbala, one of the most important sacramental cities in Iraq as a site of two holy shrines (among other sites) for Shia Muslims. It first highlights urban identity in general and the urban identity in holy cities in particular, focusing on special characteristics of urban identity formation. Secondly, it explains the selection of the city of Karbala as a case study, due to its regional, social and historical role for Shias around the world. This study undertook original research by administering a questionnaire among local architects in Karbala, focused on the relationship between the architect as a designer and many concepts affecting the urban identity of the holy city. The methodology used to analyse the validity and consistency of the questionnaire was the Likert method. The research concludes that there is a weakness in the designer communication with the urban heritage of the holy city of Karbala in particular, and with Iraqi culture in general. Also, designers believe that the legacy is unable to fulfil contemporary requirements, as the process of communication between past and present is limited by only copying the elements and architectural forms from the past.
    Keywords: urban identity, holy cities, Karbala, urban heritage

  • Book review: Shaping a City: Ithaca, New York, A Developer’s Perspective
    Reviewed by William F. Ryan, University of Wisconsin-Madison
  • Book review: Language, Lies & Irrational Thinking. A Defence of Reason in an Unreasoning World
    Reviewed by Matthew Spencer, The Intensive Pali Course and Christian Latin Courses

     

Volume 14 Number 1

  • Editorial: Regeneration and the COVID-19 economy and society
    Andrew Tallon, Editor
  • Opinion piece: Volunteers in service to America: Warriors for the poor and victims of COVID-19
    David M. Feehan, President, Civitas Consultants

    The concept of voluntarism is ancient. But in the 1960s, poverty in the US and abroad was becoming more of a government concern. The US government established the Peace Corps, and then, in 1964, the Volunteers in Service to America (VISTA) programme. While Peace Corps volunteers served exclusively outside the US, VISTAs were assigned to domestic anti-poverty programmes. Both programmes live on today, VISTA under the broader federal AmeriCorps programme. VISTAs are now engaged in a different war — a struggle to save communities from the devastation of the COVID-19 virus. This paper suggests how an expanded VISTA programme could save both lives and jobs.
    Keywords: volunteers, COVID-19 virus, federal programmes, VISTA

  • Practice papers:
    Local government interventions to stimulate industrial area intensification and co-location: Industrial urbanism
    Judith Atkinson, Local Partnerships

    In response to ever-increasing volumes of online retail activity, pressure to provide space for urban service companies in our core cities continues to build. Successful high-density city living relies on a balanced supply of premises suitable and affordable to relatively unglamorous but essential operations, not least ‘last mile’ deliveries. There has been a sustained outmigration of occupiers from industrial zones close to urban centres, however, leaving this land at risk of redevelopment for higher-value activities. Many UK cities feature long-established industrial estates close to high-value city fringes that now look and feel incongruous as the surrounding urban context has transformed. Tensions are highest in London, where the Greater London Authority (GLA) has commissioned specialist research that can act both as an early warning and inspiration to others. The missing catalysts are early-adopter exemplar property developments that demonstrate the commercial viability of new mixed-use property typologies suited to these intensifying market challenges. This is a role only likely to be fulfilled by the public sector. To do so would demonstrate proactive place leadership. Local and regional authorities can analyse market failure in the supply of property formats required by identified growth sector enterprises. Value heat maps will identify areas of greatest market tension for priority interventions. Proactive business relocation plans should embrace council owned stock and be delivered in cooperation with neighbouring authorities within single economic markets. Specialist commercial property and architectural expertise will be needed to build financial models to test the investment case of new format projects. Action plans should critique alternative delivery mechanisms. This paper discusses industrial area estates and the role of local government.
    Keywords: city living, mixed use, planning policy, service occupiers, public sector

  • Overcoming obstacles to planning major infrastructure projects
    Duncan Field, Partner, Town Legal

    The planning system has an important role to play in delivering major infrastructure projects. The obstacles which a promoter of a project must overcome are inherent in any consenting system which is rooted in democratic participation and political accountability. To understand the nature of those obstacles and how they might be addressed requires an appreciation of the process that a project must navigate to secure consent and the influences on the decision maker at each stage of that process. This paper suggests that the prospects for the success of a major infrastructure project and the speed of decision are best served by focusing time and resource on four key areas: the need and justification for the project; policy support for the project; technical assessment; and external and internal communication. The paper explores the considerations which a promoter should address in each of these key areas and identifies three priorities for government in the way the infrastructure planning system is operated.
    Keywords: infrastructure, planning, promoter, need, policy, assessment, communication

  • The making of Meeniyan
    Stephen Sully, Development Professional, Planning by Design Pty

    This paper seeks to identify the key aspects of the evolution of Meeniyan town centre from 2000 through to February 2020. It explores particular events and activities that have occurred and highlights the groups and individuals who were responsible for initiation and implementation. The paper was prepared through analysis of information and studies and through a series of one-on-one interviews with members of the Meeniyan residential and business communities, from August 2019 through to February 2020.
    Keywords: Meeniyan, community leadership, quality, risk, passion, music, garlic

  • Research papers:
    Strategic demolition for shrinking and shrunken cities: A case study from Buffalo, NY, USA
    Jason Knight, Associate Professor, SUNY Buffalo State and Russell Weaver, Director of Research, Cornell ILR

    Shrinking cities are older urban settlements that played prominent roles in the industrial economies of developed nations, but have experienced substantial depopulation, economic contraction and undesirable physical change since at least the middle of the 20th century. To counter the problems that necessarily accompany massive depopulation, shrinking cities have aggressively used structural demolition as a right-sizing strategy. Right-sizing is both a policy objective and the set of strategies used to restructure the built environment of a shrinking city to meet its current needs, by aligning the supply of community assets (eg infrastructure, housing, services) with current and future demand. In practice, it appears that many shrinking cities equate right-sizing exclusively with large-scale demolition. The result is that demolition is implemented in a standalone fashion, which fails to meaningfully stem the tides of shrinkage and vacancy. This paper draws on a framework of strategic demolition for shrinking cities to analyse a well-publicised, ‘signature’ demolition programme in Buffalo, NY, USA. The critical analysis shows that Buffalo failed to take recommended actions that were within its reach, which likely contributed to perceptions that its signature programme was unsuccessful. The case study has several implications for planning and policy in shrinking cities.
    Keywords: shrinking cities, demolition, vacancy, abandonment, right-sizing, public policy

  • What explains the housing boomlet in the city of Philadelphia?
    John F. McDonald, Emeritus Professor, University of Illinois and Adjunct Professor, Temple University and Jeffrey N. Carroll, Assistant Professor, Chestnut Hill College

    Since 2003 a sizeable shift has occurred in the location of new housing units in the Pennsylvania portion of the Philadelphia metropolitan area, which consists of four suburban counties and Philadelphia County (the central city). The percentage of units located in the city of Philadelphia increased from an average of 4.6 per cent per year in the 1990s, to over 20 per cent during 2004–11, and to over 40 per cent starting in 2012. This paper stipulates that demand for new housing in the central city appears to be driven by the large increase in employment in the education and health services and, to a lesser extent, employment in business services. On the supply side, the city of Philadelphia facilitated housing supply in the central city by providing a ten-year abatement of property taxes for new housing and initiated the Neighborhood Transformation Initiative (NTI). NTI involved the sale of bonds to finance the demolition of abandoned structures and the assembly of land for development.
    Keywords: Center City housing, Philadelphia, urban revitalisation, development incentives, urban land reuse, property tax abatement

  • The impact of neighbourhood change on social sustainability: A case study of Jabal Al-Weibdeh
    Amal Abed, Associate Professor, Jordan University of Science and Technology

    A quick glance at neighbourhood development and progress behaviour reveals an obvious trend towards neighbourhood urbanisation. Therefore, much research has been developed to investigate this phenomenon. Only a few of these studies, however, have addressed the potentially negative impact of neighbourhood change on social sustainability and how to eliminate it. In this paper, a comprehensive analysis of the relationship between neighbourhood development and social sustainability will be investigated by exploring the changing characteristics of neighbourhoods. Understanding these changes required studying the neighbourhood’s transformation of population and built environment over ten years. This was achieved through tracking demographic transformation using statistical census, mapping changes of land use and exploring the impact of these changes on social sustainability by gathering data from residents through structured questionnaires. As a result, a negative impact of social sustainability for indigenous residents has been identified, especially the fear of becoming a neglected group associated with a high level of dissatisfaction, minimum communication and low level of social interaction between residents. Consequently, an equitable sustainable strategy is needed to ensure the neighbourhood’s stability, eliminate alterations and preserve social sustainability.
    Keywords: neighbourhood change, social sustainability, social transformation, residential mobility, demographic restructure

  • Assessment of urban renewal projects implementation and its socio-economic impacts in Ado-Ekiti, Nigeria
    Adewale O. Yoade, Lecturer, Wesley University Ondo, Olabisi O. Adeyemi, Lecturer, Federal Polytechnic Ado-Ekiti and Babawale A. Adeyemi, Lecturer, Adeyemi College of Education Ondo

    This paper describes a study to examine the influence of the urban renewal project and its socio-economic effects on the residents of Ado-Ekiti, Nigeria. Primary and secondary data was used in the study. The primary data was collected through two sets of questionnaires administered to residents and town planners in the study area. A total number of 148 residents were surveyed. The findings showed that 58 per cent agreed that the scheme approaches are right while 42 per cent said the approaches are wrong, 15 per cent supported construction of new estate, 64 per cent demolition of old buildings, while 22 per cent supported establishment of agencies to monitor housing projects. The study established that urban renewal action is a task that must be pursued and accomplished to bring our substandard urban environments to the required standard reflective of our time. The renewed or regenerated cities would not only ensure harmonious, attractive and aesthetically pleasant environments but also enhance socio-economic development, safe, secure, healthy and quality urban life for both the present and future generations.
    Keywords: urban renewal, projects, socio-economic, physical characteristics, slum