Posted: August 9, 2017
In May 2017, the IFHP together with the IFHP Housing Working Group organized a three day- long Urban Lab in London, UK, where issues of urban regeneration were discussed under the heading: “What comes first – physical or social regeneration?”.
3 cases of urban regeneration
Urban regeneration is a tool commonly applied by federal and local governments all over Europe with the purpose to tackle urban decline and social deprivation in geographically defined areas. The three case studies discussed and visited in the IFHP urban lab are all facing challenges in terms of social integration and connectivity with the rest of the city, in the context of an alarming housing shortage in the city of London.
Aim of the Lab
The aim of the lab was to invite urban professionals from different national and international contexts, with a diversity of backgrounds, to share knowledge and experiences of urban regeneration, and how to provide for more self-sustaining communities.
The main conclusions drawn based on study tours, discussion and comparison between different national contexts concerned issues of financing and regulation, and a lacking people-focus in urban planning.
- There is a need for long-term planning objectives in terms of policy, financing and implementation, also with a focus on the people who live in the neighbourhood – both today and in the future. Flexibility is important although there needs to be a more rigid framework for how development can be carried out – comparing the urban planning system in the UK with examples such as the Netherlands and Germany, where there is a multi-level regulatory system.
- There is a need to focus more on what takes place between the buildings in the UK. Involving people in the process before and throughout redevelopment. Community involvement can is complex when there are diverse interests – nonetheless it is crucial to ensure a more just regeneration, and to make people more engaged in their neighbourhood.
The London Lab took place before the tragic fire at Grenfell Tower in North Kensington. This reminds us all of the importance of delivering homes of the highest quality and the responsibility on us to listen to people.