Shrinking cities are a focus of growing concern. Globalisation has increased the vulnerability of cities to sudden adverse changes in their economic base. Austerity policies augment the problems. Loss of a key economic activity, can be followed by net out-migration of economically active age groups, falling tax revenues, an aging population but declining public services, “excessive” infrastructure that is expensive to maintain, empty property and gap sites. What strategies are being pursued in different parts of the world to address these challenges?
Guest blogger, the distinguished Hungarian researcher and consultant, Iván Tosics, reflects on radical alternatives to address today's urban challenges.
Gentrification is an issue in cities across the world, but urban planning systems are ill-equipped to deal with it.
Here in UK, and particularly in the North of England, museums and public galleries are being closed down as councils struggle to cope with real reductions in income forced by the UK government's austerity programme. In USA it is a different story.
Twenty years ago I became RTPI President. Here is the text of the speech I gave to RTPI Council on my inauguration. It ends by reaffirming the manifesto published in 1975 by the Radical Institute Group, of which I was one of the founders.
This blog was first posted on the Planning Resource website on 27 June 2012.
The Rio +20 summit was widely ignored by the world’s political leaders – the clearest possible statement that they have no intention of providing leadership on sustainable development. Similarly, the media devoted scant attention to the event – in marked contrast to the coverage given to the landmark 1992 gathering, or the 1972 summit in Stockholm. So what actually happened at Rio and where does it leave planners and others whose work it is to deliver more sustainable forms of development?
Whether it's an old church or the shell of a derelict factory, a gap site or an under-used parking lot, vacant land and buildings are a headache for planners and regeneration professionals. The impacts of vacany stretch beyond the site, creating a sense of decline and blighting neighbourhoods. Yet these left overs can be the ingredients of a new urban stew. Potentially they offer opportunities for cheap premises and new start-ups, innovation and regeneration. The key questions are how do you make the connections to unlock that potential, how does the planning system handle temporary uses, and how can initial success be sustained?
This blog was first published on the Planning Resource website on 7 March 2012.
The use of major sporting events to drive development and regeneration has become increasingly controversial. Who gains? Who loses? Since the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona such spectacles have been widely seen as offering a unique opportunity to rebrand places and upgrade problematic sites. However, the planning of such infrastructure typically displaces poor and marginalised residents and small businesses. The Centre on Housing Rights and Evictions estimated in 2007 that globally millions of people had suffered forced removal as a result of development for sporting and other mega events. Are such outcomes justified in the wider public interest?
This blog was first posted on the Planning Resource website on 18 July 2011.
Tax Increment Financing (TIF) is a controversial tool for economic development. New and so far unpublished research on its use in Chicago questions the benefits that TIFs generate. These findings strengthen the reservations about TIF that my co-authors and I expressed in our new book on Regional and Local Economic Development. In England the TIF idea has been promoted by the British Property Federation and the Core Cities Group, and has received government backing. Meanwhile the Scottish Government has indicated that it will support six pilot TIF projects. So why are there so many criticisms of TIFs in the USA?