Volume 15 (2021-22)

Each volume of Journal of Urban Regeneration and Renewal consists of four 100-page issues published in both print and online. 

The Articles published in Volume 15 include:

Volume 15 Number 4 (Summer 2022)

  • Editorial: 
    Andrew Tallon, Editor, Journal of Urban Regeneration & Renewal
  • Practice Papers:
    An evaluation of Churchill Downs’ tax increment financing district
    Thomas E. Lambert, Applied Economist, University of Louisville

    Tax increment financing districts (TIFs) have become important local government tools in the USA over the last several decades as ways to help bring public and/or private investment dollars into inner city areas and/or older neighbourhoods which are deemed to need revitalisation. Within the last ten years, the concept has become popular in Canada, and it has been used as a component piece of enterprise zone programmes in other nations. This paper evaluates one of the first Kentucky USA TIFs started approximately 20 years ago with a pre-eminent Kentucky horse racing track, Churchill Downs, as the target for investment spending. Some of the desired spin-off effects of such investment are to help bring jobs, investment and general economic growth to an older and low-income neighbourhood which surrounds the track. This paper finds mixed results regarding these outcomes for the area surrounding Churchill Downs.
    Keywords: Churchill Downs, economic development, horse racing, sports, tax increment financing districts (TIFs)

  • Funding public-realm revitalisations with private resources: Different approaches in New York City’s small, medium and large business improvement districts
    Yuxiang Luo, Director of Urban Economic Development, James Lima Planning + Development

    Business improvement districts (BIDs) link the economic self-interests of property owners to public goals of open space management, economic development and urban revitalisation. New York City is home to more than 70 BIDs. This paper selects three representative case studies among New York City BIDs to analyse how the size of a BID relates to the roles it plays in funding and governing public-realm improvement initiatives. Specifically, by dissecting how small, medium and large BIDs deploy and generate resources for both recurring expenses and long-range capital projects, this comparative study argues that the relationship between budgets and capacities is not always linear. As the case studies demonstrate, although budgets lay the foundation for setting different operating priorities, it is the difference in governance factors, including stakeholder makeup, board representation, management and leadership, human capital and neighbourhood context, that charts different paths along which BIDs go beyond the limits of their annual income to lead long-term, consequential physical changes.
    Keywords: business improvement district (BID), governance, funding and financing, public realm

  • Additional dwelling units: A potential solution to the affordable and senior housing crisis
    Daniel Calo, Schack Institute of Real Estate New York University

    As housing prices continue to rise faster than inflation and wages in the US, affordable housing continues to become difficult, borderline impossible for minimum wage and renter wage workers to obtain. This paper aims to explore the possibility of zoning regulations to allow the widespread construction of additional dwelling units (ADUs). Many macroeconomic factors continue to contribute to the unavailability of affordable housing. A combination of low wages, low housing stock and high property values contribute to the senior and affordable housing crises. The COVID-19 pandemic further exacerbated the impact of these factors on affordable housing. Low-income individuals and families were unequally affected by increased unemployment rates. Senior housing has become a more pressing issue as the senior population continues to increase and most seniors live on a low monthly income based on pensions and assets. This makes it difficult for the majority of seniors to continue to afford where they were living when they were fully employed and removes the option of aging in place. ADUs provide a unique solution to both the senior and affordable housing crises through increasing housing stock in pre-existing areas and neighbourhoods. This is done through the reduction of zoning restrictions by local governments to allow homeowners to convert detached garages and basements into apartment dwellings. This gives the homeowners a potential source of monthly income through rentals, as well as increasing housing stock in pre-existing areas. ADUs can contribute towards the necessary increase in senior and affordable housing to combat their respective crises.
    Keywords: additional dwelling units, affordable housing, senior housing, low-income housing, housing and urban development, federal housing administration

  • Research papers:
    The social injustice of urban regeneration initiatives in the Johannesburg inner city
    Mudzunga G. Neluheni, Monitoring and Evaluation Officer, Institute of Health Programs and Systems and Brian Boshoff, Senior Lecturer, University of the Witwatersrand

    Urban regeneration and gentrification typically engender a situation of ‘winners’ (such as developers and those benefiting from a process of gentrification) and ‘losers’ (the marginalised and/or displaced). Those who are displaced can become (more) vulnerable and experience homelessness and loss of social capital and all manner of livelihood and psychological insecurity. The aim of this paper is to report on the experiences of gentrification and the social injustices perpetrated by post-apartheid urban regeneration initiatives in Maboneng, a precinct of the Johannesburg inner city. Building and neighbourhood upgrades in Maboneng favoured the newly resident ‘creative class’, while reducing the availability of affordable housing in Jeppestown. By means of a phenomenological investigation, a limited number of respondents in and around Maboneng (who were identified by purposive and snowball sampling) were interviewed. Primary and secondary data was then analysed thematically, in terms of social justice and right to the city conceptual frameworks. The key findings indicate that low-income residents experienced displacement due to gentrification and this led to them losing supportive social and economic networks. This stimulated adaptive strategies and those who remained in the neighbourhood proved to be both socially and economically resilient in the face of regeneration. Additionally, it was found that the ‘winners’ were not outright ‘winners’ and they themselves experienced forms of ‘regenerational turbulence’.
    Keywords: urban regeneration, gentrification, displacement, low-income residents, social justice, resilience

  • Negotiating a negative past in the reuse of historic prisons
    Carolyn Gibbeson, Senior Lecturer, Sheffield Hallam University and Sarah Gill, Development Surveyor, HBD

    This paper investigates the reuse of historic former prisons and the effect of their past connotations on that redevelopment and adaptation. It examines, through stakeholder interviews at two former UK prison sites, Northallerton and Oxford, how their history is incorporated into the redevelopment. It explores how the different stakeholders of each site perceived the sites and the effect these perceptions had on their redevelopment. The research explored what happens when a historic site being redeveloped is one with a negative past and how this affects its adaptation and reuse. The paper examines how the history of these two prison sites was employed, treated and dealt with by the different stakeholders working in the redevelopment and successor uses. This approach considers the role of practitioners involved in negatively perceived heritage sites and what this means for heritage redevelopment more widely.
    Keywords: historic prisons, redevelopment, perceptions, negative past, heritage

  • Tracing the path to retail gentrification: Insights from Marvila, Lisbon
    Pedro Porfírio Coutinho Guimarães, Assistant Professor, University of Lisbon

    Retail gentrification is a rising field of research within the wider field of gentrification studies. In this paper we use the old neighbourhood of Marvila in Lisbon as a case study. The information collected from the fieldwork demonstrates the depth of transformations occurring in the commercial fabric of Marvila, which is having a detrimental effect on old stores and the local population. Moreover, it reveals that the current process was triggered by a group of independent investors, whose success is placing them at risk of being displaced. These findings reinforce the existent body of literature on the subject of retail gentrification.
    Keywords: gentrification, retail gentrification, touristification, urban geography, Lisbon, Marvila

  • Bottom-up regeneration in Italy: A case study of the medium-sized city of Novara
    Elisabetta Genovese, Researcher, University of Piemonte Orientale

    Italy has a vast heritage of unused public properties and regeneration initiatives can have positive effects on local communities. This paper aims to analyse bottom-up approaches to such initiatives, in which citizens are an integral part of the design and development of urban regeneration projects. As citizen engagement is crucial to the success of the regeneration process, both the active participation of all stakeholders and regular project monitoring are required. The paper is based on a case study carried out on the medium-sized Italian city of Novara, which examines bottom-up regeneration projects involving citizen collaboration agreements and assesses their value to society.
    Keywords: urban regeneration, bottom-up approach, regeneration value, medium-sized cities

  • US urban and regional planning history, theory and partnerships for a new century
    Carlos J. L. Balsas, Independent researcher

    Planning history reflects the major social, economic and political events that shape a society. Planning has been variously defined by scholars and planning practitioners alike. This paper presents a set of definitions of urban and regional planning (URP) in order to create a common ground with which to analyse planning’s history and theories of urban revitalisation and partnership collaborations at the turn of the 20th century. The planning history includes the City Beautiful movement, the Urban Renewal period and the City Enterprise. The planning theories range from rational planning, incrementalism and advocacy to communicative and collaborative planning. Finally, partnerships refer to collaboration and cooperation among businesses, non-profits, government agencies, education institutions and community leaders with a certain set of aims and goals. The takeaway points are that a partnership’s success depends on the scale and scope of the arrangement, and the type and number of actors. Furthermore, urban revitalisation partnerships should be built on shared interests, reciprocal support and mutual benefit, with partners contributing according to their respective resources, strengths and areas of expertise.
    Keywords: planning history, planning theory, partnerships, 20th century, planning knowledge

Volume 15 Number 3 (Spring 2022)

  • Editorial: 
    Andrew Tallon, Editor, Journal of Urban Regeneration & Renewal
  • Practice Papers:
    Downtown regeneration in Clarksdale, USA (‘Birthplace of the Blues’): Lessons for downtowns and high streets
    John C. Henshall, Independent Consultant

    Clarksdale is a small city in the state of Mississippi, USA, comprising some 16,000 residents. Once prosperous with a focus on agriculture and manufacturing, the city experienced severe economic changes from the 1940s and 1950s onwards. Industrial decline and loss of jobs, a population with low socio-economic profile in national terms, competition from other cities and towns and out-of-centre developments all contributed to a decline in downtown business activities. Around the turn of the 21st century, however, the seeds of downtown regeneration were planted by long-time local residents and by newcomers attracted by the cultural heritage of the locale and lifestyle opportunities. In essence, the regeneration of the downtown area has focused on the recognition that Clarksdale is the ‘Birthplace of the Blues’, with Blues music playing an essential part in the revitalisation process and building on cultural heritage, creative individuals and community efforts. This paper discusses factors contributing to Clarksdale’s regeneration, together with lessons for other downtowns, high streets, main streets and activity centres.
    Keywords: downtown regeneration, downtown revitalisation, Blues music, creative economy, Mississippi Delta, main streets

  • Little Island: Its big journey through legal battles
    Apicha Pantitanonta, Student, Schack Institute of Real Estate

    Little Island, also known as Pier 55, is a futuristic-looking 2.4-acre public park with performance venues out to the Hudson River in New York City. The project is primarily funded by the media mogul Barry Diller through the Diller–von Furstenberg Family Foundation. The project is part of the Hudson River Park but operates as a tax-exempt non-profit private entity on which the Foundation holds a 20-year lease. During its development process, the project was criticised by many for its controversies; this led to a lawsuit City Club of New York v. Hudson River Park Trust (2015) in the hope of prohibiting the construction of the island. The petition states that the Trust violated the public trust doctrine, State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA) and City Environmental Quality Review (CEQR), and the park violates the Hudson River Park Act and its accompanying regulations. The Supreme Court of New York State denied the petition and dismissed the proceeding. In 2017, the project faced another lawsuit, City Club of New York v. United States Army Corps of Engineers (2017), concerning the unlawful construction permit issuance. The New York Southern District Court ruled that the Corps violated the Clean Water Act and the Administrative Procedure Act as it failed to consider the environmental impact of the construction in the estuarine sanctuary, but the issues were resolved subsequently. Despite the victory, the project was terminated but revived again with a pledging deal made by the then New York state governor Andrew Cuomo in 2018. The project is now completed and opened to the public in 2021. Little Island epitomises a compelling private-made-public development in New York City during modern times; its challenges and drawbacks from the legal, community and environmental perspective, including the environmental concerns, regulation violations and the fear of capitalisation on public property, are widely applicable to other developments in New York City and beyond.
    Keywords: New York City, environmental law, urban law, public park, court cases, financial endowment, SEQRA

  • Research papers
    Tradition-led regeneration of contemporary neighbourhoods’ spatial structures: A case study of Tehran City, Iran
    Nasibe Barati Goudarzi, Master of Healthy and Sustainable Buildings, Deggendorf Institute of Technology and Fariba Gharai, Associate Professor, Tehran University of Art,

    Over the past decades, modernisation has been viewed by some as one of the greatest dangers to urban life, having altered neighbourhoods dramatically. The most significant problem is the destruction of traditional neighbourhoods. The authors propose that a viable solution to this problem is to regenerate the spatial structure of contemporary neighbourhoods using traditional styles and elements. The transition from traditional to modern society has created numerous styles and challenges in the Iranian urban landscape system; in particular, the city of Tehran is experiencing considerable changes in terms of visual appeal and connection to the environment. In this paper, the principles and models for traditional neighbourhoods in the city of Tehran were studied and grouped into three categories: form, function and meaning, as a guide to regenerate the spatial structure of contemporary neighbourhoods. Three neighbourhoods from different eras were selected: Oudlajan, Shahrara and Shahid Bagheri, from the Qajar period (1789–1925), the Pahlavi era (1925–79) and the modern era, respectively. Spatial models were extracted by analysing the traditional urban design of the city of Tehran in three time periods alongside patterns and principles used in the regeneration process. Following this, criteria and principles were proposed for tradition-led regeneration of the spatial structures of contemporary neighbourhoods by form (physical form system/urban landscape), function (land use system and activity/movement and access system) and meaning/perception (frameworks for public spaces).
    Keywords: regeneration, traditional urbanism, contemporary neighbourhoods, spatial structure

  • The social transformation of the historical city centre of Karbala, Iraq
    Sabeeh Lafta Farhan, Professor, Wasit University and Zuhair A. Nasar, Assistant Professor, University of Kufa

    Traditional holy cities, such as Karbala in Iraq, suffer from various challenges, namely socio-demographic transformations. This paper studies three important aspects. First, it investigates land use in the holy city of Karbala for religious, commercial and residential purposes. Secondly, it explores the different methods and materials that can be used to study this. Thirdly, it focuses on the symbolic aspect of the holy city of Karbala, the development of its historic city sectors and its demographic transformation. The paper concludes that the demographic changes are clearly related to political fluctuations in Iraq and the Middle East in general. Relocation and immigration to the city are the outcome of the recent events of violence in the country. This increase in population is directly affecting the standard of services in this city.
    Keywords: circular economy (CE), city, urban development, sustainability, strategy

  • From global to local: The case of migration and urban identity for regenerative city transformations
    Ali Cheshmehzangi, Full Professor, University of Nottingham Ningbo China, Ningbo, China and Hiroshima University, Hiroshima and Rupert Munday, Architect and Director, Dericote Studio

    Migration often plays a major part in urban regeneration approaches. It also plays a part in how city environments can revitalise their identities. Migration is recognised as part of urban change and city life, through which we can potentially strengthen the ‘multiplicity’ of the city not only as a character but as a quality in city life. Existing studies on migration and cities mostly look into specific projects that address examples of city transformations, urban revitalisation, economic growth and reversing the urban decline. Nonetheless, there are negative perceptions against migration, or the growing migration, in cities across the world. This paper explores the regenerative transformations of the Spitalfields district in the city of London, UK. Through this case study, the paper aims to debate the position of migration in city environments, and how it can help to regenerate communities in a healthy way. It also highlights the importance of urban identity and how it forms new socio-spatial polity through different phases of development. Findings from this study are novel discussions around the discourse of migration and cities, particularly from the urban identity regeneration perspective. Therefore, this study contributes to the field of urban regeneration from the perspective of migration and urban identity.
    Keywords: migration, urban identity, local, urban development, urban community

  • Towards local regeneration: A case study of Janghang
    Sungsine Pak, Professor, Kunsan National University

    Janghang is a planned city that has three defined areas of urban infrastructure: a smelting factory, railway, and port. These were built one by one in the 1930s after the land was reclaimed on a large scale to exploit rice and gold production during Japanese colonial rule. For the last 90 years, Janghang has gone through booms and busts as a modern industrial city, symbolising Korea’s rapid economic development, urbanisation and industrialisation in a short period of time. These three urban infrastructures have formed the local identity of Janghang, leaving behind industrial structures of the past. Industrial remains have the potential to strengthen local regeneration and social cohesion in the local community. Meanwhile, while various regeneration projects are currently underway in Janghang, they have caused problems as they have focused too much on outcomes in a top-down manner led by local government. In this paper, the author proposes that a regeneration project should be conducted in the following manner: stage 1 — status survey and documentation; stage 2 — listing of industrial remains; stage 3 — turning industrial remains into assets; stage 4 — local identity and master plan; stage 5 — public project; stage 6 — reuse of industrial remains. In addition, each stakeholder in local regeneration should play their specific role: experts should document the local area’s history and discover its identity; local government should put in place the policy and management systems to turn local industrial remains into assets and set appropriate budgets; and local residents should preserve, use, and continue to reimagine industrial remains and benefit from local regeneration.
    Keywords: local identity, industrial heritage, industrial remains, local asset, place memory, regeneration, modern industrial city, Janghang, Janghang Smelting Factory, Janghang Line, Janghang Port

Volume 15 Number 2 (Winter 2022)

  • Editorial: 
    Andrew Tallon, Editor, Journal of Urban Regeneration & Renewal
  • Practice Papers:
    Orange is the new colour of city competitiveness: The role of local governments in promoting cultural and creative industries
    Sameh Wahba, Global Director and Yuna Chun, Consultant, The World Bank

    Cities have the power to stimulate and harness culture, creativity and innovation for local development. Culture and creativity are invaluable assets with untapped potential to deliver spatial, economic and social dividends for both cities and local communities. Building on the Cities, Culture, and Creativity Framework jointly developed by the World Bank and UNESCO and reviewing lessons learned from cities around the world, this paper discusses how local governments can effectively leverage their decision making, convening power and financial resources to enable and support cultural and creative industries (CCIs) to flourish for city competitiveness. Specifically, the paper examines how local governments can foster the enabling environment and channel the support through their core functions and roles of: 1) public procurement; 2) service delivery; 3) regulating public and private space; and 4) facilitating enterprise support and incentives. Through strategic interventions across these domains and collaboration with key stakeholders, local governments can implement measures to address the constraints impeding the development and growth of CCIs and leverage them as a critical driver of sustainable urban development. While the degree of decentralisation of responsibilities, resources and capacities of each local government may differ, global experiences illustrate that the common denominator is visionary leadership that puts in place the policies and catalyses the enabling conditions to attract and nurture CCIs, coupled with the key creativity ingredients — local talent and the uniqueness of the place.
    Keywords: cultural and creative industries, local governments, city competitiveness, sustainable urban development, inclusive growth, urban regeneration, enabling environment

  • Rethinking green urban development: Case studies from Beijing
    Markus Delfs, Head of Cluster, Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) and Jingjing Ma, General Manager, Nordiq Group

    Against the background of the international dialogue and action agendas regarding climate change and the protection of biodiversity, China has embarked during the past years on a new urbanisation approach, gradually advancing from an era of high-speed sprawl to one of more high-quality, green and low-carbon city development. Several national policies and strategies have been put in place, which are consequently rolled out at the sub-national level in provinces and cities. Energy efficiency in urban areas, nature-based solutions and new green ecological site developments are particularly important planning priorities fuelling the national government´s ambition to transform cities to be more liveable and sustainable. Further priorities are digitalisation and smart city approaches, as well as responding to COVID-19 implications in the sense of ‘green recovery’. This paper summarises the low-carbon development policy framework in China and provides three case studies of selected projects from the capital city, Beijing.
    Keywords: low-carbon city transition, sustainable urbanisation, urban energy efficiency, sustainable mobility, international cooperation, Beijing, China

  • The concept of a ‘regenerative city’: How to turn cities into regenerative systems
    Stefan Schurig, Secretary General and Karina Turan, Project Manager Advocacy and Convening, Foundations Platform F20

    During the COVID-19 pandemic, the world has been going through a veritable global ‘vulnerability experience’, ultimately revealing the interconnectedness of both global and local challenges such as health, pollution and climate change, biodiversity, and food and energy supply. The pandemic has prompted us to rethink the way our cities are designed in order to promote future-proof models that are in harmony with the local conditions and our planet’s boundaries. Any visionary role model of a city, however, is only as successful as it suggests clear transition pathways. This paper intends to show that the concept of a ‘regenerative city’ is such a model. Furthermore, it seeks to encourage to look at transitional trajectories ahead, be it in the food, energy, transport or health sector, from the implementational level of a city government. The regenerative city not only preserves the capacities and capabilities of ecosystems, but actively restores them by establishing closed, efficient and consistent material cycles between the city and the surrounding area. At the same time, the regenerative city is not only aimed at the regeneration of resources and the efficiency of ecosystems, it also has to regenerate its public spaces and built environments in a human-centred fashion, rather than centred on individual car use. One of the determining factors of a regenerative city aiming for greater resilience will be whether or not it is able to establish a restorative relationship with its environment, its hinterlands, and build a circular metabolism of goods.
    Keywords: regenerative city, health, climate change, urban transition, sustainability, local action

  • Research papers
    Visions of cities beyond the Green Deal: From imagination to reality
    Monica Maglio, Researcher, University of Salerno

    Cities face unprecedented challenges and opportunities. The challenges include the need to tackle phenomena from climate change to population growth, as well as how to bring the European Union (EU) closer to the goal of climate neutrality by reducing carbon emissions. The political-institutional focus to resolve these issues is urgently required. The interventions that are needed in cities to meet the Green Deal objectives are numerous and diverse (including energy, transport, nature and biodiversity, food and agriculture, green finance, as well as with respect to the circular economy [CE]). Diverse approaches are justified, to an extent, as the starting point is not the same for all cities involved in the transition (large, medium and small) and reaction capacities are different. Diversity can cause confusion, however, and this has been found in particular with so-called circular cities; the absence of a defined intervention model has caused some cities to adopt both narrow and wider visions, leading to many ‘circular imaginary’ cities. The origins of these visions have stemmed from the industrial rather than the urban context, with several adaptations being made. This paper starts by discussing the journey to sustainable cities — in particular the role of circular cities in the Green Deal — and then explores the existence or lack of strategies for circular cities. Amsterdam and Milan are used as case studies to explore whether and when circular cities can be considered cornerstones of the ecological transition.
    Keywords: circular economy (CE), city, urban development, sustainability, strategy

  • Quality of life and demographic-racial dimensions of differences in most livable Pittsburgh
    Sabina Deitrick, Associate Professor and Christopher Briem, Regional Economist, University of Pittsburgh

    This research examines quality of life in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Pittsburgh is well-known for its regeneration from its past as the ‘Smoky City’ and the ‘Steel City’. The shuttering of steel mills and manufacturing plants in the 1980s gave way to a more liveable city in the following decades. Pittsburgh’s post-industrial economic development and revitalisation has led to it receiving numerous accolades for liveability, but infrequently in mainstream and government centres the question is reposed: is most liveable Pittsburgh most liveable for everyone? This research examines results from the 2018 Quality of Life Survey in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, and compares these results to a 2011 Quality of Life Survey, both conducted by the University of Pittsburgh Center for Social and Urban Research (UCSUR). The methods used include survey research analysis, statistical analysis and geographic information systems (GIS) to understand differences in how residents view Pittsburgh’s quality of life. The survey results are linked with data on community conditions and GIS to understand how differences in neighbourhoods affect residents’ subjective views of quality of life. The 2018 survey finds improvement in resident assessment of many quality of life indicators, but suggests that views of quality of life point to continued protracted problems, with African-American Pittsburghers reporting significantly lower levels of satisfaction on many quality of life indicators compared to white residents. This analysis contends that there are critical differences in liveability and quality of life among residents in Pittsburgh and Allegheny County, and the city and region have not done enough to address these differences in improving equity and social justice in Pittsburgh.
    Keywords: quality of life, liveability, neighbourhood conditions, geographic information systems (GIS), spatial analysis

  • Assessing the outcomes of area-based initiatives using neighbourhood sustainability assessment tools: The case of Groruddalen
    Eli Foss, Master’s student, Wiam Samir, Master’s student, Mansoor Sadiq, Master’s student and Judith Plummer Braeckman, Senior Research Associate, University of Cambridge

    This paper considers the introduction of area-based initiatives to Europe to tackle urban decline. Challenges evaluating outcomes of such initiatives are uncovered through a literature review. The paper then investigates whether neighbourhood sustainability assessments tools such as Building Research Establishment’s Environmental Assessment Method (BREEAM) and Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) can successfully capture the outcomes of area-based initiatives. With the use of a case study of the Groruddalen initiative, this study seeks to uncover the applicability of neighbourhood assessment tools to measure the performance of area-based initiatives. The results reveal that these tools can capture the outcomes of area-based initiatives to some extent. If these tools were to be developed further, however, they can prove to be an effective indicator of the performance of area-based initiatives.
    Keywords: area-based initiatives, Building Research Establishment’s Environmental Assessment Method (BREEAM), Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED), sustainability assessment tools, sustainable neighbourhoods, sustainable communities

  • Quantifying pedestrian retrofit measures of car-oriented settlements: The case of Pardis new town Phase 11
    Corinna Matzka, Student, Vienna University of Technology, et al.

    Car-oriented settlements have a negative impact on human beings and the environment. In many places, planners already try to densify such areas and retrofit infrastructure for pedestrians. While such measures are generally accepted for the improvement of liveability, it is still difficult to evaluate their impact. This paper aims to quantify proposed retrofit interventions for pedestrians in the new town of Pardis, Iran. Interventions are: introducing pedestrian zones, relocating parking spaces, traffic calming, removing barriers and decentralising facilities. Two different methods are used: 1) walking distances in combination with detour factors; and 2) space syntax. The results show that these methods are effective to quantify improvement for pedestrian retrofit measures. Even simple interventions such as removing fences have a measurable positive impact.
    Keywords: Iran, new towns, urban rehabilitation, detour analysis, space syntax, pedestrian

  • Book reviews
    Mapping the Croatian coast: A road trip to architectural legacies of Cold War and tourism boom
    Reviewed by Federico Camerin
  • The streets of Europe: The sights, sounds, and smells that shaped its great cities
    Reviewed by Federico Camerin

Volume 15 Number 1 (Autumn/Fall 2021) - Special Issue: The role of cities in the Green Deal

Guest-editor: Stefano De Falco, Political Science Department, Chief of IRGIT – Research Institute on Territorial Innovation Geography, University of Naples Federico II

  • Editorial: The role of cities in the Green Deal
    Stefano De Falco, Political Science Department, Chief of IRGIT – Research Institute on Territorial Innovation Geography, University of Naples Federico II, Guest Editor, Journal of Urban Regeneration & Renewal
  • Practice Papers:
    Virunga National Park: A possible governance model for Green Deal implementation in the Democratic Republic of Congo
    Alberto Corbino, President, Fondazione Cariello Corbino

    With the ‘Green Deal’ the European Commission has committed to sustainable development not only within its borders but on a global level. Due to its rapid demographic growth and sustained economic growth, Africa will certainly have to be recognised as a main economic player in the future and, therefore, a partner to strongly support in this transition phase. But, despite this continent’s enormous potential and the willing declarations of intent by political leaders, the governance of many countries still show a series of weaknesses, while their development strategies often lack long-term vision. The paper analyses the possibility of identifying in the governance of DRC Virunga National Park a potential model for reliable partnerships in ‘green transition’ cooperation policies.
    Keywords: Green Deal, Africa, governance, cooperation, conflict, corruption, national parks

  • The value of human capital in Green Deal-oriented smart cities
    Oliviero Casale, General Manager, UniProfessioni brand of MB Group

    This paper highlights the important role of human capital in green transformation processes. In particular, the proposed perspective is that of smart cities in which the technological factor must be combined with the human factor for sustainable development. In fact, to become smarter and more sustainable, a city must move towards the responsible use both of human and infrastructural resources. All this can be fostered by digital transformation and the use of emerging technologies, as well as through a strong connection with the territory and the active involvement of citizens, communities, businesses and institutions.
    Keywords: circular economy, Green Deal, sustainability, smart cities, human capital, k-workers

  • The evolution of the European Union’s Urban Agenda and the morphology of the Pact of Amsterdam
    Brian G. Field, University College London and Jeroen P. R. Bakker, The Netherlands Enterprise Agency

    This paper traces the evolution of the European Union’s Urban Agenda in pursuit of the headline objective of promoting the development of more sustainable cities and communities, culminating in the signing in May 2016 of the so-called Pact of Amsterdam. The latter seeks to establish codes of good practice in urban planning and development that are not only smart, sustainable and inclusive, but also more explicitly informed by climate change imperatives, and to encourage their formal adoption by the Member States of the European Union (EU). While the EU’s prevailing regulatory regime has often appeared somewhat cumbersome, the Pact seeks to challenge the prevailing regulatory environment where this might be impeding the delivery of more appropriate and resilient urban development policies by the respective Member States and/or compromising their successful implementation. The building of greener, smarter and more resilient cities is implicitly seen as the pathway to sustainability and, in the wake of climate change, the promotion and adoption of more climate-friendly urban planning and development protocols is therefore necessarily a key priority. Against this backdrop, the paper addresses the efficacy of the Pact’s objectives, and the adequacy of the proposed regulatory framework and associated toolkit to facilitate and incentivise compliance with its ambitions. It is a critical commentary, ie an appraisal of the key stages in the evolution of a European Urban Agenda that seeks to highlight the challenges that were posed to such intervention, not least by the EU’s subsidiarity precept, and might continue to threaten any strengthening of the agreed spatial development principles and/or further attempts to unify the regulatory framework across the Union as a whole.
    Keywords: EU Urban Agenda, Pact of Amsterdam, cohesion policy, European Investment Bank (EIB), sustainable development, resilient cities, smart cities, climate change, urban development, spatial planning, territorial cohesion

  • Research papers
    Critical raw materials and cities: A literature review
    Andrei Țăranu, Full Professor, National University of Political Studies and Public Administration, Romania, Daniela La Foresta, Full Professor and Andrea Cerasuolo, University of Naples Federico II

    This paper asks what is the relationship between critical raw materials and cities within the European Union (EU)? To answer this question, this study seeks to categorise research findings on critical raw materials through a literature review. For this purpose, publications about critical raw materials have been systematically searched using a multidisciplinary scientific bibliographic database. Several screening criteria were applied to ensure the utmost accuracy and specificity in the development of research. During the review, the papers and the other publications found were systematised by dividing them into three thematic sections according to the focus adopted: critical raw materials as pollutants; their recycling; and the new technologies that can be applied to them. The results of the review show that the development of cities and their regeneration will increasingly depend on critical raw materials. Moreover, these findings suggest that soon the professionals who deal with urban regeneration and renewal will have to manage more and more issues related to critical raw materials. Furthermore, a correct understanding of the relationship between critical raw materials and cities is essential to avoid manipulation by populist parties which could use these strategic materials to support their autarchic rhetoric.
    Keywords: critical raw materials, cities, populism, European Union (EU), recycling, pollution, new technologies

  • Smart cities and the sustainability of urban transport: Strategic directions for the metropolitan city of Naples
    Stefania Palmentieri, Researcher, University of Naples

    In light of the recent guidelines of the European Commission on the Green Deal, this paper aims to offer a strategic planning strategy for the development of intelligent mobility in Naples, the metropolitan city under investigation. In recent decades, congestion linked to the exponential growth in the number of private vehicles in circulation, together with the inefficiency of the public transport system, have made urgent the adoption of huge investments and initiatives to tackle these problems with participatory governance. The analysis conducted in this paper resulted from a questionnaire to a sample of citizens surveying their mobility habits, with the aim of understanding the reasons and consequences of the inefficiency of the public transport system in the metropolitan city. This study identifies a strategic line to follow to strengthen the intelligent mobility model, which aims above all to decentralise important and valuable functions from the centre to the periphery to decongest the city; one key strategy is the upgrading and revamping of the railway, road and IT infrastructures. The use of modern technologies to improve the quality and efficiency of the system and the adaptation of parking areas to facilitate positive change, on both an urban and a metropolitan scale, as well as improve the most-used metro stations, would represent further effective urgent steps.
    Keywords: smart mobility, transport system, urban planning, sustainable, metropolitan networks

  • Digital transformation and cities: How COVID-19 has boosted a new evolution of urban spaces
    Maria Nicola Buonocore, Post-graduate researcher, Mattia De Martino, Post-graduate researcher and Chiara Ferro Post-graduate researcher, University of Naples Federico II

    According to UN-Habitat, in 2020 there were 1,934 metropolises around the world, representing approximately 60 per cent of the world’s urban population. In 2020, 2.5bn people lived in metropolises, which is equivalent to one-third of the global population. Due to their structure and function, this typology of city has become central in tackling key urban challenges in recent years. Thanks to information communications technology (ICT), artificial intelligence (AI), quantum computing and big data analysis, they have demonstrated great flexibility in policymaking and innovation, rethinking their functions and spaces, and enhancing resilience and sustainability in order to provide better services in more efficient ways. Fifteen-minute cities, investment in algorithms for public mobility, conversion of abandoned areas into green spaces, are only some of the solutions adopted around the world in both developed and developing countries. The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated digital processes, allowing for a reconsideration of urban environments, movement, and existence through the employment of new technologies and solutions. Therefore, the major goals of this research are to: 1) review the literature on the influence of ICTs on urban areas; 2) analyse the research on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on cities; and 3) analyse new policies and resolutions on urban and city planning.
    Keywords: ICT, digitalisation, digital, technology cities, COVID-19, coronavirus, urban space, urban planning, suburbanisation

  • Public space and the green city: Conflictual narratives of the superblock programme in Poblenou, Barcelona
    Lluis Frago, Lecturer, University of Barcelona and Teresa Graziano, Lecturer, University of Catania

    This paper aims to critically scrutinise the competing perceptions of sustainability-oriented actions in urban public spaces by exploring the case of the Barcelona semi-central district of Poblenou, where a programme of green-driven regeneration has recently been developed as a pilot test for the whole city. We focus on some elements of the Superillas (Superblocks) programme, such as pedestrianisation and the green-driven regeneration of public spaces, in order to explore to what extent pro-green urban agendas and sustainability-oriented planning approaches are embedded in the ‘green ethical commitment’ of the ‘green’ city, whose narratives tend to overemphasise the benefits of urban green, disregarding compelling perceptions of public spaces. In so doing, the paper aims to provide new insights into the debate about public spaces, urban green and public perceptions, which can often mirror asymmetric power relations and competing visions.
    Keywords: public space, sustainability, urban planning, pedestrians, superblocks

  • Can urban agriculture be used to improve green infrastructure and social well-being? The urban garden in the Ponticelli neighbourhood of Naples
    Fabio Amato, Professor and Lucia Simonetti, Researcher, University of Naples

    Urban agriculture can be used to improve green infrastructure and social wellbeing and as a tool for the sustainable regeneration of urban environments. Furthermore, urban agriculture, including urban gardening, has emerged as a means to help improve food insecurity and tackle climate change. This paper focuses on the social urban garden located in the Ponticelli neighbourood on the eastern outskirts of Naples, which has around 70,000 inhabitants. This area originally had an agricultural economy but has now undergone uncontrolled building expansion and lacks an adequate supply of services for the community. The area also suffers from significant social and cultural problems, including high unemployment, school dropout rates and crime rates, which touch a large part of the population. The urban garden of Ponticelli represents an example of how social cohesion can be built through the expansion of urban agriculture, while at the same time contributing to the goal of sustainability and maintaining links to the rural economy. Yet the urban agriculture initiative risks remaining isolated and being of limited benefit to regional and metropolitan efforts for environmental sustainability if it is not framed within an overall metropolitan strategy for an urban agriculture programme.
    Keywords: urban agriculture, urban gardening, environmental resilience, Naples, Ponticelli

  • The role universities and cities can play in the EU’s Green Deal
    Stefania Cerutti, Associate Professor, Enrico Boccaleri, Associate Professor and Enrico Ferrero, Associate Professor, Università degli Studi del Piemonte Orientale

    Climate change and environmental degradation are an existential threat to Europe and the world. To overcome these challenges, Europe has shaped a new strategy, the European Green Deal, to help the EU’s economy become sustainable. Much of its success will be determined by European cities where around 75 per cent of the European population live, work, travel and study. This paper considers European cities and their universities, in particular their strategic role in addressing societal and environmental challenges, training the younger generation, investing in research and engaging local communities in the transformational actions urgently needed. In particular, concrete actions and steps made by the University of Piemonte Orientale (UPO) in Italy to address environmental sustainability and social responsibility are presented in this paper.
    Keywords: Green Deal, European Union (EU) policy, environmental challenges, sustainability, cities, universities