Volume 17 (2023-24)

Each volume of Journal of Urban Regeneration and Renewal consists of four quarterly 100-page issues published both in print and online. The contents of the latest issues are

Volume 17 Number 2

  • Editorial
    Andrew Tallon, Editor
  • Practice Papers
    Mixed-use urban redevelopment and the added-value economy: The case of Ghent, East Flanders
    Niloofar Amini, Institute of Creativity and Innovation

    The COVID-19 pandemic is a transitional period that represents a turning point in the history of Europe. This crisis led to the realisation that a previous spatial transformation that involved removing factories from the urban fabric caused the cities’ dependency on global supply chains. To mitigate this, a new democratisation of the economy, in collaboration with new urban policies, could bring qualitative changes to the structure of cities and their businesses. This paper examines the design framework, Building Block Vision (BBV), which is the solution proposed by the Flanders government for the city of Ghent. In devising this framework, Flanders, by following the principle of thinking small first, examined the local architectural typology for inner-city urban areas. These inner-city urban areas once hosted economic activities, something which has gradually diminished over time. By formulating a spatial strategy for revitalising these inner areas and reintegrating them into local economic activities, the opportunity arises to introduce new ways of living. This endeavour incorporates principles of interchangeability, adaptability and innovation. ‘Research by design’ is the approach used to identify the inherent potential of the inner areas of each building block. Through this spatial analysis, the Flanders government anticipates that social and environmental gains can make a significant impact to the economy, rather than being an afterthought.
    Keywords: local productivity; sustainability; social economy; Building Block Vision (BBV); added-value economy; East Flanders

  • Inclusive entrepreneurship in downtowns and urban districts
    Cathy Lin, International Downtown Association, Brett Roler, Downtown Memphis Commission, Val Beerbower, Sinclair Community College, and Bobby Boone, &Access Retail

    Small businesses are not only critical drivers of the local economy, particularly in downtowns and urban districts, but also the creators of wealth and opportunity for small business owners. Entrepreneurs from underrepresented or marginalised groups, however, face a lack of resources and limitations on the networks they need to thrive. Supporting entrepreneurs in these communities is a role that urban place management organisations (UPMOs) can step into to develop the local economy and create vibrancy and a unique identity for their district. Many of these businesses are typically street-level storefronts. Successful UPMOs have a unique skill set to link together public and private stakeholders, and in entrepreneurship can play a direct role in giving grants and identifying storefront space, providing wraparound services and developing programmes for business retention and sustainability. This paper describes multiple ways that UPMOs can support inclusive entrepreneurship. Ultimately, providing opportunities for a greater portion of the population benefits everyone and supports a culturally vibrant downtown for everyone.
    Keywords: place management; entrepreneurship; inclusion; diversity; downtown revitalisation; small business; storefront

  • Evolving role of place management organisations in bold placemaking
    Cathy Lin, International Downtown Association, Lisa Middag, Mpls Downtown Improvement District, Jennifer Nakayama, Downtown Oklahoma City Partnership, Evan Sweet, Meatpacking District Management Association, and Gabriel Yeager, Milwaukee Downtown, BID #21

    Placemaking has become ever more critical in re-establishing and reactivating urban commercial districts. Being bold in placemaking now means expanding place management’s role in economic development, reshaping physical spaces for social and economic recovery and reclaiming public spaces for people. With downtown conditions changing faster than ever before, this paper examines how urban place management organisations are supporting local businesses, expanding the night-time economy, engaging residents, pedestrianising streets and memorialising public space for civic protest and healing. The future of placemaking includes an imperative of social and cultural connection and context.
    Keywords: place management; placemaking; economic development; pedestrianisation; community activation

  • Research Papers
    Driving renovation: A comparative research project in urban regeneration across cities in China
    Fang Bin Guo, Emma Roberts, Xiaochun Zhan, and Kevin Johnston, Liverpool John Moores University

    Post-industrial sites in Chinese cities are being redeveloped as catalysts for urban regeneration, often tuning into the creative cultures of these cities to provide platforms for creative enterprises to flourish. The success of these projects in driving the development of China’s creative economy, however, has led to many imitative redevelopment projects, creating a blueprint for the format of industrial zones and cultural parks in cities. Many recent urban renewal projects have placed great emphasis on commercial and practical aspects of implementation and creative practice but have failed to respond to the different contexts of each location within the design and planning, and therefore performed poorly in providing opportunities for developing local enterprise or addressing social welfare needs. A recent funded research project has been conducted by an international cross-disciplinary team that is seeking different opportunities for developing relevant creative industries while retaining cultural and industrial heritage. The project focuses on regional culture and, with use of new methodologies, studies its impact on urban regeneration. By working with participants who are both site users and developers, this paper explores the research conducted so far and offers initial findings. Findings include that regenerations should integrate the characteristics of historic industrial sites with the new requirements of the creative industries. The major stakeholders whose impact on urban regenerations have also been identified and the most important factors for successful transformations from heavy to creative industry are discovered to be local geography, history, culture, politics, economy and ethnography.
    Keywords: industrial heritage; ethnographic research; participatory methods; post-industrial; urban regeneration

  • An eco-tourism proposal for sustainable growth and livelihoods in a tribal area of India: A case study
    Ipsita Dash, Government Polytechnic

    Our multifaceted cultural traditions are influenced by our diverse livelihoods, ethnicities, languages, localities and spiritual beliefs. Addressing cultural pluralism in architecture is a major challenge. This paper discusses the approaches taken by an eco-tourism business towards sustainable development, taking into account the business practices and the products of the Santali tribe in Kumari, Similipal (situated in the state of Odisha in India). With proper planning and a growth plan, eco-tourism can both be advantageous to the local economy and preserve the resource base. Local inhabitants in the Similipal tiger reserve buffer area can benefit economically from eco-tourism through conservation and sustainable development, as well as retain their resources: food, fuel and land tenure. This study provides a model for how researchers and professionals can develop a state-of-the-art eco-tourism development in a tribal area which benefits the local people.
    Keywords: conservation; eco-tourism; livelihood; liquid grid pattern; sustainable tourism

  • Managing urban environments: Opportunities and (un)sustainable practices in the Sava River in Zagreb
    Jana Vukić, University of Zagreb, Jelena Zlatar Gamberožić, Institute for Social Research in Zagreb, and Sara Ursić, Institute of Social Sciences Ivo Pilar

    Zagreb, the capital and the largest city of Croatia, addressed the frequent flooding from the Sava River to the south by ‘jumping over’ it to build a new part of the city, named New Zagreb, which is protected from floods with embankments. For several decades, urbanists and architects have proposed various solutions for the Sava River, and from time to time, political elites have implemented some proposals or elements of these. Nonetheless, Zagreb has never integrated the river into its urban fabric. At the same time, along the river, there are illegal rubbish dumps in the only protected natural area, and the institutions and local authorities ignore their existence and take no legal actions against the offenders. This paper presents a case study of the ‘Zagreb on the Sava’ project that used the most important determinants of sustainability as the criteria for the project review, with emphasis on sustainable urban planning and the sociocultural dimensions of sustainability through the prism of experts, ie planners and civil actors (UNDSD 2000). The results show, among other things, that the demands of civic actors (citizens and non-governmental organisations [NGOs]) and the everyday needs and practices of the local residents run counter to political decisions of the mayor and the rest of the local government. Both experts and citizens are powerless. This paper concludes that the unused and unacknowledged potential of the Sava River is important for the realisation of a sustainable city on a human scale.
    Keywords: urbanism; human scale; quality of life; sustainability; Zagreb

  • Reintegrating Cold War landscapes? The former Trieste Barracks in Casarsa della Delizia
    Federico Camerin, Universidad de Valladolid and Universidad Politécnica de Madrid, and Luca Maria Francesco Fabris, Politecnico di Milano, Italy and Beijing University of Civil Engineering and Architecture

    This paper engages with a specific feature of former military landscapes, the Cold War barracks, located in a specific territory, the Friuli-Venezia Giulia region in north-eastern Italy, at the former border between the Western and Eastern blocs. Based on several academic activities, such as an international workshop and didactical experiences, this work focuses on the Trieste Barracks in Casarsa della Delizia (in the province of Pordenone) as a laboratory for new landscape solutions to reintegrate a derelict military site into civil society. The main outputs of the research are: 1) updating the international scientific literature and the relative research gaps in the discourse of Cold War post-military landscapes; and 2) an innovative landscape-oriented approach to a former military landscape founded on locally based long-term solutions in terms of resilience and sustainable development. Our research aims to demonstrate that Cold War landscapes have primarily been neglected in the academic field, but academic work in collaboration with local actors can result in feasible solutions to export to other cases.
    Keywords: former military landscapes; urban voids; urban regeneration; place-based approach; heritage; tangible/intangible values

  • A review of COVID-19: Implications for Canadian cities to enhance well-being and resilience
    Patricia MacNeil, Dalhousie University, and Kam Jugdev and Anshuman Khare, Athabasca University

    Among the many detrimental impacts of COVID-19 is diminished well-being. The dimensions of well-being extend beyond a person or household because well-being also pertains to interconnections with society. Canadian cities have been especially hard hit by the pandemic and sustained the brunt of the fallout, but they will recover. The pandemic has heightened awareness of the need for improved urban planning and design for citizen well-being. This paper presents a scoping literature review (2020–1) to portray the impacts and learnings of COVID-19 on cities. The review discusses the impacts the pandemic has had on health and well-being and highlights, for example, the unique vulnerabilities of younger age groups. The findings from the literature review discuss how cities, centres of growth and vibrancy, can improve well-being and resilience. The areas of improvement are categorised in terms of buildings, transport and mobility, green spaces and open areas, and new and expanded digital technologies and artificial intelligence (AI). Then, the recommendations outline proactive governance strategies such as making well-being a strategic priority, meaningful and inclusive citizen engagement and multisectoral collaboration, agile governance and leveraging best practices. The innovations and responsive approaches demonstrated by cities during the pandemic can be redeployed post-pandemic via partnerships to develop sustainable and resilient recovery plans.
    Keywords: built environment; cities; COVID-19; green spaces; health and well-being; local governance and municipalities; urban

Volume 17 Number 1

  • Editorial
    Andrew Tallon, Senior Lecturer in Urban Policy, University of the West of England
  • More than housing: The critical role of housing and homelessness NGOs in responding to the conflict in Ukraine
    Patrick Duce, Programme Lead (Homelessness), World Habitat

    The war in Ukraine presents Europe with one of the largest housing emergencies that it has ever faced. European Union (EU) member states have acted swiftly to trigger temporary protection measures which have been successful, but on a local level the gaps in provision are felt by civil society. In neighbouring countries to Ukraine, much of the role of supporting refugees has fallen on housing and homelessness organisations already struggling in the face of a regional housing crisis and lack of affordable social housing. The author discusses the implications of this, and shares experiences from frontline organisations being forced to offer a full range of social services to refugees and respond to the crisis in real time.
    Keywords: Ukraine; refugee; housing; homelessness; mass influx; Poland; Hungary; Romania; Slovakia

  • Seeking a sustainable future for US business districts
    Haila R. Maze, Principal Urban Planner, Bolton & Menk, Inc.

    This paper explores the current disconnect that exists between how US business districts are staffed and funded, and the increasingly complex way they interact with the surrounding community. It looks at the issues and challenges that have led to this point and explores a range of potential action items for countering this with proactive and holistic approaches. This includes consideration of the expansion of mixed-uses, post-COVID-19 evolution of live-work arrangements, the value of placemaking in the public realm, public–private partnerships, strategic investments and equity considerations.
    Keywords: business districts; mixed-use; multifamily; public realm; placemaking; assessments

  • Metrics of success: Measuring the effectiveness of BIDs and downtown district organisations
    Gary Ferguson, Former Executive Director and Practitioner, Downtown Ithaca Alliance; Co-Founder, Community Revitalization & Rejuvenation Consultants, Ithaca

    Business improvement district (BID) research has historically been light on measuring organisation success and effectiveness. Many authors have focused on describing the novelty of BID programmes, as well as chronicling the evolution and expansion of BIDs around the globe. Some works offer critiques of the philosophy of BIDs, casting them as shadow governments, free to pursue undemocratic principles. Only a limited number of researchers have tackled the question of how to measure success and effectiveness of BIDs. This paper suggests that for most BIDs there will be no single metric of success. Rather, BIDs represent the amalgam of multiple stakeholder groups, each with different sets of success preferences. Using Ithaca, New York as a case example, the author details a survey of stakeholder groups in Ithaca that documents a broad array of success metrics. It is recommended that researchers as well as practitioners seek to utilise a scorecard/dashboard of the various key metrics that are deemed most important by the key stakeholder groups represented in a downtown district as a more accurate and comprehensive methodology for assessing BID success and effectiveness.
    Keywords: BIDs; downtown districts; metrics; effectiveness; evaluation; dashboard

  • Requiem for the spiritual experience: Reconceptualising ‘quality of the environment’ by looking at the renovation process of the Samen district in Mashhad, Iran
    Iman Ghalandarian, Assistant Professor, Ferdowsi University of Mashhad, and Hamed Goharipour, Assistant Professor of Urban Studies, The College of Wooster

    Imam Reza’s holy shrine in the Samen area in Mashhad and its impact on the urban fabric of the area has always been of interest to residents and pilgrims. In addition to being an area where people live and businesses are based, the district has continuously supported the sacred act of pilgrimage. Although mainstream sources have defined the quality of Samen’s environment mostly from a physical and psychological perspective, this neighbourhood fabric also has spiritual values. This paper aims to reconceptualise the quality of the environment by looking at the renovation process that the district has experienced to date. The research approach is qualitative, and grounded theory, including descriptive techniques, frames the methodology. The philosophical position of the study is interpretivism, and the research strategy is abductive. We collected data through libraries (documents) and survey techniques (observation and interview). The statistical population surveyed was people who are well informed about the plan and the district. We then conducted theoretical sampling through 28 semi-structured interviews. The number of interviews continued until data saturation. Using MAXQDA, we coded the interviews in three phases: open, axial, selective. The findings show that the quality of the environment is a multilayered concept and includes management, physical, economic, sociocultural and environmental dimensions, helping planners and policymakers respond to physical, psychological and spiritual spheres needs. In the case of the Samen district, decision makers must develop all aspects of the environment’s quality, including those related to the pilgrimage culture.
    Keywords: quality of the environment; regeneration; spiritual sphere; grounded theory; Mashhad

  • Mapping the urban heritage environment: An explorative case study of the entrepreneurial culture of Hyderabad Sindh, Pakistan
    Fahmida Shaikh, Assistant Professor and PhD Candidate, NED University of Engineering and Technology

    This paper delves into a location’s historiography to learn more about communities and practices that have contributed to the heritage environment, some of which has been degraded as a result of rapid expansion, megacity migration and failure to conserve the built and cultural heritage. Because of its deep and rich urban historical background, the city of Hyderabad, located in the southern province of Pakistan, was chosen as a case study. The professional communities of Sindh, which once played a vital role in the city’s splendour, as well as the region’s rich culture and economy, are of particular interest in this paper. The analysis adopted an exploratory approach to explore historicity to achieve and preserve its long-term viability, which included engaging with the people who live in those areas. This research explored the rich connections between geography, history and emotions associated with any location, and explains how mapping aids in understanding different elements through their various dimensions. According to the findings of this paper, history as an exploratory tool has the potential to play a transformative role in Hyderabad city, boosting economic development, creativity and improving the efficiency of the historic built environment. The findings of this study inform that in view of its historicity, the socioeconomic aspect of Hyderabad city has significantly generated unique trading trends, society and spaces that provide a ‘sense of place’. Five key elements of the historicity framework developed in this paper include: offshoots of old patterns with revised strategies; designing user-friendly spaces that denote true, authentic and factual claims about the past; regenerating the place using its local products as heritage environments; adopting the historic urban landscapes (HUL) approach as a tool to explore for revitalising heritage; and developing integrated planning.
    Keywords: historiography; sense of place; historic urban landscapes (HUL); entrepreneurial culture; community

  • Changing the image of cities through the eyes of its users: A comparison of two neighbourhoods in close proximity in Istanbul
    Irem Tekin Yücesoy, Assistant Professor, Yeditepe University, and Emine Ümran Topçu, Professor of Architecture, Bahcesehir University

    Increasing concern for the future of cities and for the well-being of their citizens has led in recent years to a greater emphasis on the study of cities from different perspectives. Central to this development has been the growth of research into the relationship between people and their everyday urban environments. Understanding the nature of person–environment relationship is a core part of planning activities. The social, political and economic changes taking place in cities reflect the image of cities. The changes affect the urban environment and have the capacity to transform social and cultural environments. This study aims to investigate how the users of urban environments evaluate changes in two different areas in Istanbul, namely Kozyatağı and Ataşehir, which both have different patterns of development. Although they have common characteristics, Ataşehir has been experiencing a process of planned change and Kozyatağı has been going through a less planned but parcel-based urban transformation process. As for the methodology of this research, quantitative data was collected to reach individuals’ subjective evaluations of their environment, by using face-to-face and Internet questionnaires utilising Likert-type questions. The survey questionnaire was administered to 387 individuals, after a pilot study was conducted in the research area to check the appropriateness of the research methods and questions. The collected data related to the demographic profile of the respondents and their preferences was analysed with SPSS software through descriptive and chi-square analysis. According to the findings of the study, respondents from the planned area Ataşehir care more about their existing environment. Any attempt towards amending the existing plan, in particular new building constructions and new policies, were found to be not welcome, whereas respondents from the organically developed area Kozyatağı seemed to care less about the ongoing changes. Moreover, demographic indicators such as education level, income level and length of stay were found to have an impact on their responses. The results of this study indicated that besides the demographic indicators, satisfaction or dissatisfaction with ongoing changes in the immediate environment depended on the users’ reasons and preference for choosing these areas in which to live or work.
    Keywords: Istanbul; change; user evaluation; Kozyatağı; Ataşehir

  • Promoting temporary reuse of brownfield sites for triggering urban transformation
    Stefania Tonin, Professor, University Iuav in Venice, and Gianluca Zanatta, Urban Planner, Municipality of Venice

    The last economic crisis imposed structural changes on many former industrial areas, leading public and private stakeholders to reconsider the urgency of issues related to the environmental remediation and requalification of areas. Nevertheless, while the remediation and reuse of industrial brownfield sites present an important opportunity for the improvement of urban quality, sustaining the costs of these operations is currently an economic burden for owners or local authorities. For this reason, temporary uses and temporary activities could be a successful way of finding opportunities in periods of uncertainty and crisis, financial market volatility, deindustrialisation and political change. This paper explores the possibility of pursuing temporary reuse in a specific brownfield site in Italy, where urban redevelopment has been halted for far too long. The main positive effects attributed in the literature to temporary reuse are: economic benefits to the owner, users and the broader urban context; social and economic benefits to the local community; increased democratic participation in urban development; adaptability and innovation in the process of urban change; and low costs of implementation.
    Keywords: temporary reuse; urban redevelopment and regeneration; brownfield; economic benefits; contaminated land

  • The challenges of urban conservation in the historic city of Puri
    Shradha Chandan, PhD Scholar, Satish Pipralia, Associate Professor and Ashwani Kumar, Assistant Professor, Malaviya National Institute of Technology

    Since antiquity, Puri, known for excellence in the field of art and architecture, has been one of the Char Dhams (holy places) of the Hindu Pilgrimage of India. India is rich in temples and historical settlements from the ancient Kashi to Char Dhams. The abode of Shree Jagannath, Puri, is one of the cardinal centres of pilgrimage for Hinduism. Puri, the cultural capital of Odisha, connects thousands of pilgrims to spirituality through its art, culture, heritage and Jagannath traditions. In the eastern state of India, Odisha is an uncharted gem of cultures and traditions with literature and architecture, picturesque beaches and wilderness, with Puri as its focal point. Puri has a distinctive blend of ethnicity, culture and tradition with an eclectic flair. The city accounts for about half of the tourist inflow to the state while tripling it during the Rath Yatra — the annual chariot festival. Situated on the Bay of Bengal, Puri, a high disaster risk zone, often encounters natural catastrophes such as heavy rainfall, floods, thunderstorms and severe cyclonic storms. Despite its importance and numerous governmental schemes, cultural heritage is always vulnerable to damage and destruction. This makes the documentation and sensitive planning approach to the conservation of the pilgrim city of the utmost importance. Based on secondary data and extensive surveys, this paper construes the multifaceted challenges of Puri with emphasis on its sociocultural identities, critically exploring the city in its contemporary form with the urban conservation initiatives undertaken by authorities. It summarises that modification in the planning approach is mandated to achieve its optimum potential to be revered as a world-class heritage city.
    Keywords: cultural heritage; pilgrimage; tourism; core city; India; Puri; conservation; settlement