Neighbourhood Management and Renewal
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The Nature and Extent of the Local Problems and Issues Needed To Be Addressed
People have experienced urban problems for centuries and some issues still need to be changed. This paper aims to discuss a number of problems such as overpopulation which was supposed to be one of the most urgent problems in slums as well as anti-social behaviour, violence and poor housing conditions and to investigate the case study within England (Manchester, Liverpool and London) and focus on the problems the city is facing and possible ways of solving them.
In the 19th century, it was thought that the majority of homes belonged to private owners and therefore the private sector was not capable of tackling these problems as most of the houses were built to accommodate the booming working class. The cost of a decent home built by the private sector was much higher in comparison to the poor financial capability of the poorer working class that was eager to afford good housing, which in turn forced them to live in slums. The authorities tried to influence this situation by looking for a new approach. Until the mid 19th century they seemed to be the only governmental power that could improve housing conditions. The Housing and Town Planning Act was publicised in 1919. It was considered to be the first indication for the local authority to take on responsibility for public housing provision. The slum clearance process began especially after the Greenwood Act was issued in 1930 which encouraged the mass slum clearance. According to this Act, all poor quality homes had to be replaced with new ones. Thus, the first step to public neighbourhood renewal development had been taken.
During the post war years, the main approach to public-led renewal projects was a complete clearance: outdated neighbourhoods and slums had to be entirely demolished in order to rebuild enormous urban fabric areas so that they would meet all the required standards. These reconstruction projects were concentrated mainly in the inner parts of the cities. The large-scale “demolition” process started. The great amount of “unsuitable” dwellings was erased in slums in a very short period of time forcing the low-income working classes to relocate to council housing estates on the suburbs or to newly built towns (especially in their high-rise form).
The Composition of Key Actors and Agencies and Their Role in the Partnership
Over the past recent years it seems that the notion of neighbourhood renewal addresses the approach of a neighbourhood management. It may be identified by SQW as a cooperation between communities and local agencies cooperating together to improve services and tackle problems at the neighbourhood level. This strategy is supposed to be an ideal approach to provide neighbourhood renewal. It clearly indicates that due to good rapport with the community an effective implementation of renewal may be reached from the very beginning (Rough Guide To Management, 2011).
Furthermore, the mixed community outlook is also the core element that helps to control the regeneration of deprived neighbourhoods. Such communities were formed apart from the national strategy of neighbourhood renewal and were mostly focused on achieving the same shape as a sustainable community had as well as on changing the policies to a more basic approach rather than to a repetitive physical regeneration. It was thought that creating a different approach that comprised of various tenures was more likely to improve the regeneration on its own (Communities and Local Government).
The Extent of Community Involvement
The main objectives of the mixed communities included the creation of diverse types and sizes of housing required to meet the demands of groups of people or individuals, couples without children or full families; formation of sufficient needed number of dwellings that could accommodate households at various stages in their housing careers; implementation of mixed-use neighbourhoods in order to increase some employment services and amenities provided at a local level, and establishment of the resident population that could represent ethnic diversity in the interests of community’s cohesion (Communities and Local Government).
The Proposed and Actual Outcomes of the Scheme/Project/Programme
The continuation of the revitalisation of the urban policy also existed in 1960. The matter of coping with population and housing pressures of suburban and peripheral growth led to the establishment of the urban programme in1968. A tremendous urban policy shift towards the renewal of the inner cities took place in 1970. Its main objective was to decrease poverty and low income rate, as well as unemployment, and meet housing needs. In addition, this programme was suppose to concentrate on long term unemployment of males and the increasing job loss in the inner city as it influenced the economy negatively. The focus of racial minorities in major urban centres was put as well, for instance in London. These were the major causes that led to the deterioration of living conditions.
At that time, the White Paper was publicised in1977. It indicated an obvious change from the physical side of regenerations to the socio-economic renewal. The self-help approach and reformation of town projects for dwelling owners took place in 1980. A great emphasis was put on the private sector. Due to the special agencies and improvement of cooperation between non-profit organizations, the local authority and private sector the work on building finally started.
Other profound changes occurred in 1990’s. A larger number of establishments engaged in representing a managerial, new localism, competitive and corporate strategy regeneration and distribution of funding. The notion of implementing social, physical, and economical approaches was the main orientation of policies and practices. Due to the regulatory reform order the grants to home owners were also cancelled. From now on, local authorities were in charge of developing new strategies aimed at improving local housing conditions and investing a vast variety of public grants and private funds in either regeneration or renewal. Thus, they manage to initiate the attraction of private funding. NDC, city challenge and the single regeneration budget were used to accelerate these processes for comprehensive partnerships (Rough Guide To Management, 2011).
The neighbourhood strategy was introduced in 2001 in order to make sure that in 10-20 years no one would be humiliated based on their place of residence. In order to deal with the deprivation at a neighbourhood level, this strategy was slightly changed from the former regeneration programmes i.e. city challenge. It contained a more comprehensive local approach to improvement in comparison to the regional one and was aimed at avoiding deprivation at a neighbourhood level at all costs. To achieve this goal, the following objectives were set. On the one hand, it was needed to reduce the unemployment rate and crime occurrences in all poor neighbourhoods as well as to improve health conditions, skills, physical and accommodation environment. On the other hand, one had to make the relationships between the most deprived neighbourhoods and the rest of the country friendlier.
Taking into account the lesson from the past, it may be seen that according to Hackney Council (2011) a great number of these policies has failed due to of the lack of proper rapport between the local and central government and people. It is obvious that the common aim and understanding have not been found due to the hierarchal structure (Hackney Council, 2011).
It has been stated that Manchester was one of the fastest economically growing cities in the UK in 2010. Due to its location, which is the south central part of the north west of England, it is considered to be the regional powerhouse of the economic growth of the whole country. The population is approximately 464,000 people. Manchester has some similarities with Liverpool. Thus, the population of this economical giant was also increased around the 19th century. However, the situation changed after the post war period as the city had faced employment loss in the manufacturing and industrial sectors which were the main sources of goods for both cities. Manchester also suffered from a significant amount of poverty becoming the 4th deprived area in England (Mill, 2011).
The city is located in the north west of England with a population of 434,900. Only 10 % of this population are of BME community. Liverpool is not considered to be the richest city in England. However, this fact seems to be confusing as due to the slave trade this very area was once the wealthiest place in the country. The old name of this city was “Liuerpul” which means a pool or muddy creek. Liverpool was the biggest supplier of cotton on the world trade market in the 18th century. Due to this fact the population of the city grew up dramatically and this also led to the expansion of the city in general. The Second World War influenced Liverpool tremendously despite all the reformation that had previously taken place. The population rate started to fall gradually; the level of unemployment was even higher than ever before. These were the changes that Liverpool had to cope with (Chesney, & Lee, 2011).
Woodberry Downs Estate
This estate is located in the London borough of Hackney which lies in the north east of central London. It is thought to be densely populated with over 209,700 of residents. Moreover, this figure has risen over the last 2 decades. Hackney occupies the second place if taking into consideration the number of people living in poverty in the country. The Woodberry Down Estate was built in the post war period as a social housing in the 1940’s by the county council. It is still considered to be the largest social housing estate in Hackney as it comprises of 1,980 dwellings that are in need of reconstruction works. Unfortunately, it could not be used by common people due to the implementation of cheap and poor materials during the construction process. Thus, it has led to the low maintenance and resulted in the poor condition of the buildings.
These places have one considerable aspect in common that is the nature of constructions which has caused a great number of problems.
Firstly, this has led to the abandonment of properties. Such cities as Liverpool and Manchester have put all their efforts to propose a solution to this urgent problem as the population decreased tremendously after the port war. The industrial and manufacturing sectors have also suffered from the decline. Tenants feel that not enough is done and they live in little or no value properties forcing them to move to more socially and economically developed cities such as London where may earn much more and supply their families with all goods needed. This has made a huge contrast to London where the waiting list for properties is up to 10,000. Therefore, every dwelling and property is used efficiently and effectively reducing the waiting list.
Secondly, high void rate also made its negative contribution. Liverpool and Manchester face high void rate as people are leaving their dwellings without giving even a prior notice. The tenants are incapable to find the replacement for those living in short periods of time. These two cities also suffer from the low demand for the popular terrance properties, which comprise 80% of the total property built in 1919. According to buyers they find them unattractive to live in.
Thirdly, Liverpool and Manchester have faced the problem of poor stock conditions. According to the survey of the Liverpool city council, one out of three homes in Liverpool is in poor condition and thus is not profitable. The same case is with Manchester and Woodberry which faced a great amount of problems including faulty draining pipes, asbestos occurrences and ground and foundation shifts. All these factors have influenced stock conditions to a large extent.
Furthermore, banks refuse to give loans to citizens. The value of land is quite high in Manchester and Liverpool, for this very reason banks are afraid of lending money to people as they may not be able to pay it back because of the unemployment rate. As a result, banks lose money instead of making it.
In addition, house prices are falling on a daily basis. As a consequence of the abandonment of properties and reduce in the population in Liverpool and Manchester, investors have no other choice but to lower house prices in order get some profit from sales. On the other hand, the situation is completely different in London, where the house property costs much more as in comparison to the above mentioned cities. Moreover, the capital city is densely populated therefore more people are searching for comfortable places to live increasing the prices at the same without even realising it.
Other factors that cause problems are the difficulties faced during the attraction of developer as well as falling land prices. Due to the economic decline of both Manchester and Liverpool it has become impossible to increase the value of land as no one wants to use it. As a result, it will be complicated to attract developers to invest their money in to regeneration of the area because they find it risky and are afraid of not getting a substantial profit. This also puts in contrast London where developers want to make investments due to it vibrant, highly populated and more urban environment.
Lastly, the decline of such local amenities as transport infrastructure, health care centres, schools and colleges as people move to other areas when they graduate worse the situation to a large extent. In such places as Manchester and Liverpool people are move out to those areas where they are capable of being more satisfied. Due to this fact there is a decline in the local amenities development because most of the educated and skilled workers and potential businessmen are changing their places of living. They could successfully run these local amenities. Furthermore, if a certain place is considered to be a ghost town, fewer people would like to live in it.
London (Woodbury Down Area)
It has been stated that in contrast to Liverpool and Manchester, London is not suffering from the decline in population. The amount of people that decides to move to the capital is increasing daily despite the fact that the land value is higher than in Manchester and Liverpool.
Each of these places has produced strategies in order to tackle the issues that concern a particular area.
Manchester Salford pathfinder has provided a HMR that is housing market renewal in this area with the strategic aim of improving the economic potential of the Manchester City Region by creating “neighbourhoods of choice” that meet the demands of existing residents and attract new and former ones. According to the plan, the current property is to be refurbished due to the investments. In addition, the privately owned stock will be demolished. This will provide a developer support and help to achieve a sustainable neighbourhood by encouraging management through initiatives and revenue investment. The plan has been approved by the government and has been given £319 million to implement this programme. It is the responsibility of the joint councils to decide in which areas to invest. However, they are to consult with their partnered agencies as well as the local community. Until now, they have managed to construct 13,317 new buildings due to the HMR, refurbish12,214 dwellings and improve 70,306 residents’ surroundings. Nine housing market renewal pathfinders have been working with both city councils which are Manchester and Salford city councils.
As for Liverpool, the authorities intend to take more severe measures to tackle the problem. They focus mainly on the demolition of the buildings rather than the refurbishment of them. The Liverpool city council has implemented the 10-15 years housing market renewal programme that concentrates on the city centre and inner core to a large extent. As a result, the city centre is to be divided into four renewal zones including city centre south, city centre north, Wavertree and Stanley park. According to the city council, this programme will aim to avoid housing market disaster and help the community to live in decent, attractive and environmentally healthy places. Due to this plan, the authorities of Liverpool have improved the conditions of 76,000 properties located in the inner core, these are mainly terrance homes built in 1919. £85 million have been given by HMR funds during 2008-2011 in order to continue the construction works. Tone of the main objective of the programme is to reduce vacancy levels in the inner core, build 4850 new buildings, provide exterior improvements to sustainable stocks and demolish 3700 properties in renewal area along with 6500 dwellings in the inner core. According to recent data, 67 % out of 3700 properties that are to be demolished have been successfully destroyed by an agreement, 2500 dwellings have been demolished, 1280 new homes have been built and 2700 buildings have been improved due to the external repairing done to the existing properties.
It is obvious that the HMR programme is not only aimed at improving the physical appearance of the city, but also at finding solutions to the urgent issues that exist in the local area among residents such as education, transportation, leisure, and employment problems. It has been stated that councils are putting residents at the forefront and use the as a means of creating new improvement plans for their local areas that is attracting citizens to participate in the design selections for the neighbourhood, allowing to express their opinion on what is needed and what is not needed to be included in the constructions.
According to Hackney council, the Woodberry down’s regeneration plan has been already proposed. It is a 20 year regeneration programme with the investments of 22.5 million mainly used for this very plan. The main focus of it was initially put on the renewal of dwellings; however, it now suggests demolishing old building which will in its turn provide a mix tenure of 4,500 publically rented, shared and private ownership dwellings. Furthermore, it has also been said that it will not only improve the housing part of renewal, but build a range of facilities that will provide the local community with a great number of benefits such as a new health care centre, community centre, kindergartens, primary schools as well as commercial opportunities. The council is expected to attract new partners to help to support the community including providing trainings and employment opportunities for the community ensuring that they also profit from the renewal of the area.
Taking into accounts all the changes that have been implemented in the area of housing it can be stated that there still are major issues that require immediate measures. However, it is clearly identified that carrying out regeneration plans may be effective. Due to the governmental changes and budget cuts, the aim of renewal sustainable communities cannot be achieved in the shortest period of time possible.